Fiery Liz was probably the first taxi to have been used in the South West and possibly the first wedding car. It belonged to Mr G. H.Pruen who was the owner of The Clarence Hotel on the sea front and he would use it to ferry his guests to and from the railway station. It was a two cylinder, 6.5 horse power, Daimler Wagonette built in 1897 by The Motor Mills factory in Coventry and would have cost about £375 when new. It was bought by Mr Pruen in 1903.
In the upper gallery of St Andrew’s Church there is a memorial plate to Mr Pruen, who was a well known local character. The plate has clearly been moved from its original site. We do not know to which entrance gates it refers.
Fiery Liz was so named because the engine had a tendency to backfire. In 1903 it was used as a wedding car for the marriage of James George Andrews and Rosa Gough In Weston Super Mare. This photograph shows the car and guests outside Gough’s Engineer’s workshop which was in Palmer Street, Weston Super Mare and is now Weston Furniture House.
The car was in constant use until about 1929 when it is said that it had travelled 500,00 miles, it being used as a “school bus” in its latter years.
On the Esplanade: above, date unknown (note ‘Burnham and Somerset Daily Sketch’ advert); below, in front of National School with trailer, believed to have collected the season’s concert party (probably for the Pavilion), trailer used to carry props.
Albert Hauser, of the Hauser’s ironmongery business recalled in 1989 a trip with George Pruen in Fiery Liz in “the Old Crocks race”:
“The race was from London to Eastbourne and we used 16 gallons of petrol and 52 gallons of water just to get to Croydon. The whole trip took us a week and Uncle George, as he was known to everyone, seemed to have friends everywhere. Even if we stopped at a wayside pub he was sure to get a big welcome from the landlord.” (Weekly News 14th Dec 1989)
The vehicle was driven to Bristol museum on its last journey on 19th May 1947 where it was to be exhibited. It was by then fifty years old and struggled to get up hills on the A38. Maximum speed was about 12 mph and at some point the driver had to get out and push!
Fiery Liz is now proudly displayed at The Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford, near Yeovil where it is amongst the earliest motorised vehicles and has it’s own display area near to the entrance.
A fixed penalty notice was sent to Bristol Museum claiming that Y-99 had been spotted in the London congestion zone on 17th February 2003 despite it not having been driven since 1947. The error was said to be “a computer glitch”