Sunday, September 16, 2007

The National Clarion Cycling & Athletic Club was established in 1894, as an off shoot of the famous "Clarion" newspaper.

The Cycling Section was quick to harness the new craze for cycling in Britain, not only to encourage a leisure amongst the working classes but also to spread Socialist
propaganda into rural areas.

In the mid 1930's the Clarion grew rapidly (1934-1,600; 1935-1,200) to about 10,000 members with branches in many towns. However the start of the Second World War (as did the WW1) stifled its growth.

The National Clarion Cycling & Athletic Club still functions today with branches from Bolton to Brighton

West London Clarion Cycling Clubs 1937

Southall Clarion Cycling Club:
Secretary: S.Davies, 24, Beresford Road, Southall

(Southall Clarion Fellowship and Cycling Scouts dates from around 1907, but I believe the Southall Clarion Cycling section was revivied around 1936)

Harrow Clarion Cycling Club:
Chairman: H. Lye 75 Conway Crescent, Perivale
Secretrary: H.L. Nicholson "Hazelemere" 50 Bishop Ken Road, Harrow Weald
Captain: F. Hanlon
Vice Captain: A.J. Pringle
Racing Secretray: A.J. Pringle
London Union Rep: H. Lye 75 Conway Crescent, Perivale

North West London Cycling Club:
Chairman: H.W. Meude
Secretary Jim Mann 1, Raeburn Road, Edgware
Captain F. Lenton

Vice Captain: C. Wood
Racing Sec: F.H. Mettam 22 Vicarage Walk N10
London Union Rep: C. Wood and F. Parnell

Hendon Clarion Cycling Club:

Chairman S. Keats
Secretary: E. Keats 20 Blundell Road, Burnt Oak Edgware
Captain Chris Smith
Lady Captain: Miss R. Rainbow
Press Sec: Vic C Botterill
London Reps: E. Keats and W. Richardson

other branches in London

CITY & EAST LONDON: W. Shead, 11, White Lion Street, London, E.1.
CLAPHAM: Miss J. Court, 8 Croxden Walk, St Helier Avenue, Morden
DAGENHAM & ROMFORD: Alfred .S. Haddock, 60 Connor Road, Dagenham, Essex.
DEPTFORD & WOOLWICH: Fred Cooper, 97 Revelon Road, SE4
EAST HAM: H.W. Eades, 14, Thackeray Road, East Ham, London, E.6.
EAST LEWISHAM: Leonard Waller 1 Drysdale Road, Lewisham, SE13
FULHAM: C.Wooley, 85 Rylston Road, SW6
HACKNEY TRANSPORT: G: Temple, 141, Wells Street London, E 8.
HARROW: H.L. Nicholson "Hazelemere", 50 Bishop Ken Rd, Harrow Weald
HENDON: E. Keats 20 Blundell Road, Burnt Oak, Edgware
: C. Jaquest, 5, Bomore Rd., Kensmgton, London,W.11.
LEYTON: E. G. Kilbey, 49, Lincoln Street, E.11.
LONDON EASTERN: R. Cherney, 168, Hackney Road, E2
NORTH LONDON: Tom Wilkins, 86, Crondall Street, London, N.1.

NORTH-EAST LONDON: A. J. Straker, 268, Dalston Lane, London, E.8.
NORTH-WEST LONDON: Jim Mann 1, Raeburn Road, Edgware
PADDINGTON: H.C. Hotchkin, 102, Clarendon Street, Paddington W.2
PECKHAM & DIST: W. H. Childs, 68, Darwin St., Walworth, London, S.E.17.
RICHMOND AND DIST: A. Spackman, 47, Crane Avenue, Isleworth, Middlesex.
SOUTH-WEST LONDON: A. Johnson, 83, Hillbrook Road, London, S.W.17.
SOUTHALL: S. Davies, 24 Beresford Road, Southall, Middlesex
TOTTENHAM: H.J. Bone 43 Rangemoor Road, Tottenham N15
WOOLWICH: A. D. Bull, 21, Roberts Road, Belvedere, Kent.

President "Pa" G Bennett (North London Cycling Club)

Chairman: W. Cooper

Secretary: G.J. Jackson,
66 Leyden Mansions, Wartersville Rd, N19 (North London Cycling Club)

Boots Editor: F. Miller, 43 Maury Road, N16

National Rep: G. J. Jackson
Exec Committee: W.G. Cooper, G.J.Jackson, A.West, R.G.Webb, and W.Shead
London Union affiliation fees: 3d per member per year
Official Journal: Boots 1d circulation 500


National Secretary: Ernest Sugden, 15, West View, Hopwood Lane, Yorkshire
National President: Tom Groom

Clarion Rituals

caller......BOOTS! reply........SPURS!


Boots and spurs is often heard on the highways. It is understood by many members. To the new members, or those who have not been enlightened, this brief explanation will be of interest. When " Nunquam " (Robert Blatchford Editor of the Clarion) wrote his book on his army life, he first published it in the Clarion, the paper from which our club and many other -organisations, took their names.

When the " Tommies " had retired to bed, and " lights out " had been sounded in the barracks some one would call on a pal to " spin a cuffer," to use the army slang for a story. It was impossible, in the darkness, to note the interest of each individual listener, and it was agreed that the teller of the cuffer would pause at intervals and call " Boots." All
were expected to answer Spurs and the one who had allowed himself to be lulled to sleep with the story would
get a sudden awakening by feeling a pillow, or perhaps something much harder, meeting with his head. These yarns interested the cycling club members and at that time every member was a reader of the Clarion.

The first Annual Easter Meet was held at Ashbourne, in 1895. Members from different districts were strangers to each other. Whilst it was still daylight it was easy to recognise the club badge, and thus know that another member had turned up for the first Meet. The trouble came at nightfall.

Those who had arrived were lounging about the village and on the roads leading into Ashbourne. It was quite easy to see when a light was approaching, but it was not possible to know whether the rider was wearing the club badge or not. One brainy member of the club put on his " studying cap, then came forth with the suggestion that if these cyclists were Clarion members they were also Clarion readers.

If they read the Clarion, then they would read " Nunquam's " army articles. Therefore, if they called out Boots, they
would understand that this was from some other Clarion reader and member and they would answer " Spurs." This worked so well that ever since 1895 this has been recognised as our members' password. Members from the south who are touring in the north, or vice versa, on seeing a cyclist wearing the club badge will call out " Boots." No further introduction is necessary.

The other answers " Spurs," and these two will find much in common to discuss. The one who knows the district will be of great service to the one who is touring Older members of the club can tell of many strange places where they have met members, and how such meeting has proved of great value, simply through the simple introduction of our club call.

Remember this, and when next you hear a Comrade call Boots, don't look at him as though he was calling you something unpleasant, answer " Spurs," and stop if you have time. He is a comrade of the same club, enjoying the best of all pastimes, and you will find the spirit of comradeship "Always remember that the wearing of. the club badge is important because it is the same badge as is worn by members all over the country. It has a much greater meaning than the local club badges, which are known only to the few cyclists who live in the immediate district. Our badge, and our club, are both worthy of the greatest honour we can show, and that is to wear the club badge on all your cycling tours and short runs.