Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

3 March 2008

For the first time yesterday, unless I'm having yet another 'senior moment', we did for the first time a ride –under Jim's guidance – that both started and finished outside Sussex (both of them). See Leon's report. Leon has also taken on the next ride. Details of ride and Leon's report of yesterday's are below.

The Good News ... and the Bad News

Really both the same in this case. Work has started on the Old Toll Bridge at Shoreham. Nice to know we've helped to finance this in a small way. The bad news is that it is now closed so the work can be done. No indication of when it's likely to be able to be re-opened. If you know anything about this – let me know. Apparently there is going to be a Toll Bridge Ride this year. Details later.

Planning rides

Here are the remaining 2008 dates:- 30 March (Jim); 13, 27 April; 11, 25 May ; 8, 22 June; 6, 20 July, 3, 17, 31 Aug; 14, 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.

If you want to lead a ride on one of these dates:-

  1. Work out your route and – very important – check the trains on the possible dates making sure to research train availability – one needs to check the 'details' on the Journey Planner website to make sure it's a 'train' and not a 'replacement bus'.
  2. Contact me suggesting the proposed date for your ride (I'll then put your name beside the date so everyone can see what's still up for grabs)
  3. If you've booked a date some way ahead please confirm to me that the ride is still on at least 3 weeks before
  4. Just before the previous ride to the one you're planning – or earlier if possible - send me the details laid out in the familiar format so I can put it straight into the next circular.

Badges or books anyone?

This is the final call - so speak now or forever, etc!

I've still got a few moulded silver trumpet Clarion badges at £6 and some copies of Denis Pye's history of the Clarion CC – Fellowship is Life - at £4.95. I intend to return the ones that we don't need fairly soon. So if you'd like either a badge or a copy of the little book please let me know. As with subs don't worry about sending the money straightaway – although I would like it eventually, of course, but just tell me and I'll reserve it for you.

The Clarion in 1894

Most of today's offering – at the end of this Circular – has nothing directly to do with the origins of the Clarion CC – which I will continue to pursue in the next editions, but will be, I believe, of interest.

Other Clarion history

One or two of you know John Lowerson. At the moment he's doing a book on Alan Bush, the Communist composer, and he mentioned to me the other day that the Birmingham Clarion Singers is still going strong. Bush was their president for many years (and Paul Robeson later on). Google them and have a look at their website. 'Singing songs for Peace and Justice since 1940' it says. Which is very late for the original Clarion choir movement. It says that it was founded by Dr Colin Bradsworth 'on his return from the Spanish Civil War', so there is probably an interesting story here.


The Next Ride

Sunday 16 March 2008
Three Bridges, Ifield, Rusper, Charlwood and Crawley.

This is a twenty-mile circular ride using some cycle-ways and roads through Crawley suburbs, but mainly country lanes. The terrain is mostly flat with some slight undulation around Rusper.

Leaving Three Bridges station we head toward Crawley town for a short while and then take the paved cycle-way through Furnace Green to Tilgate Park.

At Broadfield we take the cycle-track north following the A23 to Ifield. (Most traffic now use the M23 on the East Side of Crawley, (the A23 is now much quieter).

After 2 miles we enter the Ifield suburbs that lead to Ifield Street. The Church of St. Margaret was locked up when I did the trial run on 9 Feb 2008, but we might get in on a Sunday.

After viewing the ancient buildings and churchyard of St. Margaret church we head out to Rusper on country lanes.There are more old and interesting buildings and St. Mary Magdalene church to look at in this small village. Note: This church is open at all times.

The name of Rusper is unique in the whole of the UK. It probably derives from the Old English 'rus spaer' a rough enclosure. In this rough enclosure the church was founded.

I have arranged a table for lunch at The Star Inn (PH). Horsham Road, Rusper for 12.30-ish.

After lunch we will head back to Crawley via Charlwood, where we can stop to see the church of St. Nicholas; the Half Moon (PH); The Rising Sun (PH), and The Greyhound (PH). Not a pub-crawl I promise!

