A THIN, wiry frame, ever on the alert, ever wakeful, ever
watchful, and with all the smartness of the Londoner added to the
practical hardheadedness of the Yorkshireman, and within the whole
a warm and sympathetic heart - that was Ernest Hickson.
Born at Highgate, London, on the 3rd October, 1857, the third son of
James Hickson and Wilhelmina Thusnelda Adelheid Hickson, née von Einem,
where now stands
the main entrance to Waterlow Park, nothing gave Ernest greater
amusement than the manner in which unwary London journals sometimes
alluded to him as "a Yorkshireman", obviously unaware of the fact that
he was born and bred so near the heart of Cockaigne.
He was educated first at a private school in Northampton (where
his father was a partner in the boots and shoe making firm of William
Hickson and Sons, one of the oldest and largest boot and shoe factories in the town).
At the age of 15 he went to Hanover (where his grandmother was born), and where he spent over three
years, attending first the Realschule - the public high school
corresponding to our "modern side" - and then the
he studied chemistry (under Professors Heeren and Kraut), and
Leaving Hanover in 1875 he spent the next few months in Highgate, working
at the family firm in Smithfield.
Then he went to Paris to acquire French and
started his business career in the office of a firm of merchants who
exported articles from Paris to England and elsewhere.
After 18 months, in 1877, he returned to London and after a short time
spent partly at his father's boot and shoe manufacturing warehouse in
Smithfield, London, and partly in a tea-broker's office, he began his
long connection with the chemical industry as foreign correspondent of Brooke, Simpson and Spiller,
then the foremost colour manufacturers in the world (and the successor company to William H Perkin's
dye manufacturing firm) , the first firm to make aniline dyes on a large scale
in England, and at that time occupying a unique position in that
industry throughout the world.
Thus became connected with the colour industry when even the oldest of the great German firms
was still in its infancy.
In this capacity he made two long trips through Europe to
nearly all the countries in which the textile industry at that time
flourished. Ernest's interest in chemistry induced him to attempt to
obtain technical experience of dyeing and dyestuffs. No facilities
were available at the firm's offices at 50, Old Broad Street, and the
factory at Hackney Wick was then not very accessible, being five or six miles away.
However, he managed to secure a portion of a small office where
gas was available, but all the water necessary had to be carried in and
out of the room. Under these trying conditions he succeeded in dyeing a
full range of the firm's colours on wool, silk, and cotton in the
intervals of his duties as foreign correspondent.
Those patterns preceded the elaborate pattern cards later issued
by colour manufacturers,
accomplishments led to his accompanying a member of the firm through
Europe, on a tour of their agencies.
In June 1881 his Uncle William, the Chairman and Managing Director of the
family Boot and Shoe business,
made him an offer of the Management of a new factory in Northampton.
It must have been a difficult decision to make, whether to stay on as a salesman in an industry he loved
or to join the family business where he had spent many weeks in an administration capacity.
A fortnight later he replied to his Uncle that he
could not make up his mind to accept the offer.
During 1881 and 1882 he travelled in the
industrial districts of Western and Central Europe, as a travelling salesman for the firm,
visiting also Barcelona, in addition to Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the West of England.
Whilst on a trip to Yorkshire in 1883 he was asked by the firm to stop there as their
That year (1883) the firm opened a branch office in Bradford and Ernest was put in charge.
During his agency it fell to his lot to introduce Primuline to the dyeing world.
He lived in Yorkshire for the rest of his life.
The firm of Brooke, Simpson and Spiller was converted into
a limited company in 1885 and Ernest was given the first vacancy on
the board of directors. A little later, about the year 1890, the
company was on the down grade. They passed the dividend for several
years running and in 1893 Ernest persuaded the Board to agree to
certain modifications, notably to take in some outside shareholders
for consultation. During Ernest's absence for a few days this
resolution was cancelled and in consequence he severed his connection
with the company.
Ernest was associated with Monsieur R. Vidal, the pioneer in
the evolution of sulphur black, when M. Vidal came to London in 1890
to form the Vidal Fixed Aniline Syndicate. Ernest was keenly
interested in all developments in that very important series of
In 1893 he commenced business on his own account as a drysalter
and dye merchant and from 1898 acted as agent to the Vidal Fixed Aniline
Syndicate afterwards Vidal Dyes Ltd, being the first to introduce to the market both
commercial lactic acid and English made Vidal Black. Later he assisted in the formation of
the firm of Rexoll, Ltd., at Shipley, Yorkshire, for the manufacture of
sulphur black and became managing director of the company,
but after these works had been burnt out twice
he removed the sulphur black manufactory to
Wakefield where he had taken over the copperas works, a 100 years'
old Cheld Lane Calico Works and was making a special 100s Tw. nitrate
In 1914, at the instigation of the Director of Contracts of H.M.War Office,
the manufacture of TNT
was undertaken, and as the Wakefield works were not large enough,
Ernest formed the firm of Hickson and Partners, Ltd., and a large
works was erected at Castleford. Of this company he became managing
director and subsequently chairman.
Ernest was also closely connected with the Society of Dyers
and Colourists being present at the inaugural meeting in 1884.
He was President of the Society in 1925-26.
