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March 27, 1863 – Henry Royce, half of Rolls-Royce, is born
This Day

March 27, 1863 – Henry Royce, half of Rolls-Royce, is born

Henry Royce, born on this day in 1863, began his career in the 1870s a newspaper boy and telegram deliverer. At the time, the very first feasible automobiles had yet to exist. But as he grew, so did his opportunities in the world evolving around him. In early adulthood, Royce completed an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway company before starting an electrical and machine shop with a friend in Manchester, UK in 1884. There they manufactured cranes and dynamos, but increasing competition led Royce to consider a motorcar as a new product for their company.  Above: 1905 Three-Cylinder 15hp. By Michel Curi. CC2.0 Top: Henry Royce A number of prototypes were soon built. One car ended up in the hands of a friend of Charles Rolls, who owned a local import auto dealership. A...
September 23, 1972 – Crystal Palace sees its last professional race
This Day

September 23, 1972 – Crystal Palace sees its last professional race

The Crystal Palace circuit, a motor racing circuit in Crystal Palace Park in south London, England, saw its final professional race on this day in 1972. Club events would continue through 1974 before the track closed indefinitely.  Above: Surviving portion of Crystal Palace circuit. By Christopher Hilton, CC BY-SA 2.0 Top: Racing at Crystal Palace circuit The circuit opened in 1927 with a motorcycle race on May 21. The original one mile track primarily followed existing paths around the lake on the property. The road surface was made up of tarmac bends and hard packed gravel straightaways. At the end of 1936 track improvements began, which increased the course’s length to two miles.  The first London Grand Prix was held there on July 17, 1937, being won by Prince Bira i...
August 17, 1896 – First pedestrian killed by a car
This Day

August 17, 1896 – First pedestrian killed by a car

On this day in 1896 Bridget Driscoll unfortunately made her way into the history books by becoming the first pedestrian to be hit and killed by a car in the United Kingdom. Driscoll, 44, her teenage daughter and a friend were walking the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London, when they likely heard the mechanical chatter of an early motor. The engine that was banging and clanging was fitted to a demonstration vehicle of the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Company. Bridgette was struck by the car as the women crossed the grounds to attend a temperance meeting. A witness described the vehicle as traveling at "a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine.”  Above: Bridget Driscoll, second from right, with family c 1896. Top: An advertisement for the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Comp...

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