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History on 28th January


Derek Bentley Hanged

William Burke is hanged

First Speeding Fine in Britain

Paddock Wood, Kent The 28th of January 1896 AD

The second half of the 1890s was a significant period for motorised transport in this country: in 1895 the first motoring offence was registered; the following year the first pedestrian was killed by a horseless carriage; and in 1898 the first driver – at the controls of a vehicle doing the crazy speed of 17mph – was killed. It was to stop such mad behaviour that speed restrictions had been brought into force.
Their first victim was a Mr Arnold from East Peckham, spotted travelling at a heady 8mph – four times the legal limit - in his Benz automobile by a vigilant constable in Paddock Wood. The constable chased down the lunatic speedster on his bicycle, a five mile pursuit sadly never to be seen on TV.
Arnold was fined 1s by Tonbridge magistrates. One wonders what fine or jail sentence a speed of four times the limit – say 280mph on a motorway - would lead to now?

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Gulliver’s Travels Published - 1726, Woolwich Tunnel Opens - 1912, Churchill becomes PM again - 1951, Beatles Receive MBEs - 1965, Last Natural Smallpox Case - 1977
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