Immediately after the first World War, along with 13 other gentlemen, Ernest was invited to become
a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Dyers. It is interesting to note that amongst these other 13
was his cousin, George (later Sir George) Garnett, J.P. and less than 2 months later, Samuel Courtauld,
who became Chairman of the Courtauld family business from 1921 to 1946. My father worked for Courtaulds
as Works Manager in Wales before joining Hickson & Welch.
During the war, Ernest assisted in the formation of the
Yorkshire Chemical Manufacturers' Association, of which he acted as honorary secretary,
and then honorary Chairman.
Later this became the Chemical Employers' Federation
and he became Vice-chairman of the National Executive. On his
resignation of that office he was presented with a solid silver tray by
the Executive and a grandfather clock by the Yorkshire branch which is now
in my possession (APH)
On the termination of the war the works were converted into a model factory
for the rectification of benzol and for the manufacture of sulphuric acid and
a large number of amido, nitro and chloro-amido dyestuff
intermediates. In addition to these, sulphur blacks and magentas were
products for which the firm was noted. The company, and its successor,
Hickson & Welch Ltd, carried on the manufacture of dyes and
William Hickson and Sons
The William Hickson Boot and Shoe Company had premises at Smithfield and also in Northampton
All through his life Ernest was a keen sportsman and took
a particularly active part in the organisation of the
National Cyclist's Union
of which he was a vice-president - in that connection he
was more particularly noted for the active part he took in the
Harrogate Camp, an event that brought cyclists from all parts of the
Queen of Watering places every August Bank Holiday for some 20 years
up to 1902. He was president in 1901.
As a pioneer of the sport he was
elected the first provincial President of the Fellowship of Old Time
Cyclists in 1921.
His introduction to the wheel, however, occurred in neither
London nor Yorkshire, but in the home of "the wee, wee German
lairdie", Hanover, where the family had removed for a time during the
rebuilding of the parental roof in 1869. There, on a fearful and
awful monstrosity (as we should judge it in these days), a convertible
bi-tri boneshaker, he was initiated in the mysteries of the wheel,
and later, when at school at Northampton, he had at least one
"thrilling experience" of the boneshaker, which had disastrous
consequences to himself and a schoolfellow cyclist. Again in Hanover,
in 1872-5, for the completion of his education, he continued his
wheeling; but it was in 1877, after he had returned to London, that
he fairly succumbed to the fever of the cycle. There, in the
neighbourhood of Wrotham, on a Singer, with trailing brake - and a
good brake, too, as brakes went then - he fairly mastered the
peculiarities of the
G.O.O. (Good Old Ordinary), and following on that with a Coventry
Machinists' "Club", he stuck to the high machine long after most
others had forsaken the old love for the new.
In 1883 he removed from London to Bradford, and soon after began
his work for his cycling brethren. Joining the old Bradford C.C. in
1884, was elected the honorary secretary, and in 1885 the Harrogate
Camp Committee placed him in a similar position to the great meet of
the year. There he worked through a code of rules of which he,
deservedly, spoke with pride, and in 1886 and again in 1888 he was
re-elected hon secretary. His occupancy of the post was marked by an
infusion of new life into the meet, and it might almost be said that
"Harrogate" owed more to Ernest Hickson than any other single man.
That he was proud of the connection all campers knew, for he was
seen, every year, with one more "camp button" displayed at the
tail-end of an unbroken series.
His connection with the
was very close for many years,
ever since 1888, when, as a representative of the Bradford C.C. on
the West Riding centre, he noticed Mr. F.W. Brock's skeleton scheme
for the liberation of the provinces from the thraldom of London.
Ernest at once entered into communication with Mr. Brock, and began
the agitation for provincial freedom. Through the whole of that
fierce struggle he showed the highest qualities of leadership, from
the time of the Birmingham conference, through the period when he
stood forth as the selected champion of the united provinces, until,
at last, the victory was won, and the rule of the London "Executive"
was ended. From that day the Union has never "looked behind", as the
saying goes, and from being a mere London body, with branch offices
in the country, it has become as truly "national" as a body wherein
such varying opinions occur is likely to become.
A few years later he was again in prominence. As with Mr. T.W.
Grace, the chief opponent of the licensing scheme, Ernest's position
was clear. He had a very strong dislike of the subsidised amateur.
During the time he was in London to attend the Council meeting, with
the express purpose of defeating the licensing scheme if it could be
done, he was a guest at Dr. Turner's at 9, Sussex Gardens; but he
held that the then existing rules of the Union were amply sufficient
for the purpose of the extinguishing the veiled professional if his
extinguishment was desired, and that the introduction of a mass of
complicated machinery would not only do none of the good that was
intended, but would make the conduct of sports more difficult, and
cause endless and needless worry and annoyance to all concerned. How
far his views have been correct, history has shown.
