The Midland Bicycle Meet (1881)

The Midland Bicycle Meet

The fifth annual Midland Bicycle Meet took place yesterday at Leamington and was quite as successful as any of those of previous years. The following is a list of the clubs, descriptions of the uniforms and the names of the captains: – Leamington and South Warwickshire, blue and fawn, W Tattersfield; Coventry, brown, H Sturmey; Bradford, brown, W H Smith; Banbury, green, T R Brummitt; Peterborough, grey, A Gardener; Northamptonshire, olive green, A E Daniel; Redditch and district, dark green, F H Warner; Western Ramblers (Malvern), dark blue, F Felton; Cardiff, chocolate tweed, M Hutching; West Kent, dark blue, W A Oram; Canonbury (London), C P Harman; Hereford, blue, A Townsend; Eastbourne, dark blue, L Adams; Stratford, dark blue, E Birch; Bradford Atlanta, indigo blue, A C Durant; Wrekin Rangers, blue, C Groom; Derby, chocolate, E Higginbottom; Hildare, navy blue, W H Pook; Wolverhampton, claret, F L Hodges; North Bucks, blue, J P Pater; Ormskirk, dark blue, C E Hughs; Leeds Crescent, dark brown, J F Bradford; Metropolitan, dark blue, W Sargeant; North Warwickshire, brown, C A N Milner; Alcester, dark blue, J R Wright; Erdington, brown, W L King; Evesham, dark blue, J P Alcock; City of London, drab, E Ivens; Northampton, Victoria, navy blue and gold, H J Adkins; Ashton-under-Lyne, grey, H L Holland; Liverpool Wanderers, green velvet, W Morgan; Byfield; navy blue, F G K Smallbones; Tamworth Victoria, navy blue, W Addison; North Gloucestershire, check cheviot, J H Holding; Warwick Excelsior, navy blue, C P Perry; Wulfinna, Wolverhampton, chocolate, W J Jenks; Shropshire, brown, W S Owen; East Worcestershire, tortoise, Coventry, E Elson; Solihull, dark blue, G Martineau; Abingdon Towning Club, dark green, T W Holding; unattached and tricycles. The number was upwards of 300 and when the procession filed down the Parade the sides of the streets, the balconies and the windows were filled with spectators. The sight was very pretty. Some of the uniforms were specially attractive notably the green velvet of the Liverpool Wanderers and the navy blue-and-gold of the Northampton Victoria, but the former appeared rather too showy for general service. The show of bicycles comprised many of the most valuable makes by the leading manufacturers and the tricycles were particularly noticeable on account of the variety displayed, which included the latest improvements. The procession set out from the lower end of the Holy Walk, at twelve o’clock and proceeded along the old road to Warwick, returning to Leamington by the new road. In the afternoon the bicyclists and their friends had luncheon in a tent in the Jephson’s Gardens; Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Bart, MP, in the chair. The loyal toasts were proposed from the chair. Mr W B Tanner, the secretary of the West Kent Club, proposed “Success to the Midland Meet of bicyclists.” He spoke of the success which had attended these gatherings for many years past and said he preferred friendly gatherings of this kind to those formal sports where the proceedings were limited to the competitors for prizes. He also referred to the valuable services which Mr J A Locke had always rendered in connection with these meetings – (applause) – and coupled his name with the toast. Mr Locke, who was very cordially received, responded in humorous terms. Several other toasts were given. – Before the company separated the health of the chairman was proposed by Mr T E Spencer and drunk with three times three cheers. – In responding to the toast, Sir John Eardley Wilmot said it had given him much pleasure to preside on that occasion. Although not a member of a bicycle club, he was connected with several cricket clubs and had always taken a deep interest in sports of this character. He thought that in coming years it would be well to have in Leamington an annual race – a sort of Derby race – open to all the bicycle clubs throughout the kingdom. (Cheers.) That would be the means of bringing together the best bicyclists in the country and attracting a much larger attendance that they had yet seen. As an illustration of the utility of the movement, he mentioned that the Government had now under consideration the question of supplying tricycles to the postmen in the rural districts, so as to insure the more speedy conveyance of letters and parcels – (hear, hear) – and save the legs of the unfortunate postmen. Reference had been made to Ireland and he might mention that one of the reasons, if not the principal reason, for his having sought to enter Parliament, was a desire to be in some way the means of assisting to place Ireland on the same footing as the rest of the United Kingdom. That, as they new, could not be done simply by coercion. It was our duty, as we had not done justice to Ireland in former times and seeing the privations and sufferings of that country, to hold out to Ireland the right hand of fellowship and to endeavour to secure for her the same degree of prosperity as we enjoyed. (A voice: “Pass the Land Bill then.”) He hoped to see that accomplished, and, as far as lay in his powers, he should do his best to get justice done for Ireland. (Cheers.) The bugle offered to the club which assembled in the greatest strength, resulted in a tie between Leamington and Stratford, the numbers being 25 in each. As it was impossible to decide the tie by any known method, the Leamington club abandoned their claim in favour of Stratford. A handsome vase, won in the autumn by Mr Wincote, the secretary of the Leamington club, was handed to him by the Chairman, amid the cheers of the company. A ring was also presented to Mr Cunnew, for his services as secretary last year. The proceedings closed with a fete in the garden, which was largely patronised.

Birmingham Daily Post, June 7, 1881

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