At Langley Lane Ifield we can see the Friends Meetinghouse. A loveable ashlar-built cottage dated 1676 with two half-hipped gables and mildly classical quoins to the angles and the doorcase.

West Green, we will pass Leopold Road where some of the acid-bath murders took place in a workshop (now demolished).

Crawley High Street now mostly pedestrianized so it's a walk through the centre of town and a rather nice park to the east side where we get onto the old Three Bridges road and the back to Three Bridges on a designated cycle route. It looks just like a road to me.

Catch the 10.16 from Brighton station or meet at Three Bridges station at 10.40

Trains back at 15.17 (15.24) Arrive Brighton at 15.50 (15.52) each hour thereafter.

For the ride on 16 March, we would like to try out the GROUPSAVE option whereby a group of four people travelling together pay the price of two tickets, which gives them a 50% discount. But to do this, we need anyone who wants to participate to be at Brighton station by 9.45, and NOT to buy their ticket until they've met up with the others. If you can't make it by then but want to participate, ring Jim on 07742-963239.

Points of interest

Tilgate Park is a local beauty spot that is well used throughout the whole year.
Northward is a good view over Crawley and Gatwick and to the North Downs (when visibility allows).

At the foot of Pease Pottage hill; don't worry we are not going up that way; Broadfield, not the estate, that's ugly, but a very nice house. See The Buildings of England 'SUSSEX'.

The house is a 19th century building with bows and a veranda on columns with a view over a lake. Sadly it is now in commercial occupation and allowed to become run down.

Ifield Street is recorded in the doomsday census records. The old cottages here are 13th and 14th century. The church of St.Margaret has some very interesting features and is worth a visit, if we can get in. It is said that it stands on the site of an earlier wooden church that was rebuilt before the 13th c.

There are two life size 14th century figures here in the church, Sir John de Ifelde and Lady Margaret de Ifelde. They died in 1340 and 1347 respectively.

Rusper is a small-unspoilt village situated about three miles Northeast of Horsham on the Surrey border. We can see some very pretty cottages that are half-timbered and tile-hung.

The church of St. Mary Magdalene.
Quoted from 'The Buildings of England'. "Hefty, impressive Perpendicular tower, possibly c16 incorporating c13 fragments, with big buttresses and big square stair-turret at one corner – the Thames Valley type done with more force. Local Weald stone. The top ten feet and the west window are c19, done in 1855 when the rest of the church was rebuilt".

Charlwood is a small village located in the Mole Valley, South-eastern Surrey.
Charlwood adjoins Gatwick Airport and is close to the West Side of Horley.

The Surrey-Sussex border, which ran to the south of Gatwick Airport was moved to the north for administrative purposes in 1974 so that the county boundary, delineated by the Sussex Border Path, now runs along the northern perimeter of the airport and marks much of the village boundary.

Charlwood is the home of the Lowfield Heath Windmill, which was moved from the village of Lowfield Heath when it was demolished in the 1970s to make room for the expansion of the airport.

There are a small number of shops and three pubs: The Greyhound, The Rising Sun, and The Half Moon. There is also a restaurant, Limes Bistro.


The Last Ride - Leon's Report

Sunday 2 March 2008.
Tracks, lanes and cycle-ways of East Surrey; 9 Cyclists.

Alice, Joyce, Tessa, Sue Pringle, Jim and Fred met at Brighton station to board the 10am train to Horley. I (Leon) joined them on the train at Hassocks and met Amanda and Ian at Horley station at 10.41.

The start at Horley station

The start at Horley station

At the entrance to Horley station we found an agreeable young man to take our group photo. The backdrop of this photo is a big red bus that was waiting to take rail passengers around the now usual Railtrack work that is affecting most routes at this time.

