Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



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

28. The Manchester Clarion CC is formed

Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' began like this on 26 January 1895:

Hurrah for the Clarion Cycling Clubs! At last one of them has been formed in Manchester. In response to my invitations, twenty-five Clarionette 'pedal-pushers' came to the scratch and hey, presto! the 'Clarion C.C. Manchester District' is an accomplished fact.

This number will doubtless be more than doubled before the season commences; and if the enthusiasm manifested at the inaugural meeting goes for anything, the club will have a long and successful career, and no cycling Clarionette in the district should be outside it.

After the preliminary work of formation it was resolved by a majority of three to do without a president (Will the chief please note?)* The officers elected for the year were Secretary – Mr R Dawson, 697 Rochdale Road, Manchester, and Mr C Ellinger, 53 Palmerston Street, Moss Side, Manchester. Both are well-known amongst Clarionettes and are enthusiastic cyclists. Anyone wishing to join can do so by sending their name and address to the secretary.

A small committee was formed for the purpose of drawing up the necessary rules which will be submitted to another meeting to be held at the Labour Church Institute, Sunday, February 10th at 3 p m. Anyone wishful of joining them are invited

The subscription feee was fixed at 2s & 6d per annum. Ladies, free. The members are anxious to attract lady cyclists, and two or three have already joined. There are not many cycling clubs which include members of both sexes, and this way I hope the Clarion Cycling Clubs will make it an unique feature of their organisation.

It was also decided to adopt the Clarion badge made by one of our Birmingham friends, and mentioned in the Clarion some time back. Perhaps the maker wouldn't mind giving the secretary of the new club some information on the point and also send a drawing of the design along with the price.

So that is all for the present about the Clarion C.C Manchester District.

I am now waiting to see which will be the next town to organise one. What say my cycling readers in Halifax, Burnley, Leeds, Hyde, Stalybridge, Bolton, Rochdale, etc, etc?

Surely, there must be enough unattached ** cyclists in some of those towns to start a club? My opinion is no cyclist should be outside a club, because the benefits can be made very real in it is only worked on up-to- date lines

* A few weeks before, in November 1894 Blatchford (= 'the chief') had, in response to readers' queries on how he thought the ILP should be run, said that such posts as president and vice-president should have no place in a democratic organisation. This began what Keir Hardie, president of the ILP until 1896 when the title was changed to chairman, described in Labour Leader his rival paper to the Clarion, as 'a sort of craze' for dispensing with such offices.

** Swiftsure means cyclists not belonging to a cycling club of course. This is interesting in that a little later in the 1890s the Clarion made much of the supposedly large number of 'unattached socialists' who were put off from joining either the SDF or the ILP because of the rivalry between the two organisations. Blatchford advocated joining both and working for unity.

For more on both these see Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880- 1914.

More next time.

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