1929 : Lonesome School teachers in car crash

MOTORING THRILL.

Mitcham Teachers in Fall Over Embankment.

Two young members of the teaching staff at Lonesome School, Mitcham, had an extraordinary adventure after leaving the school on Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly before five p.m. a Baby Austin saloon car in which they were riding crashed through the stout wooden fence on the eastern corner of the Bee Hive railway bridge and plunged down the very steep embankment on to the small plot of waste ground at the rear of the new houses in Spencer-road.

The car reached the bottom of the embankment, estimated to be seventeen feet in depth, right side up, fortunately.

The teachers were Miss Ivy Green, aged twenty-three, of 61, Elsted-street, Walworth, who was driving, and Miss Mary Runnacuss, aged twenty-one, of Defoe-road, Tooting. The car belonged to Miss Smythe, of 21, Tunney-road, East Dulwich, the well known and popular head mistress of Lonesome School, who was severely injured herself in a motor accident some time ago at Eastfields level crossing. She had lent her car to her two assistants for an hour while Miss Green was learning to drive. Miss Runnacuss was her instructress.
Neither of the girls was hurt in the least and scarcely suffered from shock. The only damage to the car was a smashed wind-screen.

Mr. George Mountain, of Smith’s Buildings, Commonside East, road foreman in the employ of the Urban Council, told the “Advertiser” that he saw the car crossing the bridge as a motor lorry was ascending from Grove-road. “The motorists,” he said, “evidently caught sight of the lorry as they turned into Grove-road, made a big swerve to avoid it and crashed through the fence doing so. If their car had struck the lamp-post inside the fence it must have turned turtle. I rushed to help the girls and thought they must certainly be seriously injured, but to my great astonishment both were calmly sitting in the car, and actually smiling! They displayed great nerve and coolness all through.”

Another witness said Miss Green remarked : ” I am glad the old ‘bus did not turn over at any rate.”

Half a dozen men, with Mr. Mountain, assisted the girls to get the car out of the “rough” into the narrow passage between the end house occupied-by Mr. and Mrs. Hayne, No. 1. Spencer-road, and the bottom of the embankment. The girls then drove it away. Miss Green gaily waving her hand to her helpers as she left!

A larger car could not have been got out of the well formed by the embankment and the houses, except with the aid of a crane.

Both teachers returned to duty at Lonesome School next morning, but the head mistress had to drive a motor cycle instead of her Austin seven.

Mitcham Advertiser, 17th October, 1929, page 6

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