Having watched the Veteran Car Rally (Sunday, 7th November) on the London. Brighton run, I thought that you might like to have an eye-witness account of the first occasion in 1896. A great uncle of mine lived with his parents in Old Steine in Brighton and the following is an extract from his diary: “November 14th, 1896 Saturday
“Today was very historic and very wet. It was the first legal day for motor cars and a great parade of them had been arranged to run from London to Brighton. With every thing in the way of weather and conditions against them, it is hardly surprising that there were various breakdowns, and out of some thirty which started, only about nine, as far as can be ascertained, have arrived. They were to have waited for one another at Preston Park, and paraded through the town and past our house triumphantly, but as it was they came straggling in in no order, and as far as we saw only six passed our house. These motors certainly moved along very smoothly and it looked very delightful travelling, though the cars were too much like ordinary carriages without horses, to be attractive to the eyes. There is something very weird too about them, they come on so relentlessly.
“They mostly passed about five o’clock, when it was of course quite dark. We had a good many people in to see them.
“November 15th, 1896 Sunday
“Harold, my brother, and I went out this morning to St. Patrick’s Church . . . on our way home we happened to pass Dupont’s stables, when we found all the motor cars which arrived yesterday. We examined them With interest. They were simply covered with mud, of course.
“In the course of the afternoon, a good many of them went along the King’s Road and excited much curiosity. The best looking motor of the lot was a sort of Victoria worked by electricity, which went along capitally”.
I do hope the above may be of some interest to you and your readers.
London W1 DAWN B. PHILLIPS (Mrs.)