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History on 16th March


Harold Wilson Resigns

Milltown Cemetery Killings

UK's 1st Driving Test taken

The 16th of March 1935 AD

When the first test – it was taken by a Mr Beene – was taken on March 16 1935, it cost 7s 6d, or 37.5p in modern coinage. Today we pay £30 for the driving theory test, and £56.50 for the weekday practical test. A 230-fold increase. Inflation just isn’t in it!
Mr J Beene was in fact taking the test voluntarily, as compulsory testing only began on June 1 the same year. He would not have started from a test centre, as there were none at that time – examiners (who did their own bookings) met the candidates at a pre-arranged point, like a car park or near a road junction. Mr Beene (can’t you just picture him doing the hand signals which were required?) passed.
There were 250 examiners appointed to begin testing – today there are more than 1,600.
Happily the point of the testing , which was to reduce road fatalities, was rapidly realised: pre-testing there were more than 7,000 road deaths a year, within three years that had fallen to below 6,000. It is by no means surprising that the impact was not greater, as those who bought their licences before April 1 (how apposite) 1934 never had to take a test.

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Comment

From mike beere on 28th October 2009
Correction. The first person to pass the drving test in the Uk was a Mr R.E.L.BEERE (not Beene) the date of that test was the 16th March 1935. How do I know this. I am his son and I have the certifcate 00001 signed and dated on behalf of the then Minister of Transport.

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Business today consists in persuading crowds. - T S Eliot
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On this day:
England’s Worst Mining Disaster - 1866, Marconi sends 1st transatlantic wireless message - 1901, Marples Hotel Tragedy - 1940, Peace Women Embrace Greenham Common - 1982, Clapham rail disaster - 1988
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