History of number plates
The Times Wednesday, January 13, 1904 The Motor-Car Act. Mr. Marsham, sitting at Bow-Street, had before him the first case under the Motor-Car Act, 1903. Henry Smith, described as a motor-car driver, of Coliseum-terrace, Regent's-Park, was charged with being drunk while in charge of a motor-car, and with failing to produce his driver's licence when requested to do so by a police-officer. The second offence was framed under the Motor-car Act, 1903, sec. 3, subsec. 4. A police-constable said that at 8 o'clock yesterday morning he saw the prisoner, who was drunk, driving two gentlemen, also under the influence of drink, in a motor-car in Bedford-street. He was going at a slow pace, but was wandering from one side of the road to the other. When asked for his licence he said he had left it at home. The prisoner said he was not aware that he had to produce his licence whenever it was demanded by a police-officer. As to the charge of drunkenness, he said he was more tired than drunk; he had been driving all night. Mr. Marsham dealt with the prisoner under the first subsection of the Act for driving a motor-car in a negligent or reckless manner. The offence was a serious one and was punishable with a £20 penalty, but, this being the first time the prisoner had been charged he would only fine him £10. For the second offence the maximum fine was £5, but as the Act had only just come into operation he would impose the mitigated penalty of 5s. He would, however, deal more severly with similar cases in the future.
Superstition as to the ill luck attaching to the number 13 has made itself apparent. A Shropshire journal reports that in that county this number fell in the ordinary course to a lady motorist. She promptly had it sent back and said she would prefer a change. The request was acceded to. This, however, was not the end of the difficulty. A driver sent to register his master's car accepted the discarded No. 13 but came back next day with the message that his master's daughter would be better satisfied with another number! "Thirteen" after this was not tried again with cars and it is now cancelled so far as the county of Salop is concerned. The Motor Car Journal, 9.1.04.
War Department vehicles handed over to Slough Trading Company - cancellation of registration numbers. All War Department vehicles disposed of through the Slough Trading Company should be regarded as not having been previously registered, (even if by accident numbers remain on the vehicles)...In cases where the registration marks and numbers have not been removed from vehicles prior to their arrival at the Slough Trading Company's deport, the Company will take steps to delete the registration marks and numbers. Circular RF 155 4.8.22.
The attention of the Ministry has been drawn to the fact that some Registration Authorities require that a person allotted an identification number of less than four figures shall, on the identification plates, prefix noughts so as to make four figures. In view of the Minister's proposals in connection with general identification marks, (details of which will be communicated later), it is requested that this practice may be discontinued in future cases. It is also understood that some Registration Authorities duplicate the identification numbers, e.g. the same number may be allotted both to a motor car and to a motor cycle. Under the new scheme such duplication may entail confusion and I am to ask that it may be discontinued in all future cases." Circular RF 105 29.11.20
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