Our leader for the day, Jim

Our leader for the day, Jim

Off we go in glorious sunshine, downhill, eastward to the Balcombe road where we join our first track. Only slightly damp at this point but turning progressively muddier as we approached the remains of Thunderfield Castle. On route we could hear a woodpecker busily pecking at a tree for a meal.

A local to the area helped us to locate the position of the castle by pointing to a coppice and confessing that although he had lived within a hundred metres of the site for over thirty years, he didn't know it was there until quite recently.

Jim's photo of a peacock

Jim's photo of a peacock

Continuing along the track, we came to a farm gate, and beyond a stable with two Shetland ponies, a few peacocks and hens and a couple of chickens; this was worthy of a short stop.

Mud - and a horse and wagon sign

Mud - and a horse and wagon sign

Now turning right into Brook Lane, a track that got rather wet with some large puddles that proved useful to ride through in an effort to wash off some mud.

Amanda and Ian

Amanda and Ian

Gatwick House

Gatwick House

The first bridge over the M23 was quickly traversed to escape the traffic noise.
Soon we came to Gatwick House, a large impressive building that had passed into commercial ownership. Turning left into Church Lane and crossing the M23 to access Cross lane where we encountered a greater volume of traffic. Calls of 'Oil' were frequent.

Now onto Cogmans Lane running north. These lanes were very pleasant with a little less traffic, allowing us to become part of our surroundings and enjoy the flora and fauna whenever we were lucky enough to pass quietly by.

Big house

Smallfield Place

Up the hill - Jim's photo

Up the hill - Jim's photo

Jim's description of "One serious hill" turned out to be Scott's Hill, not really so bad after all. Only two of us walked up the last part, but our intrepid Fred got back on his bike when Amanda went to his rescue and pushed him 'running quite fast' up the last 25 metres. Fred arrived with a grin a mile wide. Near to the top of the hill is a farm, it is more like a smart home for a wealthy owner, it's called rather obviously 'Hillcrest Farm'. At the crest of the hill is a sign warning drivers of toads crossing, but there were no toads to be seen today.

Overgrown greenhouses - Jim's photo

Overgrown greenhouses - Jim's photo

Leon looks for toads

Leon looks for toads

Beyond the crest was a gentle downhill slope with woods to our left and a beautiful lake 'Marl pond' on the right. Ahead was a left turning and beyond lay Outwood Common with the black post mill coming into sight. At this point we noticed Jim slowing to a stop at the left turn at Millers Lane; at the same time Joyce was now at the common near to the mill a quarter mile ahead. It was pointless calling out to her, as we knew she wouldn't hear us so we waited, she turned to see where the group was, and we waved to her to return. She said it was so lovely coasting slowly downhill with birdsong to accompany her as she enjoyed the moment. That's what it's all about; enjoy every moment you can.

With Joyce back in the group of riders we headed west down Millers Lane and at the end of Brickfield Road turning left onto Prince of Wales Road where we arrived at the Dog and Duck for our lunch. We were expected at the pub thanks to Jim's arrangements over the cell-phone. The ale and meals were top quality; I think I can say quite honestly that we all enjoyed our short stop here. Thanks Jim.

At the Dog and Duck

At the Dog and Duck

At the Dog and Duck

On leaving the pub we decided to attempt a simple mechanical task on Tessa's bike.
A bell needed fitting to the handlebars but a redundant hooter needed to be removed first. Out came the tools, now the tools that we carry need to be few and lightweight. Because a suitable sized socket wrench couldn't be found, a substitute was produced. A multi-tool with pliers was offered up to release the socket screw retaining the hooter. Bang went the pliers, Jim looked quite shocked to see that the metal failed; the hooter stayed put, but I think Tessa is happy with her new bell.

Now back on the Prince of Wales Road northbound, and on to Crabhill Lane via the outskirts of South Nutfield and Kingsmill lane to Redhill Aerodrome for a cup of tea.

