Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



Wally Newman and the old Brighton section

Dave Gravett

Dave Gravett in a 25 mile time trial in Surrey in 1952. Dave who has been to the last two of our Christmas get-togethers, was a member of the old Brighton section - and still has his membership card!

New! Helen Mogford's Brighton Clarion photos from she thinks, a camp at Amberley. Can anyone identify any of the people in the photos?

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

1. The very beginning 'ADVANCE BIRMINGHAM' – the report of the Clarion Cycling Club's first tour

2. A national link-up is proposed

3. Clarion badges, 'lady cyclists' and 'rationals'

4. The Clarion CC to the rescue?

5. The picnic idea gains support, Clarion Scouts, and 'Bewicke' writes from Newcastle

6. Potteries No 2 Branch, 'Cyclo- Phobia' and 'cycling camps'

7. The Trumpet Badge and Dangle's Parisian cycling activities

8. Tours of Jersey and of Wales by Clarion CCs

9. Birmingham CCC's Tour of North Wales

10. The rules of the Potteries CCC and and advert for the Clarion cycle

11. Sage advice from Swiftsure and the Clarion CC continues to spread

12. 'The O' Groomie O' responds to an enquiry about the Clarion badge and Swiftsure's take on the North Road Club's annual 24 hour race.

13. End of season report from Birmingham CCC – more light on the origins of the Easter Meet.

14. Reports from Bradford.

15. More 'Lady cyclists' and report from Liverpool

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

17. 'Swiftsure' anticipates an event in Manchester – and the beginning of his report

18. The Manchester cyclists' parade. Swiftsure's report continued from 13 October 1894

19. Liverpool CCC and 'Swiftsure' on Sunday cycling

20. More Liverpool activities and 'The Bounder on Tour' near Stratford upon Avon

21. Reports from Bradford and Liverpool plus a recommendation from Swiftsure

22. 'The Bounder in Brum' including the B'ham CCC's dinner

23. Cycling parades again – and Swiftsure takes steps to create a Manchester CCC

24. More support for a Manchester Clarion CC

25. 'the following' - the Birmingham CC's 'Smoker' and the first Easter Meet begins to take shape

26. An Australian woman's remarkable feat and news of the Liverpool CCC

27. We move into 1895 with a meeting to form the Manchester club announced and a message from the Potteries by 'Clincher'

28. The Manchester Clarion CC is formed

29. The Bradford Clarion CC emerging from 'winter's blight'

30. Stirrings at Rochdale, a Manchester reminder, more social activities in Birmingham, and a reminder about the first Easter Meet

31. Manchester CCC organises a '25' and Clarion CCs continue to spread

32. Manchester Cycle Show and a cycling club for MPs – with Clarion comments

33. The first Easter Meet gets nearer as Clarion C.Cs continue to get organised

34. The first ride of the Manchester CCC and the coming first Easter Meet

35. Clarion cycling continues to spread as the first Meet approaches

36. Arrangements for the first Easter Meet – and more Manchester runs

37. Clarion cycling continues to spread as the first Meet approaches

38. An encounter with 'Lady Cyclists' and Swiftsure urges NCU affiliation

39. 'Unattached cyclists' and accommodation at the first Easter Meet

40. The Bounder and Dangle discuss the imminent first 'meet' at Ashbourne

41. Who's for Ashbourne this weekend?

42. Reports from Clarion in Nottingham, Manchester and Blackburn

43. The Clarion Board and the Ashbourne Meet – and a plea for 'lady' members in Liverpool

44. The Ashbourne Meet (at last!)

45. Alex Thompson (aka Dangle) on the Ashbourne Meet (continued)

46. Swiftsure on the Meet

47. More from Swiftsure on the Ashbourne Meet

48. Blatchford prepares for the Meet - Wednesday 3 April

49. Blatchford prepares for the Meet - continued - Thursday to Monday

50. The Clarion staff at the first Easter Meet 'The Evolution of the Cycle' The Clarion, 20 April 1895

51. The Clarion staff preparing for the first Easter Meet 'The Evolution of the Cycle' The Clarion, 20 April 1895 - continued

52. The Clarion staff preparing for the first Easter Meet 'The Evolution of the Cycle'' The Clarion, 20 April 1895 - continued

53. The intrepid heroes of the Clarion staff finally arrive at the Ashourne Meet and are greated with "Boots!"

54. The Ashbourne Meet 'smoker' and Sheol. The penultimate episode of of 'The Easter Meet. Evolution of the Cycle' from the Clarion, 20 April 1895

55. Easter Sunday at the Meet (and the 'Beery Person' re-emerges)

56. Cycling accidents and some rather alarming advice on bike management from Swiftsure

57. More on accidents and how to avoid them

58. Manchester CCC's Knutsford ride and Swiftsure on cyclists and pedestrians

59. More Clarion CCs

60. The Scout and astonishment created at the Manchester Labour Demo.

61. A "testimonial" from John Trevor

62. More from the "Clarion Post Bag" 11 May 1895 Blatchford on The Scout

63. 11 May 1895 "Post-Bag" concluded - A Clarion call from Blatchford.

