Sunday, November 7, 2010

Genevieve

The early history of automobile legislation makes for diverting reading. In the United Kingdom, the Locomotive Acts passed in the latter part of the 19th century stipulated that self-propelled vehicles must be preceded by a man on foot carrying a red flag, to enforce a walking pace and to warn others of the approach of a self-propelled machine.

In 1895, John Henry Knight built Britain’s first petrol-powered motor vehicle and while driving it through Farnham, Surrey, was stopped by the Superintendent of Police and charged with using a locomotive without a licence.

On 30 July 1896, the House of Commons debated the speed limit for light locomotives (vehicles with an unladen weight of under 3 tons, i.e. what we now call ‘cars’). Many members considered that 10 miles an hour would be sufficient, but the reckless Mr. Chaplin had other ideas:

On the other hand, 14 miles as a maximum he did not think was at all unreasonable. [Cries of "Oh!"]

The Locomotives on Highways Act passed that year finally repealed the notorious Red Flag Law, and on a wet Saturday in November that year, thirty vehicles set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the event. This tradition still continues in the form of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the longest running motoring event in the world, open only to cars built before 1905.

On Saturday, the cars lined up on Regent Street in all their glory. The grand old ladies, who bore names like Miss Elizabeth and Genevieve, were the cynosure of all eyes, but as is my wont, I was taking photos of the people.

12 comments:

Indecision Personified said...

Picasa sent me a notification about the pics.. that's when I knew to expect a post! :D

WV: aeocycha!! My longest yet. The spam bots must be getting good if WV has to keep getting longer.

Pratiti said...

I heard some of these stories and got the Picasa notification when I called Kaku on his birthday. :)
I like the old man with the specs so much. :) London people so photogenic. And then one day Priyanka will go and find the doors.
Hodomoca!

Pratiti said...

Smartass sob. Just because my mum's signed in to her mailbox on this comp, they have to ask me, "Are you your mother or are you yourself?"

manti: Biriyani shop near my house!!

Priyanka said...

My god, Pratiti sounds manic here.

wv: wastrel!

Pratiti said...

Tests Priyanka tests. And my online social life is so pathetic that I skulk around Sroyon's blog comment threads. And chheley bilet giye doesn't value his readership anymore. Reply korey na comment-er. Hmmph.

Pratiti said...

I kid you not, I had to comment JUST for the wv: moronator!!! :O

Sroyon said...

@Pratiti: Whattodo, you reply on my behalf. :)

Ravis said...

But why is this headed Genevieve, since you so pointedly refuse to photograph her?

Sroyon said...

@Raktima: I liked the name, that's why. And there's a movie of that name set during the LBVCR. And here's your picture.

Ravis said...

I thought it was a woman...

Ravis said...

Too old and grand to be classed as "people", I guessed.

WV: crowel

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Love these :)