Sharing the Roads in the Early 1930s: The Rise in Road Accidents

“Appalling dangerous driving on the roads” Grandad Beck was quoted as saying by the Bridport News in 1935. In 1930 over 7,300 people were killed on the roads, compared with 1,700 in 2013. After the invention of motor engine the variety of road users increased as never before. The pedestrians, horses and horse drawn vehicles, and from the late Ninetieth century bicycles where joined by many forms of motorised vehicles. By 1930 there were approximately one million private cars in Britain.

The cases I have chosen to write about include some of the variety of road users. The first involve a Pony and cart in Bridport where the passengers landed on the pavement when they had a collision with a charabanc, a lovely name for a bus or coach. Cyclists also had to share the road with motor vehicles and these amounted to nearly 50% of traffic (see Traffic Regulated by Automatic Signals) and I have written about one of the many accidents between cars and cyclists.

Family of four, Mother sitting with baby on lap. Her Grandfather sitting next to her, with grandad Beck in uniform behind. Taken outside of the farm house
4 Generations. My Great, Great Grandfather Eli; Great Grandfather Arthur Beck; Grandmother May and Aunt Marion House. Taken at Wytherston Farm circa 1930

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Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour

Licences for intoxicated liquor, then as now, was an emotive subject and was a subject for local courts. Every February the local businesses selling intoxicated liquor renewed their licences. Grandad Beck as Superintendent of the Bridport Division of Dorset Police Constabulary gave the annual report to the licencing committee for his area. Supt. Beck started each session by giving a report into the previous year, which was reported by the Bridport News.

In 1934 as in previous years Mr Roper on behalf of the Licenced Victuallers’ Association wanted Bridport Borough to grant an extension by half-hour during summer evening. Bridport Borough didn’t agree that they had to right to do this. Bridport Borough and Dorchester magistrates argued that they needed a change in the law but other areas including Beaminster, Lyme Regis and Weymouth granted the half hour extension. The hours are set by national government with local areas allowing extensions in their area for an individual or group of premises. There seems to be a confusion about what extensions to opening hours the local courts could allow. Continue reading “Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour”

Bridport Celebrates King George V Silver Jubilee

King George V Silver Jubilee on Monday 6th May 1935 was celebrated with great joy by the people of Bridport. Each town and village held their own celebration and the Bridport News recorded the event. They decorated, marched, danced and gave thanks for the Kings 25 year reign, in many different ways. Reading the reports I can’t imagine anyone not being effected by the excitement of the day.

King George V Silver Jubilee. Procession East Street, Bridport. 6th May 1935
King George V Silver Jubilee. Procession East Street, Bridport. 6th May 1935

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Farewell to Bridport’s Police Chief

At midnight on Saturday 20th July 1935 Supt. Beck retired, after 40 years in the Dorset Constabulary, 16 of those years in the Bridport Division. Supt. Beck, who was approaching his 60th Birthday, was the longest serving member of the Constabulary at that time.

During the last few weeks of July, thanks were give to Supt. Beck at both the Bridport Borough and Division Courts, a reception was held in the borough gardens Bridport hosted by the Mayor and a photo was taken with all the police officers in the Division. The Bridport News and Western Gazette both reported on the speeches of thanks at the Courts and the reception given by the Mayor.

In later years Auntie Jo (Grandad Beck’s second wife) remembered this time with affection and pride in her husband’s achievements. As a child I can remember Auntie Jo showing me the items he was presented with, laid out on a table. After Grandad Beck’s retirement, they moved to Longfleet, Poole, where they were to spend the rest of their days together.

All the policemen of the Bridport Division, (this includes Bridport, Beaminster, Lyme Regis and surrounding villages) gathered in the Borough garden to have the picture taken to mark Supt. Beck’s retirement. 19 PC’s, 3 Sergeants, Supt. Beck and Mrs Beck.

Click on photo for more information.Supt. Beck's retirement with all police officers in Bridport Division 1935

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