In later years he devoted his attention more to the pastime
than the sport, and many hard things were said of him because of his
opposition to the road-racer. Against road-racing itself he had
nothing to say, but, with the foresight which had always been
a distinguishing feature of his character, he saw what was coming -
police intervention - and he wished the
to take the thing in
hand ere it was too late. In his opinion the hand of the Union would
have been greatly strengthened in its dealings with "the powers that
be" had it been able to point to the aid it had given in the
suppression of this class of law-breakers. Later he worked
energetically for the cause of "universal lights" in the West Riding,
and once led a deputation to the Highways Committee of the County
Council, presented a petition carrying 2,500 signatures, and met with
such success that the committee decided to propose the adoption of a
"Universal Lights" bye-law by the Council!
In a lengthy career he had a full share of accidents, only two
of which, however, were serious. Once, on Hadley Common, outside
Barnet, he was badly stunned, one side of his face was deprived of its
skin, and he suffered from a severe concussion. His second adventure
occurred near Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire, when a sprained elbow and
wrist was the result.
A busy man, full of life and energy, he was one of a class who did
much to raise cycling to its high estate, and it was the
very presence of such disinterested enthusiasts, who sacrificed valuable
time and money to the sport and the pastime, that lent the highest tone
to the noblest pastime England has ever seen.
Later he turned to croquet, and was a frequent entrant at
tournaments in the North of England.
He was prominent in many cycling clubs: Bradford CC of which he was hon sec in 1885 and captain in 1886;
Wharfedale CC; C.T.C.; Rob Roy BC of which he was hon sec 1880-1883 and
the hon sec of the North of England Cyclists' Meet and Camp (Harrogate Camp)
1885, 1886 and 1888 - the only man to have occupied that post more than once.
His other interests included Chess and Lawn Tennis.
He was hon sec of the Wheatley Lawn Tennis Club, member of Park Lane Tennis Club, Bradford Chess Club,
Union Club and Bradford Liberal Club.
In 1889, Ernest married Mary Grandage, eldest daughter of Mr. Abram
Grandage, of William Grandage and Sons, the well-known dyers, and first
Vice-chairman of the Bradford Dyers' Association, Ltd., by whom he has a
son and two daughters, Bernard, Frieda and Ruth.
Only five years later, during the terrific storm in December 1894, on the Saturday before Christmas,
a heavy stone chimney at his residence at Manningham, Bradford was blown inwards,
carrying all the upper floors down into the basement, and his young wife
A nurse and his three little children
were almost miraculously saved, and sometimes he could be seen round
about his home, where traffic was not, with one or other snugly
ensconced in a Dan Albone's carrier, (bicycle carrier) so that their acquaintance with
the wheel was, indeed, "from the earliest period".
In 1900 he married Miss Mary Evaline Bergh, daughter of Henry Bergh of
London, and formerly of Caramujo (Portugal) by whom he has a son and two daughters,
Hal, Nancy and Jessie Anne.
His elder son, Bernard,
one of Professor Green's most successful students, suceeded him as
managing director of Hickson & Partners, Ltd.
Mr Ernest Hickson who, until his retirement recently, was a director of Hickson and Partners, Ltd.,
of Castleford, collapsed and died while playing croquet at Bedford, on Tuesday night.
He had lived in Bedford only five weeks, and was aged 72. The explosion at the works of the firm,
after he left, is thought to have affected his health. No inquest will be necessary.
His death on 29th July 1930 is better explained by letters written at the time
Hickson & Partners Limited
THE Hickson and Partners Ltd. Chemical Works in Ings Lane,
Castleford, were erected in 1915-16 at the instigation of the Director
of Contracts of H.M. War Office for the purpose of manufacturing
The founder of the Company, Mr. Ernest Hickson, of 38 Well
Street, Bradford, had previously owned chemical works at Wakefield, but
these were not adequate for the output required, and a new site was
found on the banks of the River Aire just below its junction with the
Calder, giving a frontage for quays of some 650 feet and offering
facilities for splendid railways sidings direct on to the London and
North Eastern Railway from its Castleford Station.
The site had been used for some years mainly as a cricket field
and partly as allotments, so that building operations were
able to be commenced without delay.
The first sod was cut on 22nd January 1915 and building was pushed
on with such speed that a first delivery of finished T.N.T was made on
the 13th July of that year.
The founder of the Company, Ernest, had been intimately connected with the
Aniline Colour Trade since the earliest days, being with the first large
makers of Aniline Dyes in the world, Messrs. Brooke, Simpson and
Spiller Ltd., of Hackney Wick, London, since 1877, and the new works was
so designed at its inception that it could be eventually converted into
a self-contained unit for Dyes, and only dependent on other sources for crude
basic raw materials, such as Sulphur, Crude Benzol etc.
For this purpose, after it had been found impossible during the
circumstances prevailing in 1915 to rush up an Oleum plant quickly, a
large Sulphuric Acid chamber plant - believed to be the largest unit of
its kind in the United Kingdom - was erected to a modified Belgian
design. Sulphuric Acid was, of course, one of the most important raw
materials used in the works, and being able to make this on site, and
pipe it to the various departments using large quantities, placed the
Company on an exceptionally strong economic basis.
A large plant for Nitric Acid was added and another for the
rectification by fractional distillation of Coke Oven Benzol. By this
means all the essential raw materials required at that time were
produced in the works.
When the Great War ended, the plant was gradually turned over for
the manufacture of Intermediates, chiefly Nitro and Amido derivatives of
Benzene, Toluene and Xylene and the further working up of some of these
products into more complicated compounds, and some finally into Dyes.
