Sad Cycling Fatality near Chinnor

Tuesday, October 2, 1894

While riding a tricycle, and accompanied by her husband on a bicycle, late on Saturday night along the Chinnor and Bledlow Road, Mrs. LEES-ELSON, of London, was thrown upon a heap of flints, and sustained such injuries as to cause her death the next morning. The deceased lady, who was 30 years of age, was staying at Chinnor with her three children, aged respectively five, three, and two. Her husband, Mr. Frank LEES-ELSON, according to his custom, rode down to Chinnor from London on Saturday, and when he and his wife were at liberty in the evening, both went for a ride out as far as Princes Risborough, Mr. LEES-ELSON on his bicycle and his wife on a tricycle. The lady’s machine was of the old side-steering pattern, having the steering wheel in front and a large wheel on both sides of the rider. The condition of the machine was, however, sound. Mr. and Mrs. LEES-ELSON returned late in the evening. At about a quarter to ten they were within a mile of Chinnor and descending a slope in the road, the gentleman being a few yards in front of his wife. A cry from Mrs. LEES-ELSON caused her husband to look back, to see his wife’s tricycle overturned and herself thrown violently upon a heap of rough unbroken flints on the side of the road to his left. He went to the unconscious lady and tended her for about a quarter of an hour, by which time Mr. Herbert Stratford BRAZEL came up on his bicycle, which he rode to Chinnor to return with Mr. Walter COCKS and the latter’s pony and cart. In this vehicle the unfortunate lady was removed to the village. Dr. EDSELL was summoned from Thame, and found the vault of the skull completely smashed, the bone broken, and the brain protruding. He did what was possible, but the case was hopeless from the first, and the patient, without recovering consciousness, died at half-past six on Sunday morning.

An inquest was held on the body at the Old British School by Dr. H. DIXON, Coroner for South Oxon, on Monday morning. Evidence was given by Mr. LEES-ELSON, Mr. BRAZELL, and Mr. COX. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and decided that the Watlington Highway Board should be written to respecting the dangerous position of the flints on the road. The width of the road on which the distressing accident occurred is, at the incline where the mishap took place, about 15ft. There is a narrow path on one side, and a still narrower width of grass, on which a long heap of unbroken flints were deposited, on the other. A large flint was found about two yards from the heap and close to the spot where Mrs. LEES-ELSON’s tricycle was overturned.

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