Jim's photo of Redhill Aerodrome

Jim's photo of Redhill Aerodrome

The coats and jerseys went on as the temperature was dropping and we cycled south through some pleasant lanes with a view to Earlswood and the North Downs on our right. Soon we came to the National Cycle Route 21. Now we were among walkers and children on bikes with their parents. This was a pleasant change from motor traffic. All too soon we were back in Horley bidding farewell to Amanda and Ian and climbing down the steps at the station to wait only a few minutes for our train.

Greenwich anyone?

Greenwich anyone?

The train was packed to standing. I was getting off at Hassocks so needed to board last of our group. The guard was blowing his whistle at me to hurry up and get clear of the doors, but I had to wait for bikes and passengers to shuffle to make enough space for me to get in.

I did get in and home safe and well after another most enjoyable day cycling.


The Clarion in 1894

Clarion Badges
The origins of the Clarion silver trumpet badge featured in last issue. On 23 June 1894 for the first time a little advert began to appear in the Clarion. 'The Clarion Cyclists Badge' was obtainable from Chris J Thompson in Hockley, Birmingham at '1s 8d each or 18s dozen'. [Reproductions from me at £6 – sorry, haven't got a dozen left!]

'Lady Cyclists' and 'Rationals'
At this time the Clarion included a page called PASTIMES Our "Clarion" Cricket Mixture, put together by one Muff – yet another of those odd nicknames

On 2 June 1894 the following little piece appeared. [Difficult to ascertain any connection with cricket.]

There is wrath, says the London Evening News and Post, in the ranks of the "rationally dressed" lady riders, by which is meant those fair cyclists who have emancipated themselves from the skirt. The reason for the pother is the refusal of an innkeeper's wife to serve a rationally-dressed lady with refreshments unless she could produce a skirt.

This certainly seems very high-handed behaviour on the part of the Licensed victualler, and there are some grounds for the opinion that It is also illegal.

I'm 99.9% sure that this is a reference to the well-publicised case of Lady Harberton. This is what has to say about her and the case.

Lady Harberton suggested a dual garment which initially was a divided skirt worn under a long coat. The idea appealed to many as sensible and practical. Those favouring the style drew attention to its value. Accident reports of cyclists who had been encumbered by the fashion for wearing standard skirt styles often appeared in the press. Rational dress as a fashion was finally adopted in 1895 by a handful of privileged women. It was not universally worn and virtually no cycling costume is found in museums. A rare example of fashionable cycling dress from the Victorian era is held at the Platt Hall Gallery of English Costume in Manchester"

Only limited numbers ever wore the full rational dress Lady Harberton wore. Female cyclists still risked ridicule and many preferred to wear breeches beneath a skirt and plenty more simply wore just the skirt. Lady Harberton herself was refused admittance for refreshments at the coffee room at the Hautboy Hotel. A lawsuit and heated debate followed which gave a more public airing to the idea of women wearing appropriate clothes for safe movement in activities. 

Cycling was very 'in' in the 1890s – probably more than ever before or after. It has been routinely credited with playing a biggish part in the growing emancipation of women and for a while – quite soon after the Clarion report there was actually a periodical called The Lady Cyclist.

Here's what the British Library website has to say about it – you can read it for yourself at Colindale.

The Lady Cyclist, 1895-97
By the 1890s cycling was a popular pastime. The Lady Cyclist, founded in 1895, aimed to provide useful advice for the growing number of women who shared this enthusiasm. Each issue contained suggestions for recommended rides, advice on bicycle maintenance, and advertisements for everything from the latest machines to Ellman's universal embrocation. The magazine was short-lived, but as the editor, Charles Sisley, wrote in the issue for July 1896, 'A new era seems to have sprung up: life which has hitherto seemed dull and uninteresting now looks bright and attractive'.

But just how much of a stir 'rationals' caused can be judged by this reference in the very first article by Swiftsure – who was to preside over the Clarion's 'Cycling Notes' from then on

'A woman dressed in "rationals" has been seen astride a machine in the Preston district.' [Clarion, 28 July 1894]


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