Obituary: George Monkhouse

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The Independent Online
George Cosmo Monkhouse, photographer: born 28 May 1907; married (one son); died Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire 23 April 1993.

GEORGE MONKHOUSE was one of the world's greatest motor racing photographers, and his books Motoraces, Motor Racing with Mercedes-Benz and Grand Prix Motor Racing Facts and Figures (1950), are regarded as the principal records of a golden age in motor racing in the 1930s and the immediate post-war era.

Monkhouse was a senior executive of the Kodak company, later their chief engineer in the United Kingdom. He was extremely intelligent and articulate. I accompanied him to many races where he taught me to film. His own films set a standard never surpassed.

He dealt with grand prix, not any other lesser sort of racing, and with Mercedes, not with any lesser make. His views were forthright but were not universally popular in British motor racing circles in the mid-1930s. He and his friends Dick Seaman and Laurence Pomeroy Jnr saw how it was done by Mercedes and they looked for a similar attitude from the British teams. At that time there was indeed a great gulf between the predominantly amateur albeit well-heeled British teams and the professional, government-backed German racing. Most of us secretly agreed that Monkhouse was right. We knew that grand prix racing would have to be developed that way, but at that time, in the Nazi era, we just did not want to know that the Mercedes and Auto-Unions were run in an exemplary way.

In the post-war period Monkhouse took a great delight in the achievements of the young Stirling Moss when he was driving for Mercedes with Fangio. He deplored today's commercialism, the lookalike cars and the lack of true sportsmanship. In his day Monkhouse the ace photographer roamed the circuits at his pleasure, filming where and when he wanted. In the gentleman's sport he loved, he was universally admired and respected. His adored wife Connie looked after him unselfishly through his long illness.

(Photograph omitted)