Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

1 September 2008

I am standing in for Ian this week as he is away.

Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008:

28 Sept (Ian), 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.

Roger has a Hayling Island ride up his sleeve for the autumn, and Ian is going to take us on a symbolic "Return to the Toll Bridge". I am also progressing (slowly) with a Lewes-based ride with something of a railway flavour. But don't let that deter you from planning one of your own!

Clarion History

Ian writes … "As well as the usual episode on the origins of the Clarion CC there's an interesting illustrated piece on Clarion clubhouses by Michael Walker. [But was the Club 'founded' in 1895 or in 1894 as the logo at the head of the article says?]".

[To avoid reinventing the wheel, this external link will take you to the article and photos - Fred the webmaster]




The Next Ride

Sunday 14 September 2008
Three Bridges Circular:
Three Bridges – East Grinstead – Lingfield – Crowhurst – Blindley Heath – Burstow – Copthorne – Three Bridges

This ride incorporates a part of our various Worth Way forays in the past, and part of the route we took on 2 March (see archive) but the rest is new. It's rather long I'm afraid – 27 miles – but that will give the more athletic among you a chance to show us how it's done! There are two hilly bits but most of it is flat. (And the downhills are pretty amazing – I hit 32mph on one of them!)

We will have lunch at the Star at Lingfield, a supergiant of a pub, with a very extensive and affordable menu.

Points of interest: We may have another look at Worth Church, particularly if Jeff is around to repeat the guided tour from 16 September 2007 (see archive for details). Other possible churches to visit: the 14th century St Peter & Paul, Lingfield, together with adjacent old houses; or the 12th century Burstow Church is just off the route and can be visited on request. This would also give us a chance to see the adjacent John Flamsteed Hall, built in 1859 and named after the first Astronomer Royal (1646-1719) who received the living of Burstow in 1684. (It is now a school.)

Blindley Heath is the name of a small village in Surrey, and also (more to the point) of the adjacent triangular open space. It is rather bumpy and has two stiles, but should still be worth traversing, as the alternative is to ride along the A22! Unfortunately we will not be able to visit the nearby wonderful Bannister's Tea Rooms, as they are closed on Sundays. Don't worry – we should be able to have tea at one of the pubs en route, either at Shipley Bridge or Copthorne.

The ride will take around 5 ½ to 6 hours, depending on number of stops. Trains leave Three Bridges for Brighton at 17, 24 and 54 minutes past each hour, taking about 30 minutes.

Catch the 10.00 train from Brighton or meet at Three Bridges Station at 10.30. Be at Brighton in good time to get Groupsave tickets – preferably by 9.30.

Jim (mobile 07742-963239)


24 August 2008
Picnic at Banjo Groyne

Here's a photo from the Clarion picnic last Sunday, taken by Sue Pringle (we didn't manage to get a passer-by to take one of us all, in spite of the wedding party nearby! They studiously ignored us elderly eccentrics). Sue just aimed in our general direction with the camera - bright sunlight on the screen made it difficult to see.


The Last Ride – Roger's Report

31 August 2008
Burgess Hill to Shoreham

[Lots more photos on Flickr]

Brighton and Hove awoke to thunder and heavy rain, but the Clarion was not discouraged. By the time Angelica, Jim, Leon, Roger, Suzanne and Tessa had gathered at Burgess Hill station the rain was easing off and spirits were high.

Ready for the off

We sped out of town and onto our old friends Job's Lane and Bob's Lane. There was a short stop at Woodbine Cottage in Wineham to buy some local produce; Tessa's beetroot could not have been fresher as it was pulled just for her. Angelica washed the soil from her carrots and offered them round.

Comparing Vegetables

To the sound of carrots crunching we set off again and arrived at Henfield in good time to take in the local sights before lunch. Leon led us past Martyn Lodge, former home of Canon Nathaniel Woodard, founder of Lancing College and several other famous schools. Then on to a small thatched cottage nearby known as the Cat House because of the pictures on its walls of a cat holding a canary. It seems that Canon Woodard's cat killed a canary belonging to George Ward, the owner of the cottage. Since the Canon had to pass by each time he went to the nearby church of St Peter, Mr Ward decided to make sure that he never forgot the error of his cat's ways.

Cat House

And so on to lunch, which, thanks to Leon's careful planning, was at a pub called the Cat and Canary. Some Clarion members may remember it by its former name, the Old Railway Tavern. The food was excellent, especially the added tomatoes which Leon had purchased at Woodbine cottage and now handed round the table.

