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Ask the Experts


DRIVING SEAT Edwardian cars were not designed for women. This 1911 image shows the driver dwarfed by the wheel

Who were the first female drivers?

Although they were a minority in the early days of motoring, women had a big impact on driving. Men frequently attempted to limit or prohibit female drivers, and often ridiculed their driving ability, but that didn’t stop the emergence of a number of famous female motorists.

Edwardian women were fortunate to have a champion in Dorothy Levitt, a record-breaking competitive driver and motoring writer who counted Queen Alexandra among her pupils.

In 1909, she assured readers that one needn’t look “hideous” or feel anxious in a car, recommending storing a powder-puff, soothing supplies of chocolate and a small Colt automatic handgun in a little drawer under the seat.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - April 2017
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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

This might well be our most-packed issue ever, and we’ve got pretty much every time and place imaginable covered. Our section in the centre pages looks at those archaeological discoveries that make our understanding of the past possible – from buried kings to mysterious writings.