|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
7. The Trumpet Badge and Dangle's Parisian cycling activities
In an earlier instalment (No 2) I quoted the first mention of the Clarion badge. At the end of April 1894, Leonard Hall wrote of the Birmingham Clarion CC members 'who wear in their caps a natty gilt badge consisting of a miniature bugle with the legend "Clarion" in silver letters'. At the end of June there was a small ad offering them for sale at 1s 8d. (No 3) but this was not repeated each week so on 1st September 'Swiftsure' reported:
The following week (8 September) Swiftsure was responding to another letter.
That first report (No 1) from Tom Groom on the Birmingham Clarion CC had, you may recall, concluded with a plea for the Bounder (aka Edward Fay, the popular Clarion humourist, to become the Club's President. Now Swiftsure re-opened the question – again in the 1 September issue
[I mentioned Dangle (aka A M Thompson) in the first instalment of extracts from the Clarion back in February (No 1 on the website history page). Blatchford's Clarion partner Alex Thompson had long-term links with Paris. As a child he had lived there during the Paris Commune in 1871 and Jean Allemane commanded the barricade at the corner of the street where he lived. By the 1890s Allemane and the Parti Ouvrier Socialiste Révolutionnaire (popularly know as the Allemanists much to the disapproval of Allemane himself and other members of the party who – like the Clarion – were very 'anti-leaders') was a not insignificant factor in French politics. Thompson knew Allemane and recorded how on one visit the latter had expounded his views on direct democracy. Thompson took this up with great energy producing there pamphlets, Hail Referendum! The Surest Way to Democracy (1895) which quoted Allemane, The Referendum and Initiative in Practice (1899) and The Only Way to Democracy (1900). Support for 'direct legislation' became the hallmark of the Clarion's socialism. For more on this see Ian Bullock and Siân Reynolds 'Direct Legislation and Socialism: How British and French Socialists Viewed the Referendum in the 1890s.' in History Workshop Journal, Issue 24, Autumn 1987.]