Distinctive registration marks are often seen on Mayoral and civic vehicles. Most of the marks in use were the letters issued by the council's own Motor Taxation office, e.g. Bournemouth issued the EL marks and chose EL 1 for use on its Mayoral car. Some like the City of Westminster obtained a more appropriate mark, in this case WE 1 from its issuing authority, in this case Sheffield.
Grimsby Council had experience of both of these sources: at first it used AJV 123 on the mayoral car, JV being its own issue, but later it decided GY would be more distinctive as it would imitate the registration letters of trawlers in the port. In 1956 it obtained the mark GY 1 from London County Council for the transfer fee of £5.
Some councils have used registrations on loan to them by their owners, such as Bury with EN 1.
In Scotland it became customary in some councils for civic vehicles to have a zero plate and thus Edinburgh has S 0 and Glasgow G 0. The only zero mark in England is LM 0 used by the Lord Mayor of London since 1965 and this has only ever been displayed on Rolls-Royce cars.
It is believed that TS 1 has been used by the City of Dundee on its civic car since 1904.
In the 1950s and '60s it was common for cities to use Rolls-Royce limousines for their civic head, but now only London and Westminster do so.
Many councils now use lease hire cars rather than purchasing their own vehicles, and as councils have come under increasing financial pressure some of these distinctive plates have been sold off:
L 1 was sold in 1998 by Mid Glamorgan County Council for £124,000. In 2008 Essex County Council sold their F 1 plate for £440,625, and GY 1 was sold in January 2005 for £41,125. GY 1 was evidently bought as an investment: it has never been used on a vehicle and has been offered for sale since, now at £250,000 (January 2017). Brighton sold CD 1 in April 2013 for £85,000.
Please send us any photos you have of Civic Registration Marks!