A great speciality had been made of Nitrobenzene (Oil of Mirbane),
Aniline, Ortho- and Para-Toluidine and among dyestuffs Sulphur Blacks,
with the sale and manufacture of which Ernest had had a long
experience, and MAGENTA and ROSANILINE BASE for the production of
SOLUBLE and ALKALI BLUES.
From the commencement of actual manufacture the founder's son, Mr.
Bernard Hickson, M.Sc. of Tinctorial Chemistry, a former pupil of
Professor Green at Leeds University, joined the Company, and the
developments of the present works took place largely under his
supervision. He had the advantage of inspecting practically all the
large nitrating factories carried on during the war, even of working in
some, and as a member of the Mission appointed by the Department of
Overseas Trade which was sent to Germany in July 1919, had a unique
opportunity of studying the organisation, lay-out and working of the
plant of foreign colour works.
In 1920 the Board of the Company was joined by Mr. Alph. Sharp,
C.B.E., late Superintendent of H.M. Factory, Greetland, Halifax, whose
long and expert experience in chemical manufacture was of the
utmost value to the Company.
The policy of the firm was to specialise on comparatively few
products, all of which were made in the works from crude raw materials,
and not to be dependent on other makers for Intermediates; also to
make these of the utmost purity obtainable in commerce under the
supervision of a highly trained scientific staff.
Society of Dyers and Colourists
adapted from the Journal of the Society, 1926
Ernest, who was well known and much respected by a large
number of members of the Society, had been an active worker in and for
the Society ever since its inception. He attended its inaugural meeting
held at the Bradford Technical College in May 1884, was elected a member
of the first Council, and served continuously on that body for 45 years.
He was also appointed the first Chairman of the
Publication Committee, a position which he held with one short interval
for nearly forty years; in fact, until he was elected President of the
Society in 1925.
It was due to his initiative that the Society undertook
the monumental Colour Index. When it was published, he was presented
with a special copy (now in my possession - APH) and an illuminated
acknowledgment of the fact that the publication of the work was due to
his original conception and an enthusiasm which overcame all
difficulties. For distinguished services to the Society he was in
1927 awarded the Gold Medal and was made a life member. He was
chairman of the Dyes and Explosives Section of the
Association of British Chemical Manufacturers
and the Board of Trade appointed him a
member of the Dyestuffs Advisory Committee, under the Dyestuffs Import
In recognition of his services to the Society he was
the first of a number of prominent men connected with the dyeing
industry to be invited to join the Livery of the Worshipful Company of
Dyers of the City of London.
The Society was closely associated with the Bradford
Technical College ever since the inaugural meeting was held there in
1884. Prior to that Ernest had been present at the opening of the
College in 1882, on which occasion his uncle, Sir Sydney Waterlow,
represented the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers of the City of
One of the happiest features of British public life is the great
volume of honorary work done quietly by busy business men. This is of
inestimable value to the nation, and the Society of Dyers and Colourists
has been peculiarly fortunate in this respect, and has always been able
to rely on the advice and active services of leaders in the industry.
And to none of these is it in greater debt than to Mr. Ernest Hickson.
By a "CAMP BABY"
WHAT an old-world sound "Harrogate Camp" has, to be sure! One's
thoughts instantly fly back a decade or so, when the campers rode to the
"meet" on their good old ordinaries, and felt themselves the pioneers of
a movement which even the most sanguine of them scarcely expected would
become universal. Then, the campers "roughed it" somewhat, but the
present-day occupants of the tents lead the life of sybarites, with all
the luxuries and few restrictions.
Some few of the old campers foregathered on the Friday night, but
the majority came on the Saturday, and by the evening some hundred of
them were safely ensconced in the fifty or so tents reserved for them,
and it was a busy scene of hand-shaking and grateful greetings any time
up to "the wee sma''oors," what time the cheerful "Teddy" Hollands kept
the ball rolling by his clever witticisms. And what a good crowd of
boys they were, too! First, Ernest Hickson, one of the most energetic,
kindly, and capable of men, whose classic brow was somewhat wrinkled by
dull care, for, let me tell you, the president of such a camp has a
large amount of work to get through, and he must be tactful to the last
degree. Hickson was "on the ball" from early morn to dewy eve, and
every camper will remember his kindness as long as he has memories of
the camp of 1901. Of course, George Lacy Hillier brought his London
party, and what a camp would be like without the old champion, goodness
only knows! Personally, we cannot imagine such an one. A real good
man is Hillier, with a kindly word for the "camp baby" (i.e, the man who
is a first-year camper), and a fund of reminiscences not to be equalled,
whilst as a singer or an elocutionist he is pleasant to hear, and,
above all, to see. With him were "Boots" Green, E.H. Godbold, F.
Clark (who won the camp championship), Teddy Hollands, M.P Slattery, and
a few other pleasant fellows not so well known. Birmingham sent a good
muster under the evergreen "Johnny" Price, which included R.D.F. Paul
(whose "Voice Production" was the pièce-de-résistance of the concerts
held), Frank Lanchester, C.A. Hyde, J. A. Oldbury, C. Vernon Pugh,
W. Biddle, W.H. Bardsley, H. Williams, the brothers Ehrhardt, J.P.
Haywood, Leonard Swain, T.H Woollen, etc., etc.
