13th September 1911
A Sickening Crash
The athletic ground of the New Brighton Tower was, on Saturday afternoon, the scene of a serious accident in which a motorist ran into a crowd of spectators injuring himself and six others, one of them, a lady, being still in a critical condition. The feat which was being performed was a two miles motor team race between representatives of the Liverpool Mersey Motor Club and Birmingham, and the riders were W.E. Horsman, F.C. Jones, H. Birch, and T. Henshaw, representing Liverpool. And George W. Baker, George Hill, H.J. Wordgate and Vic Pratt, representing Birmingham. The accident happened in the first heat of the race, T. Henshaw, Liverpool, and Vic Pratt, Birmingham, being the riders. The first lap had been accomplished very smoothly. Toward the completion of the second lap the contestants were travelling at a terrific speed which was variously estimated at from forty to fifty miles an hour. Henshaw’s machine was a 3½ h.p. Bradbury and it was upon rounding the western curve his machine who seen to swerve and then rush up the incline. The cycle struck the foot of a spectator, knocked into a wooden post, cut the rope and finally landed in a crowd of people. There was an immediate panic, men and women were knocked down and many women fainted. Still greater consternation was caused when the petrol in the tank of the motor burst into flames and there was the possibility of an explosion. A boy’s clothing caught on fire, but this was quickly extinguished, whilst a number of men, realising the dreadful consequences of an explosion, rushed up to the blazing motor, and beat out the conflagration with their coats and jackets. At the time of the tragic occurrence Pratt, who was seated on a 3½ h.p. James, was rushing along at a headlong place in his endeavour to beat his opponent. His eyes were glued on the track, and his whole attention was occupied in watching his course. The rider was in absolute ignorance of the fate of Henshaw, and intense alarm was felt lest he should become involved in the accident. The presence of mind of the official starter, Mr. J. Cole, averted what might have been a terrible disaster. As the motorist was passing the eastern portion of the track, Mr. Cole fired his pistol, this being the usual custom at the conclusion of a motor race. At the same time he shouted a warning to the rider, who glanced up to ascertain the cause. He immediately took in what had happened, and clapped on his brakes, bringing his machine to a standstill before he reached the spot where the accident had happened, to the great relief of the spectators.
Our photo show Henshaw with his motor-cycle and the removal of the victimes in the ambulance.
The whole affair had not lasted a few seconds, and as soon it had been realised what had happened the ambulance was telephoned for, while surgical appliances were obtained from the Tower. Drs. A.W. Riddell, Slater and A.W. Montgomery were quickly on the spot and rendered every assistance. In all there were seven people injured, but two only were seriously hurt, one of them being Miss Ethel Tennant, of 39. Percy Road, Bootle. She was found to be suffering from a severe wound to her head and a more complete examination revealed the fact that she had got concussion of the brain, and she still lies in a critical condition at the Liscard Central Hospital. The others who were admitted to the hospital were – Charles Haywood, 39 Percy Road, Bootle, cut head and sprained muscle of the arm; Peter Brown, 40. Midgehall Street, Liverpool, >>
fractured leg; T. Henshaw, Victor Motor Cycle Works, Seacombe, compound fracture of the leg; Dudley Stewart, 29, Sandrock Road, New Brighton, injuries to ribs. Haywood had sufficiently recovered to admit of his removal from the hospital on Sunday, while we understand that with the exception of Miss Tennant all the patients are doing well.
The whole affair had not lasted a few seconds, and as soon it had been realised what had happened the ambulance was telephoned for, while surgical appliances were obtained from the Tower. Drs. A.W. Riddell, Slater and A.W. Montgomery were quickly on the spot and rendered every assistance. In all there were seven people injured, but two only were seriously hurt, one of them being Miss Ethel Tennant, of 39. Percy Road, Bootle. She was found to be suffering from a severe wound to her head and a more complete examination revealed the fact that she had got concussion of the brain, and she still lies in a critical condition at the Liscard Central
The Probable Clause
The famous cycle track where the accident occurred has only been used for motor cycle racing during the last years, but there have only been a few accidents of a minor nature. The cause of the accident in this case is attributed by some to the fact that the saddle was not efficiently secured, and the other suggestion is that the motorist exhibited too great an anxiety respecting his opponent, and kept glancing over his shoulder. This latter explanation in the one which spectators seem to countenance the most.
Henshaw seemed to take his fate very philosophically. As soon as he regained consciousness he asked for a cigarette, which he calmly smoked while lying on the turf with his leg temporarily dressed. A word of praise should be given to the staff at the Victoria Central Hospital who promptly rose to the occasion and had everything ready to receive the injured. Drs. W. Crooke and J. Barry were in attendance and the patients received the best assistance.