A South Wales businessman has uncovered a unique record of early motoring in Cardiff with council records of motoring offences and fines dating back over 100 years.
The details from the early years of the 20th century when the first cars started appearing on Cardiff streets are contained in a massive bound book kept by John “Jack” Hubbard until the 1970s.
After being evacuated to South Wales in WW2, he found work with the local authority and his job was to go to magistrates courts on behalf of Cardiff Council, prosecute and record offences and penalties, and it’s now been discovered after a garage clear-out by his son, Peter Hubbard, an accountant at Treforest.
Thousands of offences are detailed in hundreds of pages, mostly flourishing hand written inked entries, and Peter said, “It’s a remarkable record which my father kept going after he took over the job from his predecessor before typewriters were used and long before the first computerized records started.
“The attention to detail is staggering with some offenders’ names repeated many times throughout the pages over successive years.”
Offences will be familiar to drivers today: speeding, not displaying lights, reckless driving, and the fines may seem small. However, when wages were a few pence a week in some cases, the fines ran into pounds and failure to pay in most cases meant seven days in prison.
His work in this field encouraged him in the 1970s to suggest to the UK Government reforming road fund duty and basing it on mileage covered, but it was not taken up at that time.
After he left the council he went to work for the AA which celebrated its golden anniversary in 1955 and produced a commemorative book, and was a founder of the local Vespa Scooter Club. He also kept some free promotional cards and gifts from petrol stations and they are in perfect condition today.
“He loved his scooters and the club and some may remember him to this day, but finding the court records book was an eye-opener for me,” said Peter. “It gives a fascinating insight into the history of Welsh motoring in Cardiff over 100 years ago.”