Early Motorcar Accident, 1898

Just when I thought I’d found the earliest mention of motor cars in Blantyre, along comes an even earlier story. Evidence next of motor cars as far back in this area as 1898. With no photographs available, this article is suitably illustrated by AI exclusively for this story. This article also reflects how far motoring has changed.

On Saturday 25th June 1898, William Brown Junior, Motor car driver of Springwells, Blantyre and Richard Ashley, Engineer to the Motor car Company were charged with having on 14th May 1898 driven a motor car in a reckless manner down the straight road towards Haughhead Bridge. In consequence, the motor car having turned over injuring 9 people.

Evidence on one hand showed that the car was being driven at the dangerous speed of 14 mph and on the other, it should have been doing 8 mph. The crazy speed the driver reached, was undoubtably to “show off” to his excited overcrowded passengers and the speed caused the chain and a tyre to become dislodged.

However, the Sheriff could not prove what speed the car was travelling and though commenting that the car was likely travelling at this “great speed” due entirely to furious driving, could not say for sure if it was the case of the accident or if it was mechanical failure or something else. The Sheriff hoped for further laws on motoring, cars hopefully being ‘merely a passing hobby’ and that ultimately others had to continually read of their danger. Injuries were minor to the passengers who all walked upright after the early vehicle had turned on its side near the hedgerows.

The charge against brown was withdrawn.

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