Bridget Driscoll: The First UK Auto Fatality

Image via the BBC. Bridget Driscoll is circled.
Image via the BBC. Bridget Driscoll is circled.
First in class! First in series! First in show! We think of being first as something wonderful. But how about being the first ever victim of a never-before-conceived crime?

In August of 1896, Bridget Driscoll was struck and killed by one of Britain’s (very) few automobiles.

According to BBC News:

But as the Times recalled 70 years later, when giving mention to a memorial service for Mrs Driscoll at her local church, hers was the misfortune of becoming the UK’s first traffic fatality.

“At the inquest, Florence Ashmore, a domestic servant, gave evidence that the car went at a ‘tremendous pace’, like a fire engine—‘as fast as a good horse could gallop’,” it read.

“The driver, working for the Anglo-French Motor Co, said that he was doing 4mph when he killed Mrs Driscoll and that he had rung his bell and shouted.”

The car’s maximum speed, the inquest heard, was 8mph but its speed had been deliberately limited.

It must have looked a bit like a dragon bearing down on her.

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