Furiously driving three horses and an omnibus on the London Road

A theme is developing as I look at old newspapers to find criminal and delinquent Clarendon Park dwellers.  That theme is Avenue Road Extension.  Now I realise that it’s a long road…but the former inhabitants take up more than their fair share of column inches.

Take this case of a speeding driver on the London Road in 1893.  Benjamin Garner, aged 45, who lived at 67 Avenue Road Extension, was summoned for ” furiously driving three horses and an omnibus on the London-road”  on the 31st of January.  Benjamin was a bus proprietor.  He had a wife (Fanny) and children Walter, Benjamin, Annie, Harry and shortly afterwards Ernest  to support.  Perhaps that was why he was speeding; to get as much work as possible.

Benjamin had started off as a plasterer, but sometime between 1881 and 1887 he started a shop at Edward Road (off Montague Road).  He also kept a wagonette.  By 1891 he and his family had moved to Avenue Road Extension and Benjamin concentrated solely on his omnibus and wagonette driving business.  As they got older children Walter and Benjamin worked for their father as bus conductors.  Walter went on to start a hardware shop in Twycross Street, later joined by his brother Harry.

Benjamin retired late in the 1910s, not before having branched out to give riding lessons.  I wonder if any of his pupils knew that he had been up in court for reckless driving?  As for the punishment, he was ordered to pay costs.  Furiously driving up the London Road these days would more likely land you with points on your driving license, if indeed it was possible to drive faster than 9mph due to traffic.  Regards, Elizabeth.

5 responses to “Furiously driving three horses and an omnibus on the London Road

  1. He was probably caught by that camera outside the Mercury News Shop…

  2. Wow – we are now living in his old house. I didn’t realise it was such den of inequity! Thanks for all the info Elizabeth. By the way, I’ve read that Joe Orton was born on Avenue Road Extension before moving to the Saff. Anyone know any more?

    • Hi Karen, it’s exciting when you find something about your own house isn’t it! And yes, there is an article about Joe Orton – check the index to find it. All the best, Elizabeth.

  3. Thank you for this fantastic piece of information and an insight into my family history. Benjamin Garner was my great great grandfather and I know 67 Avenue Rd Ext very well as this was where my mum grew up with my grandparents Charles and Ada Garner and her brother John. My Grandfather carried on the family business of Garner & Son Ironmongers from his father Walter at 91 Queens Road and it contiuned to be a family business with my uncle working with his father until the shop was sold in the early eighties. Thank you once again for making one of my ancestors very real.

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