In a fascinating three page account, author John Buckledee retells how Legless Lal used to race stagecoaches along the Watling Street (A5), and more often than not, won. It was no mean feat because the man was legless, although he did get around on a low slung cart pulled along by a team of three dogs. Lal apparently had no fixed abode, but at times would sleep in the hay at the Sugar Loaf in Dunstable. Lal finally met his demise when his cart came to grief at a now lost location known as 'Pine Bottom'.
Back then, Watling Street, from Chiltern Road northward, was in Houghton Regis parish.
The story is largely recounted from "Road Scrapings: Coaches and Coaching" by Capt. M.F. Haworth, publ 1882:
- Hardback, from around £30. Publisher: Tinsley Brothers(1882) Hardback
- ppb.110 pages, Publisher: Leopold Classic Library, around £7.95 Paperback
- Kindle Edition, File Size: 734 KB, Print Length: 242 pages, around £7.55 Kindle choice 1, Kindle choice2
and also in 'Coaching Days and Coaching Ways' by W. Outram-Tristam 1888 [hardback, paperback].
Picture (right) from Kindle preview, although it does not seem to be available on Kindle.
Dunstable & District Local History Society: http://www.dunstablehistory.co.uk
February 2016 Newsletter: http://www.dunstablehistory.co.uk/Newsletters/Newsletter45.pdf