On this day in history : 9th October 1897 – Henry Sturmey is the first person to drive from John O’Groats to Land’s End….

Image : http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Henry_Sturmey

Accompanied by mechanic Richard Ashley, in a journey that took 10 days to make, Henry Sturmey drove his 4.5 hp Daimler (one of the first in Britain) the 929 miles from one end of the land to the other…. The trip was included as part of an epic 1,600 mile tour, the longest ever car journey recorded at that time….

Sturmey was a director and acted as deputy Chairman for Daimler – he had invested heavily in the company…. He was a friend of Harry J Lawson, who was the official chairman – but who rarely attended board meetings, leaving Sturmey to stand in…. Sturmey had a reputation for being a live wire….

And indeed he was…. Known as an inventor, especially for the ‘Sturmey-Archer Three Speed Hub’ for bicycles – a collaboration with James Archer….Sturmey was also a technical editor and journalist, was one of the original editors of ‘Autocar’, which was first published in 1895 and he later founded ‘The Motor’ in January 1903…. He was also a cycle and automobile writer…. All this is a far cry from his original career as a schoolmaster, his first post being as an assistant master at Brixton Hill College….

Cross-sectional diagram of the Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub – Public domain
Autocar Advert 1897 – Public domain

Sturmey took up motoring in 1895 – and motored in France, Germany, the USA and Canada – as well as here in Britain….

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