The history of Beds Road CC
We are fiercely proud of our Club's history, approaching 100 years of promoting the great sport of Cycling.
The Club has remained popular by adapting readily to the changing needs and fashions of cyclists. A truly progressive club in the progressive county of Bedfordshire!
The idea of forming a cycling club for Bedfordshire was first discussed at a meeting held on 29 September 1923, at the Sun Temperence Hotel in Biggleswade. We have the handwritten minutes of this meeting, shown below...
A second meeting was held on 5th October 1923, whose minutes are recorded below. It was at this meeting that the club's name was agreed as being Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club:-
Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club was founded on Saturday, 20th October, 1923, at the Sun Hotel, Biggleswade, at a meeting following the inaugural club run from the Town Hall, Bedford. The twelve present, together with two others, are acknowledged as Founder Members, as follows:-
B. Greaves, W. Haylock, R. A. Marston, R. N. Wellham, F. L. Pacey, G. Deag, W. Murdoch, R. Shelton, H. K. Greaves, P. Wright, J. Aynesley, R. Cox, C. Lancaster and J. Elstow.
The first Annual General Meeting was held in the same venue on 20th October later that year, read the minutes of the first AGM
Here is one of the earliest membership forms I could find in the Club's archives. It dates from Feb. 1, 1924, and is for Member #17, William Alfred Ellis from Wootton Pillinge, now known as Stewartby.
Attached to the membership form, with a very rusty paper clip, was a covering letter dated March 21, 1924, regarding his enclosed payment of sixpence for a race, and apologising that he could not attend the next Club Run.
He seems to have been a talented racer, winning the Club's first race, see results below...
Results sheet of the club's first race
Letter head of the club in the 20's
The Club's HQ, the Silver Grill as it was then, is at 32 High Street, Bedford, the building on the left of Lloyds Bank, and is now the home to hi-fi NightClub.
Expanding steadily, the Club offered facilities for every type of cycling enthusiast. The popular runs programme arranged by the Club included frequent Youth Hostel fixtures, giving ample opportunities to enjoy club life and cycling at its best.
Fixtures list for 1924:
This was further strengthened by the issue of the Club’s own publication, the Bedfordshire Cyclist.
On the racing side, a complete Club events programme was arranged, with members competing for valuable trophies. “Open” events were organised too. The Club had the honour of promoting the first Ladies’ National Championship 25-mile time-trial, and inaugurated the present handsome Championship Trophy competed for in this annual event.
The Club’s own Headquarters — the “Memorial” Clubhouse opened on Sunday 3rd April 1949, by the President’s wife, Mrs W Haylock — was erected by members and dedicated to the memory of five Club mates who gave their lives in World War II.
I have started to research the members mentioned on the plaque, and have managed to find all but one of their original application forms, which contain poignant handwritten notes regarding their deaths in WW2.
Herbert Edward Jackson|
Mr Jackson lived at 8, Short Street, Bedford, and was born on 19 January, 1914.
He was the son of Charles Henry Jackson and Bessie Jackson, of Bedford
He joined Beds Road Cycling Club on 13th June, 1932 and was known as "Jovial Jacko".
He had served as Club Captain and held the Club's 30 mile record at 1h 18m 32s.
He was a driver, T/106983 in the Royal Army Service Corps
He was killed in action in Normandy, France, on 11 June 1940, aged 26, and is buried in grave D.50, Saint Valery en Caux, France.
Here is an excerpt from The Bedfordshire Cyclist, June 1941 edition...
Percy A. Barley|
Mr. Barley joined Beds Road Cycling Club on 4 November 1931, aged 18
He lived at 36, The Dells, Biggleswade.
He was not particularly fast in TTs, but regularly competed in Club events and was ever-present at club runs.
He was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery
He was killed in Dunkirk on May 20th, 1940, aged 26.
He is buried at the Dunkirk Memorial, column 7.
Gordon Walker Simco|
Mr Simco joined Bed Road Cycling Club on 13 June 1932 aged 15.
He lived at 25 Old Ford End Road, Bedford.
He was killed in action in October, 1943 in the Aegean Sea and is buried in Greece at Alimos, Phaleron War Cemetery.
On the night between 24 and 25 October, HMS Eclipse, while carrying part of 4th Battalion, Royal East Kents Buffs, along with HMS Petard, struck a mine and sank with the loss of 253 men. Battle of Leros.
Stanley Charles Bird|
Mr Bird joined Beds Road Cycling Club on 13th March 1932 aged 15
He lived at Duck End, Maulden, Beds.
He was a Gunner, 1141213, and was killed in Italy on 5 March, 1944, aged 27.
He is buried in Naples Commonwealth War Cemetry.
James Lindsey Watson|
Mr Watson joined Beds Road Cycling Club on 16 February, 1941
He lived at "The Beeches", Therfield, Royston, Herts.
I have not yet found details surrounding his death, though a note in the membership records states 'Deceased 1947'
Rest in Peace, fellow cyclists and thank you, more than words can express.
A memorial clubhouse was erected in memory of our fallen comrades.
Complete social and training facilities were arranged to suit members’ needs.
Interestingly, many of the challenges we meet today were present in the club almost a century ago. The minutes of committee meetings back then sound remarkably familiar! Not enough helpers at events, personality clashes at club runs, the challenges of coming up with ideas for social events etc.
Membership of the Club has always been open to males and females of all ages, and a warm welcome is given to keen cyclists interested in organised club riding.
Cath Donnelly an active BRCC Member during the 1940s, before she moved to California in 1946
We were delighted to hear from Cath and her daughter Judi in 2018, now living in Washington state, wishing the Club well!
The club welcomes all nationalities - Past and Present Members have come from the following:- UK, Eire, Spain, France, USA, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Guyana, Argentina, Poland, Italy, Zimbabwe and many other countries.