The 20mph Edwardian Speed Demon

Travel back in time to the cobblestone-laced roads of Edwardian Britain, and you’ll uncover the charming tales of early motoring, replete with mustachioed gentlemen in goggles and duster coats. Amongst such anecdotes, a delightful piece of motoring history has recently surfaced, involving a certain Percival Alexander Douglas-Barry Esq. and his encounters with the law.

In the summer of 1909, Percival found himself on the wrong side of the burgeoning traffic laws. With his motor car clocking speeds over 20 miles an hour – quite the feat in those days – he caught the attention of the Cheshire Constabulary. Percival received a sternly worded yet handwritten note, advising him to put a brake on his enthusiasm and ease off the accelerator.

Fast forward to a chilly January in 1932, and our intrepid motorist once again found himself in a pickle. This time, the offense was a tad dimmer: failing to keep his vehicle’s lights burning bright enough to reveal the registration numbers, a requirement under the Road Transport Lighting Act of 1927. This transgression led to an official summons to court, a more serious affair but still handled with that personal touch only a handwritten document could convey.

These letters, penned by the officers of the law, offer a quaint peek into the early days of traffic regulation. They not only remind us of how far we’ve zoomed ahead in the realm of vehicular laws but also hark back to a time when even a speeding ticket had a personal touch.