Motor Journalism 72 Years Ago
A READER has sent us some pages from The Motor-Car Journal of September 1908. It was published as a weekly by Cordingley’s, in the Charing Cross Road. The issue in question was full of news and motoring items that now read quaintly. For instance, Brooklands Track, in its , first full season, was in good use, for dust-trials and a test of a 40 h.p. Dennis fire-engine with a Gwynne-Sargeant turbine-pump running at 1,700 r.p.m. There was news from Paris by “Marney”, a long description of the new Daimler double-sleeve-valve engine and of the latest 45 h.p. six-cylinder Napier, and their own correspondent reported the ‘Tour-Inch” Race in the loM. In the Letters Pages we find a Mr. Duckham expounding on the need he had found to carefully lubricate disc clutches: and Mr. Percy Richardson of the Sheffield-Simplex Motor Works Ltd. was allowed to write his own road-test report, on one of his cars on Scottish hills. The Editor wrote that there was no sign of the expected destruction of the canine race by the motor car, for in 1907 1,640,017 dog-licences had been taken out, or 30,586 more than in the previous 12 months. Apparently it did not occur to hint that perhaps more people were licensing their pets on the hope of claiming compensation from autocarists who ran them down! A Mr. j. A. Eggar was suggesting, at a meeting of the Farnham Council, that turnpikes be reintroduced, with tolls restricted to motorists. Was he, I wonder, a relation of the Mr. Eggar from this district, I believe, who enthusiastically raced Austro-Daimlers at Brooklands and elsewhere after the war? As then in The Motor, aeronautical matters were dealt with, but what caught my eye was a Social Column — I have often thought we shoula have a “scandal” column in MOTOR SPORT, were we sufficiently brave. That in the mcy of 1908 referred to Lord Curzon suffering a head wound whcn his rnotor-landaulette collided with another car about a mile from Sunningdale Station when His Lordship was on his way from London to his residence at Hackwood Park near Basingstoke; the seemingly endless walls surrounding the estate still stand, I believe. He continued his journey by train. The Churchill wedding
was described as “quite an automobile affair” and it was said that Miss Marie Corelli had introduced the motor car and a dirigible balloon into her latest book “Holy Orders”. From the legal column we find that the hit-and-run driver was still about, she chauffeur of Lord Newborough being remanded into custody at Woking, charged with leaving a 13-year-old boy dying by the road-side after the passage of a dark green car. His Lordship, who was in Harrogate at the time, telegraphed to express deep sympathy with the boy’s relatives and to offer to defray the funeral expenses — thereby presumably incriminating his man! There was also a reference to another case in which the great King’s Councillor, T. W. Staple-Firth, who was so successful in defending motorists, lost (but appealed) when arguing that no offence had been proved by “owning” that one had been committed. It was also stated that Totnes Magisterial dignity called for drivers to appear before them in person, a solicitor alone being insufficient. In many ways conditions in 1908 were worse than in 1980. Elsewhere, special automobile instructional classes were announced, such as the Petrol Motor Class at the Borough Polytechnic. Another “period-piece”! — W.B.