The greatest party, in every sense of the word, was the Irish
crowd who nestled 'neath the shade of "Donnybrook Castle", and under the
leadership of the inimitable "Jimmy" Percy, were the source and
inspiration of genuine fun from the time of their arrival until their
departure. Percy, the acme of good-nature, whose very smile beams
benevolence, brought his brother Andy; Alexander, the Scottish-Belfast
wonder, who, clad in his Post-office red coat and cap, made fun every
minute of the time until Tuesday night, when, limp and voiceless, he
slid off quietly; Mick Manning, the eloquent giant, Past and Present
Grand Master of the Ancient Order of Golden Boatmen, whose shibboleth
is, "Take a small boat for an hour"; and Coffee the Great, who has a
fine voice and a cultured style of singing, and whose humour was
inexhaustible. Originally intended for a doctor, he found the work too
awfully sanguinary, or "too sanguinary awful," and drifted into the law,
where, as a budding solicitor, he finds the inspiration for his jokes.
His "San Toy" song was in great request, and he has a grand voice, which
even the camp tea and soda-water could not utterly spoil. Then there was
the original and only Tracey, and shure he was a wondher, too!
Dancing - and Tracey is an artist on the dance - singing with unction and
gesture too funny for words, and generally acting the giddy goat in a
style which was irresistible, he bore his honours modestly and gave
value for applause. Good old Joe Keogh and his "Phil the Fluter's Ball"
were very popular, and the complement of quite thirty sons of the Ould
Sod were made up of good men and true; men who loyally upheld each
other and led the cheering in fine style, whilst they were not behind in
leading the way in other directions, and their "tea-parties" were an
Other camps were "The Tees-side", with the genial McAdam boys, J.
H. Cocker, and others of the Old Brigade; the "Us fra Bradford", and
private tents. Treasurer Myers, the cheerful, ruddy Northerner, ever
bright and alert, did the thing well, and was joyful in the possession
of such a good man as R.H Jessop, the banjoist, songster, snapshotter,
and genial humorist, one of the acquisitions to the ranks of
councillors, and a kindly disposed, big-hearted chap. And there were
others too numerous to mention, but all decent men, and it was wonderful
how the lump was leavened up to a good standard; and those who went
apprehensively, fearing rowdyism or booziness, were relieved to find
things entirely different, for a better ordered camp or lot of men were
surely never before gathered together.
The sleeping arrangements were good, the tent floors being
boarded, and camp bedsteads with mattresses and blankets in lieu of
Mother Earth prevented any ill after-effects. The campers rose early
and went to rest early (the next morning!); a good breakfast was laid
at 9 a.m, a decent lunch at 1 p.m, and a good dinner at 6.30, and
considering the difficulties, the meals were served remarkably well and
were very good.
A wash or bath at 8 a.m., with easy shaving ("my word!") in the
barber's tent, and a breakfast, commenced the fun, which went on all
day, till night had shed its mantle and dawn was fast gathering, and yet
we did not feel sleepy (till we got home, Wednesday!), the Harrogate
air blowing away the cobwebs which had gathered the night before. On
the Saturday every camper made a point of tasting the waters (ugh!),
which may be healthy, but --! And of course the Spa was visited. Here
the Scots Guards discoursed sweet music (quotation), what time Mick
Manning was introduced to all the pretty girls and blarneyed them all
But the Harrogate girls are coy, and, as a motoring camper
remarked, "one meets with many rebuffs." After all, the Birmingham
lassies take a lot of beating, so we left the Harrogatian fairies
severely alone! The smoking concert in the concert tent at 10.30 p.m
was very "great", and as the Irish boys were in great form, the
entertainment would have done credit to an entrepreneur. Tracey sang and
danced, Coffee danced and sang; Smith, and Irishman with an
exquisitely Irish face and voice, also favoured us, and R.D.F. Paul
fairly brought down the house with "To Hull with the Man who Works" and
"Voice Production". Perhaps the treat was Dunbar Steen's little
stories, which were absolute cameos in their ways, and Steen is one of
those pleasant, confident looking men of whom one expects great things at
first sight and is never disappointed. A terrific favourite is Dubar
Steen, and the prince of good fellows. Lacy Hillier gave us "The fables
of George Washington Aesop" in his quietly unctuous style, and if the
remainder of the entertainment fades from our recollection, it is not
because it was indifferent, but that the lemonade was too good.
Sunday morning dawned wetly, but the chorus of "We'll have no more
rain to-day" drove damp away, and the rest of the day was fine. Service
in the morning attracted a large number of Harrogate people, and the
popular camp chaplain, the Rev. Rawdon Briggs, was well supported by
the camp choir, and his address was a straightforward appeal for the
manly virtues. A sacred concert in the president's marquee took place
in the afternoon, when the clever Colclough was the hero of the occasion
a good all-round man is Colclough, with a repertoire for every taste.
