What made the news in 19th Century Haslingfield?
The roads around Haslingfield appear to have been very unsafe places in the 19th century, and the ‘Cambridge Chronicle’ is filled with largely gruesome reports of fatal accidents. The following are not quite so gruesome, but do illustrate the dangers. There were clearly roadhogs around at the time. In August 1825, the Haslingfield carrier, who delivered post to and from Cambridge, was fined £2 for driving on the wrong side of the road “and thereby obstructing the gig of F.C. Knowles, Esq.” He seems to have exacerbated the situation somewhat by throwing stones at Mr. Knowles, for which he was fined another £1 which was “paid … to the treasurer of Addenbrooke’s Hospital”, an untapped source of income perhaps for today’s NHS.
In November 1850 a Miss M. Pryme tried to overtake another pony chaise on the road to Cambridge, and collided with a pony and cart, whose driver had fallen asleep, coming from the opposite direction. Miss Pryme’s chaise seems to have disintegrated, and she and her passenger were thrown to the ground, escaping with “some severe bruises”.
Other transport was not the only hazard. In July 1872 Daniel Coxall’s horse, pulling a cartload of hay, was attacked “most fearfully” by a swarm of bees. Luckily a Dr. Smith was passing, and he advised the application of an Indian antidote which “was successful in relieving the intense pain in a short time”. Next time you’re stuck at Trumpington, thank Heaven for car windows and drivers not taking a nap!
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