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British Industrial History

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Harris Henry Eley

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Harris Henry Eley ( -1900)


AUTOCAR FATALITY AT KENILWORTH. [1]

An accident, unfortunately attended with fatal consequences, occurred to an autocarist at Kenilworth on Monday.

The victim was Mr. Harris Henry Eley, of Ulverston, Lancashire, district manager of the National Telephone Co. He had only just purchased the car from Messrs. Allard and Co, of Coventry. It was a four-wheeled vehicle of light construction, with two seats facing each other, being one of the firm's standard type known as the "Rapid." Deceased was taking it from the works to Bristol, where his father lived.

He left Coventry about mid-day on Monday, and was accompanied out of the city for a few miles towards Warwick by Mr. Montgomery, Messrs. Allard's works manager, on a motor tricycle. Just before entering Kenilworth, five miles from Coventry, a hill has to be descended in which an awkward curve occurs. Otherwise the hill is not at all dangerous, though at the Kenilworth end of it, that is, at the foot, a C.T.C. caution hoard is erected. On taking the curved portion of this hill the steering gear went wrong, and the car, which was not proceeding at an immoderate speed, instead of veering round to the right, continued a straight course and ran towards the kerb on the left side of the road. From some cause, which was fully investigated at the inquest, the car turned a clean and complete somersault, alighting with its wheels uppermost, and the occupant, who was alone in the car, was pinned underneath the vehicle.

The motor tricyclist, who was a few yards ahead, turned round and was horrified at the spectacle. He righted the car as quickly as possible, and extricated his friend. The car was now facing uphill, and the motor still working; this was disconnected. The unfortunate autocarist was found to be quite dead, and he and the car were removed to await the inquest.

The damage to the car on close examination was found to be comparatively slight, amounting only to the breaking of the woodwork connected with the front seat and that which partly covers in the motor in front, and the wrenching of the screws which held the ironwork in position at the side of the front seat. Some slight damage to the lamp on the left side of the car was caused during the process of righting the vehicle. A more minute examination of the mechanism of the car underneath showed that a pin had come out on the right side of the car where the rod connects the arms of the two steering wheels, so that the right-hand front wheel was wholly disconnected from its fellow, and from control by the driver. Hence this wheel was free to turn in whatever direction it was deflected by the road, or the motion of the vehicle.


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