The arrival of a motor car in Skegness on a Sunday afternoon in 1898 created a great amount of curiosity among the numerous visitors and residents generally.
It arrived between four and five from Derby with one occupant, besides the driver a capable and experienced engineer, and who made the Pier Hotel their headquarters for the night.
During the evening the motor car made several trips from the Pier to the Lumley Hotel and back, and the usual spectacle of the much-talked-of motor car running up and down the Lumley Road drew large crowds together, and a great many were anxious to have a ride on the same, but the desires of a few could be gratified.
The motor car belonged to the proprietors of Land and Water, and that it was travelling through the country with their Special Correspondent.
In an interview, the Special revealled himself to be a Lincolnshire man and quite at home here in his native county. His name was Mr Frank Bowden, and on the Sunday evening he had the pleasure of renewing the acquaintance of several old friends with whom he spent a few pleasant hours.
Since his last visit to Skegness, around 1884, he has travelled through the continent of America on a bicycle and also been in other parts of the globe as Special Correspondent for the above named periodical. With this object the proprietors of Land and Water purchased on of the Daimler patent five horse power motor cars, at a cost of £375.
This machine has been sent out with Mr Bowden as Special Correspondent at travel across country from London to Aberdeen and back with a view to testing the capabilities of the motor car. He started from London on his journey on Tuesday, August 9th, and since then, he informs us he has “done” over 3,500 miles cross country; that there had been no breakdowns or mishap of any kind, and that when travelling he had averaged eighteen miles an hour.
There was an engineer in charge of the car which carried enough oil to take them 170 miles. The car ran up to twenty-five miles an hour on the level, and climbed a gradient of one in eight. About a week before, they were in North Wales, and when running along one of the mountain roads they saw a carriage with coachman and footman in front of them. Their motor was signalled to slacken speed, and when slowly and carefully passing the carriage, Mr Bowden recognised the occupants as Mrs Gladstone and little Dorothy Drew, who were then staying at Penmenmauer.
He raised his hat and Mrs Gladstone bowed and graciously smiled. She was reported to have looked remarkably well.
The motor car and the carriage were stopped and Mrs Gladstone and little Dorothy had a look at the former. After a brief conversation Mr Bowden proceeded on his journey, which is the first journalistic test of these cars.
The Special left Skegness about eleven o’clock on Monday morning in his motor for Lincoln, and it was hoped he would give Skegness another call on his return journey from Aberdeen.