64. "The Philosophy of the Bicycle"

65. "The Philosophy of the Bicycle" concluded

66. An editorial response… and another Clarion CC is formed.

67. Swiftsure returns to the treatment of pedestrians - and other bits and pieces

68. Blatchford in 'sticking labels on things'

69. Some of the dangers of cycling - according to Swiftsure
1) overheating

70. Some of the dangers of cycling - according to Swiftsure
2) overtaking on the inside.

71. A Clarion CC for SW London?…

72. A report in the daily press inspires (?) some verse (??)

73. "Random Scrip on a Tandem Trip"

74. "Random Scrip on a Tandem Trip" continued

75. "Random Scrip on a Tandem Trip" concluded

76. Adverts for The Scout

The Glory Days of Sussex Track Cycling
by Brian Hutton

The old Brighton section
by Brian Hutton and Ken Wells

The old Brighton section as it appeared in the 1937 Clarion Handbook
from Michael Walker

The old Brighton section as it appeared in the 1936 Clarion Handbook
(from TJ)

'Robbed!' Brian's Isle of Wight tale

Golden Jubilee
A 19-page pamphlet published in 1962 to mark the half centenary of the 'Clarion House' in the Pendle Hill area of the Pennines just north of Burnley and Lancashire – a survivor from the Clarion cafés and hostels that were once dotted about.

Among the messages of support is one from Sydney Silverman, MP, while an ad from the Nelson and District Clothlookers and Warehouseman's Association ends 'On to the hundred'. This seems likely to be achieved. Still owned by the ILP Land Society the building was recently redecorated and still serves refreshments at weekends (Clarion tea – 40p a pint!). The national Secretary organised a ride to it in June 2004. The ILP ad urged all readers to 'give maximum support to the nurses in their wage claims' (Quite right too!).

Gustav Holst and the Clarion
Some brief notes on the composer's connection with the Clarion and his cycling activities.

National Clarion Cycling Club: 1962-63 handbook
Some extracts from the handbook discovered by Ed Furey, the first Chair of Brighton&Hove CC.

'Why Boots and Spurs'?
This is explains the origin of the Clarion greeting – and gives an account of how Ian Bullock stumbled on the Club having previously thought that it had died out years ago.

Clarion chairs
Acquisition by the Working Class Movement Library in Salford of 11 chairs originally from the Clarion Cafe Rooms in Manchester before the 1914 War. From Shelf Life, the Library's newsletter.

Walter Southgate and the Clarion

From Peter Roscoe, our National Treasurer

Some memories

How racing became part of Clarion activities

More Clarion material from Michael Walker of Unison

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? - IB]".

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

A piece on the London Clarion Club House Nazeing, Essex can be found at

Harry Pollitt

Liverpool Clarion March 1914 Club meet

Misc photographs

Clarion park benches

Thomas Leonard Woodhall

Walter Southgate

Women cyclists

Brighton Clarion Cycling & Athletic Club 1936

British Workers Sports Association 1946

1939 Southern Counties Secretaries

National Clarion Cycling Club National Committee 1951

With the Clarion Cycling Club In Paris & Brussels, June 1922

Extracts from Bolton Clarion magazine, 1937

Britain's Cumnock Rally

The National Clarion Cycling and Athletic Association 1950

Sheffield Clarion Ramblers

Clarion local recommendations

1939 rule book and London badge

Ernest Sugden

A short history of the Clarion Vocal Union

Clarion Club Houses 1924

Dodd's Socialist Holiday Camp

Cycle Workers' Union 1897

For more on the history of the Clarion see the national website or better still read Denis Pye's book which is an excellent account of the Cycling Club in the context of the wider Clarion movement.

If you're interested in the Clarion generally, Sussex University Library has quite a lot of relevant material including the Clarion newspaper on microfilm (up to 1914) and quite a few Clarion pamphlets such as Robert Blatchford's What is this Socialism (1908), P. J. King's Federation in a nutshell (1898) which relates to the well-intentioned but ill-fated attempt to found an ultra-democratic and anti-bureaucratic federation of trade unions (aka the 'Clarion Federation'), two of Alex Thompson's (Blatchford's partner on the Clarion, aka Dangle) pamphlets promoting 'direct democracy' – The referendum and initiative in practice (1899) and The only way to democracy (1900) and the well-known radical Labour MP, Fred Jowett's What's the Use of Parliament? (1909). The Library also has Robert Blatchford; Portrait of an Englishman by Laurence Thompson – son of Alex – as well as more than 30 books and other works by Blatchford ranging from his 'best selling' advocacy of socialism Merrie England, through some of his army stories (see 'Boots and Spurs') such as Tommy Atkins of the Ramchunders to his autobiography – which sadly has relatively little about the Clarion and his activities associated with it – My Eighty Years.

As far as I know, there are only three academic studies of the Clarion movement. They are:

Judith A Fincher 'The Clarion Movement; a Study of a Socialist Attempt to Implement the Co-operative Commonwealth in England, 1891-1914', University of Manchester, MA thesis, 1971.

L. J. W. Barrow 'The Socialism of Robert Blatchford and the "Clarion" Newspaper. 1889-1918', University of London, PhD thesis, 1975.


Chris Goode 'Clarion Cycling and Nascent Socialism'. Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University), BA thesis, 1990.

Chapters on 'Clarion democracy' and the 'rise and fall of the Clarion Federation' can be found in Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880- 1914, CUP, 1996.

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.

Clarion artwork website
From Donald Taylor: The Clarion Artwork website which I've set up is both
downloadable from and uploadable to, either by the web browser or by email, so that others may add pertinent artwork to it to it
Much of this concerns Walter Crane, who designed the Clarion logo. Worth Abbey, near Crawley, is the site of his 'Transport Frieze' in Lord Cowdray's Dining Room.

The Pilgrims 1910
Read the exploits of The Pilgrims cycling club and of their great enjoyment riding the country lanes on the outskirts of London, during the Edwardian 'Golden Age' just before the Great War.

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