Just after midnight a rattling good entertainment was provided for a
couple of hours in the concert tent, the genial Irishman, Sullivan,
giving us a tone-picture, entitled "There's air", with great eclat, and
his dancing on the lawn à la Tennyson's "Maud" :
Come with thy naked feet
but plus pyjamas, was another "turn" of the O'Sullivan which we shoved
our tired heads out of our tents to observe and laugh over. The distant
hum of Kind, kind, and gentle was she - kind was my Mary, which is the
accepted anthem of the camp, lulled us blissfully into sweet repose,
whilst the soft zephyrs crept underneath the tent and cooled our more or
less heated brows.
Monday was heralded by the usual mock altercation between Teddy
Hollands and another, and a yell from outside for "swimmers for the camp
championship," which met with but a feeble response, the popular reply
being missiles. At breakfast we learned that good old Hillier had once
again won the championship, our Oome Paul being second, and Hillier bore
his blushing honours gracefully, and did justice to the viands as usual.
The sports in the afternoon were well attended, and as the English team
consisted only of Goodwin and Slattery, the Irish people kindly lent us
Toomey and Keating; the first-named was a fine player, but as for
Keating - well, we'll say he was too patriotic to prevent his country
scoring goals! The brothers Oswald, Lane-Joynt and Clark comprised the
Irish side, and won by seven goals to four. The Irishmen are a great
side; tricky, fast, and as clever as cats with the ball. A dozen
campers lured the bandsmen to change coats and hats, and we were treated
to "a walk-round", Paul, as the Bandmaster, and Manning bringing up the
rear with the big drum, and the result was chaos till a couple of
legitimate players started "Mary", and then, as Gilbert says : -
It was wild - it was fitful - as wild as the breeze -
It wandered about into several keys :
It was jerky, spasmodic, and harsh, I'm aware -
But still it distinctly resembled an air.
The ensuing smoker was very fine, and all the best talent was
One of the "turns" was the "stump-speech" contest, in which the
names of competitors were drawn from one hat and the subject from
another the effect being ludicrous. T.H. Woollen timed each man,
and the limit was three minutes, which went all too slowly for some of
the competitors. Tracey, with a cleverly-funny speech on "The Terrors
of Camp Life," won the medal handsomely, but was closely followed by
Coffey. Tracey explained that he was a graveyard inspector in Ireland,
and that although his voice was very bad that night, yet many of the
denizens of his "round" would be glad of such a throat as his ? Coffey,
Godbold, Goodwin, Paul, Steen, and others had their three minutes agony
also. One of the favourite songs of the camp is "Dip me in the Golden
Sea", and this is always entrusted to Dunbar Steen; at the repetition
of the word "Dip" each man has to dip his head, and the effect is
singularly ludicrous. Colclough again shone well, and his "My Fiddle is
my Sweetheart" was another gem; his skilful use of the falsetto being
admirable. Tea in the Birmingham tent followed, and much fun was caused
by one camper who had got into an "affectionate" way of talking, and
insisted on "button-holing" his man - the efforts of the latter to get
away from him being extremely funny. A rechauffe of the concert was
served up, and bed was reached later than usual.
Tuesday morning brought the cricket match, in which Percy and
Coffey displayed exceptional "form", and the former's "side" scored 49,
to which their opponents replied with 47 for two wickets, when Captain
Jimmy declared "luncheon interval", to the disgust of "the English"
eleven. The gymkhana in the afternoon was a real bit of fun and sport,
and Birmingham scored four firsts out of five. Tracey, Coffey, and
Keogh entertained the public from the press table with several
"side-shows," and Hollands and Paul were ubiquitous in fun making.
After dinner we had to say "good-bye" to the Irish boys, and it
was a dismal time for us with the "light" gone out of the camp, but
still we heroically mustered in the president's tent and had a good
time. Some very serious business was chatted over anent the
non-profit-making nature of the camp, and the discussion waxed eminently
solid and funereal until Teddy Hollands made a diversion by jumping up
and starting "For he's a jolly good fellow!" without any apparent valid
reason; for this relief we offered up much thanks. Then what with
Johnny Price's puns and interjections, Hollands' malapropos remarks and
other "asides", the big "Boots" Green's eloquence was nipped in the bud,
and we had the usual sing-song. Wednesday, and the close of the camp,
came all too early on the scene, and President Hickson must have
breathed a sigh of peace when the last man wished him good-bye, whilst
that wonderful little worker, Secretary Smith, and his kind-hearted wife
must have done likewise - only more so! Two of the finest officials it
would be possible to get are Messrs. Hickson and Smith, and their
cheerful urbanity smoothed over things that might otherwise have
"developed". No one better deserved the handsome illuminated address
than Smith, for he is a worker every inch of him, and a good little man
in every way.
Before we left on Wednesday a telegram was framed and despatched
to the Irish boys as follows:
Remnants of campers wish you luck; our new motto is, 'Good Lord
And all the people said Amen!
