Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Bridget Driscoll

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Bridget Driscoll circled.

Bridget Driscoll was one of the first victims of an automobile accident in the United Kingdom.

1891 She is living at 1 Hill Street, Croydon (age 40 and born in Ireland) with her husband Michael, a Bricklayer's labourer and her three children. Next door are his parents. [1]

On 17 August 1896, in London, Bridget Driscoll, age 44 or 45, became an early car accident fatality (some claim Mary Ward may have been the first in 1869 when she fell under the wheels of experimental steam car). As she and her teenage daughter, May, (and possibly one other person) crossed the grounds of the Crystal Palace, an automobile belonging to the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Co and being used to give demonstration rides struck her at a speed witnesses described as "a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine".

The driver, Arthur James Edsall of Upper Norwood, claimed to have been travelling only 4 mph. His passenger, Alice Standing of Forest Hill, alleged he modified the engine to allow the car to go faster although another cabbie analyzed the car and said it was incapable of passing 4.5 mph because of a low-speed belt.

The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death" after an inquest lasting some six hours. The coroner Percy Morrison (Croydon div. of Surrey) said he hoped "such a thing would never happen again". No prosecution was made.

1896 August 26th. Inquest [2]


See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1891 Census
  2. The Times, Wednesday, Aug 26, 1896