A Pair of Velocipedists Immersed in the Canal
In the mania for velocipede travelling, innumerable mechanics are trying their skill in the manufacture of these machines. Among the number is a person named Benj Law, who, late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning, finished a double velocipede having four wheels to it and seats for two persons. Law has intended going on his newly-constructed conveyance to Marsden on Sunday, but prior to starting. He thought he would have an experimental trip. Accordingly, accompanied by a friend, he proceeded to the bank of the London and North Western Canal, near Firth’s Mill, between Paddock and Crosland Moor. Here he manoeuvred about for a considerable time, to the no small delight of himself and a friend and to the astonishment of a number of persons, who seemed amazed at the ease and dexterity with which the velocipede could be managed Among the onlookers were the night watchmen at Firth’s Mill and Tyne Crosland’s Mill, their names being John Armitage and Smith. These two worthies thought they could manage the vehicle and on application, were allowed a trial, but they were speedily brought to grief. After parading three or four times between the two mills, they attempted to put on additional speed, but unfortunately Armitage’s right foot slipped from the crank and not having the idea to lighten the weight of the other foot, the extra pressure caused the velocipede to swerve to the left and instantly both vehicle and riders were plunged into the middle of the canal, the “iron horse” immediately sinking and leaving its riders floundering in the deep. The men, however, escaped a very serious accident and waded out of the water on the other side, to the great amusement of those who witnessed the exploit. Smith, not content with his first ducking, declared that himself and horse went into the water together and should come out together. He therefore plunged into the water a second time, but failed to find the vehicle, which was subsequently fished out with a pair of drags.
The Huddersfield Chronicle and West Yorkshire Advertiser, May 22, 1869; pg. 8