The memories of the 1901 camp should be very bright and happy, and
speaking as a "camp baby", I must say I did not anticipate such a
healthy time as I was lucky enough to have, for I feared several things
which would not agree with my health, but one can go to Harrogate with
the most optimistic ideas and not be disillusioned, for there was not a
single item that the most captious could object to. The old campers
made it a point to put the new ones at their case, and inculcated the
spirit of bonhomie at the first stage, which made the rest easy. And
what a fine lot of fellows the old ones are. Giants of the sport in
very truth. However, if there is any praise going, the men who deserve
it mostly are the laughter-makers, for they toiled well into every night
to please the throng, and, let me say, it is more tiring to entertain,
than to be entertained. Alexander the Great was a wonder; from 8 a.m
till 3 a.m the next morning he never stopped his funniosities, and his
jokes were never coarse or hurtful. He was the "pet" of the visitors in
Hollands had a big reputation ere he came to camp, and he further
added to it, for a more good-natured humorist never lived. His
persiflage was perfect, and his wit as quick as quicksilver; never
quiet, and yet never in the least wearisome, how he maintained his form
was a marvel to all. Hollands, as an old member of the oldest cycling
club, except the Pickwick B.C, has the name of "Mr. Blotton", the man
who made all his remarks in a "Pickwickian" sense, but he should be
"Mark Tapley", for a more cheerful man under depressing circumstances we
could not imagine. His mock auctioneering was even more clever than
funny - and one often wonders whether Holland is more funny than clever,
or clever than funny. Tracey, the Irishman, was another grand
laughter-maker, and must have danced some hundreds of miles during the
camp season; ever willing to oblige, he was in pretty frequent
request, and did his part like a man. Paul was a great favourite, and
as it is asserted that he will bring a Scottish party next year, we have
something to look forward to, as his throat should be all right by
then. Mick Manning was great in the role of Grand Master at the
installation of Ernest Hickson into "The Order of Golden Boatmen", and
the quaint ceremony will linger round many a camper's memory when all
other recollections have faded. The mock-solemn faces, the glint of the
candles, the clever patter of the G.M., and the "hymns" rendered by the
Irish choir, were all perfect in their way, and one halted twixt mirth
and awe till the ceremony ended in the presentation of "the golden boat"
All things have an end, but it was a wrench to many a "camp baby"
to tear himself away from the scene of so many joyous hours, and how a
man can stay away after once tasting the joys of camp life passes one's
understanding. "Once a camper, always a camper," seems to be the
general motto. May it ever be so.
With the Irish Brigade to Harrogate
The exigencies of space will not permit of me spinning out our
Harrogate experiences beyond a short concluding contribution this week,
into which I must condense all the incidents connected with the closing
days. As already indicated, the race meeting on Monday was a big
success both from a sportive and financial standpoint; the finishes
were close, and the gate a good one. Oswald should have won the White
Rose trophy; I believe he was the best man competing, but,
unfortunately, he was deliberately run into by another competitor.
Dinner on Monday night was
a swell affair. The toast list was long and varied. Manning replied
for "The Ladies", and your humble servant was entrusted with "Past
Presidents". The former's speech was a masterpiece, combining humour
with common-sense. The stump speech competition was the best I have yet
taken part in. "Art." Tracey was an easy first, with Coffey second,
and, I should say, Dunbar Steen third. Tracey drew as his subject "The
Terrors of Camp Life", out of which he evolved one of the most humorous
impromptu speeches I ever listened to, and the beauty of it all was that
he never once departed from his subject. There was a consensus of
opinion amongst old campers that it was the best stump speech ever
delivered in Camp. When it was announced that Tracey had won the
much-sought-after leather medal, he was called upon for another speech,
which almost equalled his first effort. Tracey is one of those
spontaneously funny men who can't help themselves - the humour overflows
in volcanic order.
The Irish reception the same night was a quaint
affair, and I regret the space at my disposal will not allow me to
elaborate upon it. I should like to have given a two-page description
of the reception of the president into the Ancient Order of the Golden
Boat. I should also have liked to have given a copy of the intensely
humorous address conveying the emblems of the Order to his keeping;
but, for reasons stated above, this is impossible, so I must only give a
brief outline, leaving my readers to imagine the rest.
The Order of the Golden Boat
candles, four deacons bearing the emblems of progress in ships of wood,
iron, steel, and gold. The mighty Grand-master of the Order, robed in a
red sash, read out amid death-like silence the obligations and
privileges of the Order. During the ceremony a solemn gong beats time,
and verses of camp choruses were faultlessly rendered. Then the
newly-made Companion of the Golden Boat was escorted to the outer tent,
encircled by members of the noble Order. Yes, the Irish night was up to
the best standard of previous years, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all
the campers. A very amusing thing happened after our concert, in which
Slattery was the central figure. A round of old Roman games was decided
on, and a special competition of putting one leg round a chair arranged.
Paul is a champion of champions at this feat, and can repeat the
performance up to 200 times. Slattery also fancies himself at the game,
and was credited with having done 130 last year. Tracey came along,
and, without any apparent trouble, registered 150. Then the betting
started, and the Irish boys backed their man against the Hibernian
Cockney. Slattery started to beat Tracey's 150, and, after a great
effort, got up to 140. Then the members of the Irish Brigade who had
been foolish enough to wager, began to feel shaky, and, as Slattery
proceeded to wipe off the odd ten points separating him from his
opponent, some of them looked as if they had put their money on a rank
outsider. One hundred and forty-five was reached, and right up to one
hundred and forty-eight. Then, hey Presto! the lights were turned out.
