Motoring - 1900 Style
|During their Christchurch Times indexing activities Geoff and Marilyn Bush have come across only a few mentions of the car at the start of the 20th century. There was the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Highcliff in July 1900, when he was taken on a drive in the New Forest in a car driven by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu when speeds of "up to 40mph" were reached. However, there was another mention of a pleasure trip undertaken in July 1900 by local gentlemen.|
"Of the many outings that have taken place this season, perhaps one of the most noteworthy has been inadvertently overlooked. As it has points of special interest, however, a short description may not be considered out of date , though the trip was run a fortnight ago.
"It occurred to Mr F Elcock, the Chairman of Pokesdown Urban District Council, and a few others that a motorcar journey to London and back would be a very pleasant way of spending a couple of days, passing for the most part, through beautiful but unfamiliar scenery, and, at the same time, proving the capabilities of our well-known Bournemouth motorcars. Accordingly, on Monday 9th July, after arranging with Mr F J Ball for the hire of one of his cars for two days, Mr Elcock,together with seven of his gentleman friends and a driver, started from Pokesdown at 6am and proceeded at an average rate of 12mph to the Metropolis. The following towns and villages were passed on the up route:- Christchurch, Lymington, Totton, Redbridge, Millbrook, Southampton, Chandlerís Ford, Winchester, Kingís Worthy, East Stratton, Popham, Basingstoke, Notely Scures, Hook, Hartley Row, Hartford Bridge, Blackwater, York town, Camberley, Egham, Staines, East Bedfont, Feltham,Twickenham, Richmond, Mortlake and Putney which was reached at 7pm. Breakfast was taken at the Black Swan, Winchester, and a substantial luncheon was had at the White Hart, Hook.
"After visiting their friends in London, the company started their return journey home at 8.30 the following morning and travelled via Putney Heath, Kingston Vale, Kingston, Surbiton, Esher, Cobham, Street, Ripley, Guildford, Hogís Back, Farnham, Alton, New Arlesford, Itchen Abbas, Winchester, Standon, Hursley, Amfield, Romsey, Ower, Rufus Stone, Crow, Kingston, Avon, Sopley, and Christchurch, arriving at Pokesdown at 10pm. Stoppages on the down journey were made at The Crown, Alton for lunch, and tea was partaken of at Romsey.
"This very interesting trip, through some of the loveliest parts of Hampshire and Surrey, took place without accident or hitch of any kind, and the two splendid long-day drives were thoroughly enjoyed by all. The divided cost, embracing the hire of the car two days, two luncheons, one breakfast and one tea, with fee for the driver, came to
£1 11s 81/4d each person, which certainly was moderate, considering the amount of pleasure that was experienced all round So successful was this first venture that we believe it is the intention to arrange one or two other like excursions to other places before the close of the season".
Editor:- What a difference to today, 12mph and no traffic jams, two days to London instead of two hours. Perhaps progress is not always as good as we think, but I suppose with the future traffic situation it may take two days sitting in a traffic jam.