Tucking In

The Old Railway Tavern was so named because it stands on the disused train line, which now forms the Downs Link cycle route. We used this route to complete our journey to Shoreham, stopping briefly to chat with three mud-spattered young cyclists who had covered the whole of it, all the way from Guildford.

The improved Botolphs Bridge

The route crosses the river Adur by a footbridge at Botolphs. This bridge has now been seriously upgraded for cyclists, with well surfaced ramps replacing the previous wooden steps.

At Teddies

At Shoreham the sky was full of ancient planes and the new toll bridge was busy with the air show crowds. We took the back streets to "Teddy's", a fine tearoom near the station. Revived by Teddy's tea and cakes we abandoned earlier thoughts of a train ride home and opted for another few miles in the saddle. A misty rain descended and those with lights switched them on: a slightly damp end to an excellent day out.

Thanks Leon!



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s

16. More from Bradford and the Potteries – reports from TANDEM, the Bradford Clarion Scouts and CLINCHER

Appearing in the same issue – 6 October 1894 – as the report in the last circular from the Liverpool Clarion CC was this one from Bradford. 'Swiftsure' does the introductions as usual.

Bradford cyclists have been rousing Barnsley where another Clarion C.C. is being started, twelve cyclists having already given their names for the purpose

'The Bradford Clarion Cycling Club had a most enjoyable run to Barnsley on Sunday last, where arriving late through a breakdown on the road, they found an enthusiastic audience waiting their arrival. Comrade Pattinson presiding and Tom Taylor addressing the meeting, after which Comrade Marks explained the objects of the Clarion Cycling Scouts and said a few words on the coming elections. Twenty riders turned up.

Next Sunday, Engineer Hotel at 2pm for Ravensthorpe'


Meanwhile, in the Postbag – conducted by Blatchford (alias Nunquam) an explanatory letter appeared.

Dear Nunquam

This is the first report of the Bradford Corps of Clarion Scouts. In the first place, the distributors have distributed nearly 14,000 leaflets and handbills in Bradford and in the outlying wards which are to be contested at the November election by I.L.P. men. The Cycling Corps are doing good work in outlying villages; your leaflet on Ben Pickard and the I.L.P having surprised the colliers. We are at present trying to arrange for them to speak for about half an hour at their calling places, By-the-way the Clarion Cycling Club Corps in Bradford are really the Scout Cyclists, 22 out of 25 members being on the Scouts Register.

* * *

Now back to 'Swiftsure's page. After TANDEM'S report this appeared:-

The Potteries Clarion CC send me their report as follows:

'To follow in the trail of the "O Groomie O" I beg to offer a few remarks about the season of 1894. Our club was very late in starting, and for this reason many who would have otherwise joined postponed doing so until next season.

Our initial runs were better attended than the others, Of course, the most interesting events of the season have been the meeting and fraternising with our Birmingham comrades at Rugely, Dolgelly, and Lichfield.

The chief work done has been the distribution of Clarion literature, the actual conversion of a few Clarionettes, and the booming of the Clarion. We hope to wind up the season by attending the big social in Brum, where, if reports be true, we shall be able to do homage to his most worshipful the Bounder, the ultima thule of this or any other age.

For this auspicious occasion some of our members are forming a glee party, Let this be an instruction to Birmingham, for they give a dreadful note of preparation. They that have ears to hear, let them put some wool in!

We shall be glad to fall in with any arrangements for meet of C.C.Cs next Easter, and hope to have a more brilliant report next year


* * *

A Note on Bradford
Back then – when it meant something – Bradford socialists often reminded people from other places that the town was the 'birthplace of the ILP'. One important forerunner of the new party was the Bradford Labour Union, founded in 1891. Blatchford, while still working as leader writer on the Manchester-based Sunday Chronicle was adopted as its prospective parliamentary candidate, which may have cost him his job or at least contributed to his departure – and the subsequent founding of the Clarion.

When a libel action in the new paper's earliest days threatened its existence Blatchford withdrew from his candidature – and never stood for elected office again. The founding conference of the ILP took place there in 1893. Back in the early 1970s, Mrs Davies, who seemed to be one of the very few Labour Party members in Rottingdean, told me that her first memory was of being taken as a tiny child onto the stage at the meeting that adopted her father Ben Tillett as parliamentary candidate soon after that. She claimed to have been conceived during the great London Dock Strike of 1889 which first brought her father to fame.

My all-time favourite MP, Fred Jowett – 'Jowett of Bradford' - gave a wonderful description of Bradford in the 1890s which appeared as a preface to Fenner Brockway's biography. A Fenner Brockway, Socialism over Sixty Years. The Life of Jowett of Bradford, 1864-1943 (1946)


Next time – an unusual event in Manchester

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