I too had the hapless Cotterill, in the summer of 1964. There weren’t many traffic lights in Keighley at the time. I stopped at the ones at the junction of Low St and North St. Trouble was, they were at green. When they changed to red I engaged first gear, slipped the clutch and drove off. I failed. On the re-test, when it was emergency stop time, Cotterill swivelled round in the passenger seat to check there was nothing behind us. At that point a small dog ran in front of the car and I screeched to a halt, propelling Mr Cotterill into the windscreen. I don’t think he believed me about the dog, but he gave me the benefit of the doubt and passed me.
I had left the Grammar School when I took my driving test. I started work in Skipton in January 1951, I was seventeen in March and I took mt test (in Skipton) in mid April. And I passed! I remember very little about the actual test except for one thing. I took the test in my fathers car, a prewar Wolsey of the type which are still seen in B type old films, chasing after villains round the trafficless streets of London with a bell ringing. The Wolsleys on film went far faster than my dad’s car, but i’m certain that was because the film was speeded up to make it more exciting. Anyway, during the test, I was instructed whilst driving up a steep hill, I think it was Raikes Road, to take the next turning left. I drove straight past the turning and realising my mistake, I pulled up on a slope resembling the steepest part of Park Rash, to apologise to the examiner. ‘Carry on’ he said, ‘And take the next left’, which I did. Perfect hill start! Thinking that i’d blown it, I completed the remainder of my test in quick time. No nerves! He passed me with a word of caution. He told me that the test usually took half an hour and that i’d done it in twenty minutes. ‘Take it easy for a while he said. After passing my test I became chauffeur to my boss, who couldn’t drive and I had virtually the sole use of a brand new Ford 2cu yd Refuse Collector! New cars were hard to acquire in those austerity years!
I remember passing my motor cycle test far clearer. I was in the army doing my National Service and needing only to be able to ride a motor bike in order to become a Hygiene Assistant class 1, I was posted to the Miliitary Police Depot in Woking to do a three week motor cycle course. It was a very intensive course! Week one was spent in the classroom, week 2 on a nursery track an on the ranges, week 3 on the roads with a civilian test on the Friday. Oh, I should mention, that as a result of the Suez crisis, the army had a petroless day on a Wednesday, - no vehicle on the road that day. So the test was taken after only three days on the roads. The army test was a little different to the civilian one. The instructor rode behind you and passed or failed the pupil according to what he observed. The test was taken in Aldershot and as I knew the way, I was told to ride to a particular car park in Aldershot and another squaddy was told to ride behind me. The instructor would follow the two of us and he would make his judgement en route. The only instruction I got was, ‘Don’t go faster than 30mph. But do not dawdle’. After half a mile I lost my ‘shadow’. I waited in the Aldershot car park for the other two to turn up which eventually they did. The other squaddy got a rollicking and failed. I was asked how i’d got on and replied that i’d had no problems and passed. Happy memories!