The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
39. 'Unattached cyclists' and accommodation at the first Easter Meet
More from Swiftsure's column of 6 April 1895
I am asked by several whether unattached* Clarion cyclists are invited to the Ashbourne "meet" at Easter. I may say there isn't a doubt that all will be welcome who care to come, whether cyclists or not. "The more the merrier," say I.
I order that the Manchester section and others from the neighbouring towns of Oldham, Hyde, Bury, Rochdale, Bolton etc may journey together, will those who intend going on Good Friday, Saturday or Sunday please send a post-card to R. Dawson, 687, Rochdale Road, Manchester saying on which day they wish to go? They will then be informed of the time and place of meeting in Manchester.
I understand there will be no lack of accommodation in Ashbourne. If any other clubs which to send me short particulars of their intentions re. this meet I hope they will do so at once.
Re. Ashbourne meet, we find we can guarantee accommodation for about eighty cyclists. Will you kindly mention this fact in the Clarion, and also that preference will be given to those who apply first? We shall, of course, be only too pleased to assist those not included in the above, but cannot promise accommodation for more than that number.
F G Browne,
Secretary, Clarion CC, 52 Villa Road, Handsworth, Birmingham.
*This is the first time I've come across 'unattached cyclists' meaning ones who didn't yet belong to a Clarion CC. ... But 'unattached socialists' were an important part of the Clarion's constituency – or so it was thought. It referred to those not members of the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF) or the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Forgive me quoting myself – easier than composing it all again.
The Clarion began to advocate the merger of the SDF and ILP … in the summer of 1894.
Blatchford encourage reader to join both organisations, as he himself had done, so as to work for unity. But many remained resolutely 'unattached'. The two parties rivalry was frequently cited as an explanation for the reluctance of the 'unattached' to commit themselves to either. Most would be willing, it was urged, to join a united socialist grouping.
Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock, Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880-1914. 1996, p 83
Next time. The Bounder and Dangle discuss Ashbourne.