Monday, 26 August 2013

Tara Browne Crash Scene

I took a trip today down to Redcliffe Gardens in London to visit the site of Tara Browne's fatal car crash. It was quite an illuminating trip, and, as with most things connected to Beatle lore, doesn't seem to quite fit the stated facts.



Firstly, Redcliffe Gardens is a one way road with traffic flowing in the direction of the arrow above. If this was the case in 1966 is unknown, however, I suspect that it was not. But, according to Wikipedia Tara had been travelling from South Kensington, meaning that he would have been travelling in the direction of the arrow anyway. Currently the traffic can flow in two lanes along the road, though this would not have been the case should the traffic have been flowing in either direction. It is also a moot point if the parking bays on either side of the road, where the Beetle and the van are parked, existed in the sixties.


Perhaps most significantly though is the layout of the traffic lights at the junction. In 2013 these lights are pedestrian controlled. If this has always been the case, again, I don't know. However, if we assume that they were this would add an entirely new dimension to the accident.

As the lyrics go, "he didn't notice that the lights had changed", if this incident happened now the lights would only have gone red had someone been waiting to cross the road. Therefore adding both a potential witness and a possible cause of the accident, had Tara swerved to avoid a pedsestrian.

Of course, in 1966, the lights may have been differently sited, and designed, to allow traffic to enter Redcliffe Gardens from Redcliffe Square. Now vehicles from the square can only turn left and into the flow of the traffic.


As we can see from the above photo, a view from Redcliffe Square toward Redcliffe Gardens, traffic can only turn left at the junction. Assuming Tara swerved to avoid a car pulling out from this junction then it is possible that he hit a vehicle parked where the car is on the left hand side of the road.

Tara, according to Suki Potier, his companion that night, deliberately swerved the car to avoid injuring her and so absorbed the impact of the crash himself.


For that to be the case then the car would have to have been dragged over to the other side of the road, and turned around, and there is no sign of a lorry - which he is supposed to have crashed into - in the photo above. However, looking at the railings, it is possible that this where the car landed up.

This is, of course, highly hypothetical as I am speculating wildly. It is equally possible that Tara was racing someone - Paul McCartney? - and this is how he came to grief. All I can do is post these photo's in the hope that someone may come up with a more coherent theory.

View across Redcliffe Gardens towards Redcliffe Square
View back down Redcliffe Gardens