After the melee Slattery was found standing on both feet, so that the
match ended in another dishonourable draw. It is strange how kind the
fates were to the Irishmen in all the various contests. Who put out the
gas still remains a matter of mystery, but as Paul was the heaviest
layer on Tracey, suspicion pointed to him as the culprit. It was one of
those results that, outside such a genial abode as the Camp, might have
led to serious trouble and all kinds of recriminations, but at Harrogate
the tale was told with great gusto the next day by the very men who
stood to make most out of Slattery's victory, and who, if the event had
gone the other way, would honourably have discharged their gambling
obligations. This amusing incident brought Monday night to a very
I now come to the closing day, which was spent in
quite a variety of ways. Some went cycling to Ripon and Knaresborough,
others took advantage of Harrogate's famous baths, in order to reduce
their avoidupois, but the large bulk remained to witness the Gymkhana
and Camp Sports, which turned out to be quite the best day of the meet.
Amongst the events were the following:- One mile N.E.C.M club bicycle
race, Victoria Cross race, Cigarette and Sunshade race. Free-Wheel and
Camper's Composite race. Out of this lot, W.B. Goodwin won two and
Paul won two. I won't tell how the latter won the Sunshade race,
suffice it to say that it was one of the shadiest races I have seen for
a long time. After the gymkhana, Mrs. Ernest Hickson, wife of the
popular president, gracefully distributed the prizes. Here I would like
to remark how fortunate the President was in having such a charming wife
to assist him at the various functions. I can only say that Mrs.
Hickson's presence added charm and grace to the whole proceedings, and
many were the encomiums I heard expressed as to her tact and kindness
during the progress of the Camp. Lucky is the man who is mated to a
good wife, but thrice blessed is he who is called upon to perform the
duties pertaining to the Harrogate presidency who can rely upon such
able assistance and such hearty co-operation as that rendered by Mrs
Hickson. After the distribution of prizes, we had our closing lunch,
and already the ranks of the campers had been sadly depleted, as fully
50 per cent had taken their departure. It is this sadness of farewell
that none of us like at Camp, for just as you are getting to know a
fellow, and possibly to like him, off he goes, and his very absence
leaves a blank - a temporary blank it may be - but still it remains long
enough to affect your animal spirits. As our party left at 6.20 on
Tuesday, we spent the afternoon saying good-bye : then we met in the
centre of the field and sang "Auld Lang Syne", and cheered for the
President. We were not allowed to depart so quietly, however, as some
of our old friends had commandeered a band, which escorted us to dinner,
after which a rush was made for the train, amidst a perfect hurricane of
hand-shaking. I am told that, according to precedent, Tuesday was the
best night in Camp. All the old stagers who know a thing or two always
wait to see the Meet through, and no one ever regrets doing so, as the
closing night, being more or less a family party, produces lots of
modest talent, which, if discovered earlier, would have created both a
sensation and a demand. This year Henry Hollands (no relation of the
great Hollands) created quite a surprise by his splendid rendering of
"The Admiral's Broom". As friend Hollands is getting on for three
score, and this was his first appearance on any stage, it might be put
down as a "first night" record. Then Charles Holmes (Martell) and Owen
Oxley (Hennessy) came out strong in dramatic selections from "The
Rivals" and "Julius Ceesar". This undiscovered talent came quite as
an agreeable surprise, and fully repaid those who wanted to see the last
of the show. I am sorry space will not permit of me telling you how
Holmes and Oxley came in for two such soubriquets as Martell and Hennessy;
this is a long-story, and must remain in a matter of conjecture. Taking
the 1901 Camp all round, it was one of the best I have attended, and I
think Mr. Ernest Hickson has every reason to feel satisfied with the
success that attended the Meet during his year of office. Speaking on
behalf of the Irish Brigade, I must say we had a splendid holiday which
was thoroughly enjoyed by every one who had the pleasure of
participating in its Bohemian joys, its impromptu sports, its varied
pleasures, and its go-as-you-please style of existence.
A few reminiscences of the Harrogate Camp
By Ernest Hickson
Good Old Harrogate Camp - after so many eloquent pens and two
eminent Queen's Counsel, in full wig and gown, have described you -
after you have been spoken about with the fury that a most distinguished
member of the Bar could muster, even roused to indignation by the wrongs
of his injured client, with the racy, engrossing, and catching
enthusiasm of a Newcastle orator; the polished reverberating, and rich
musical tones from Wolverhampton - which, alas, none will hear again - and
the silver, witty, laughter-producing, or often touching and poetical
humour for which Ireland is so renowned - how can one who, though he
worked so willingly and for so long a period to keep your life green,
was merely instrumental in adding his mite in that direction by the
prosaic duties of administrative organisation, hope to comply with
success to "The Tramp's" request for reminiscences?
Mr. "Tramp", you ask me too much, for, as you know very well, my
contributions to the long life of the Harrogate Camp were executive, and
that when it came to the yarn spinning, so fascinating a feature of that
institution, I always took a back seat, and was a silent member.
Born in London and educated in Germany, I spent 18 months in
France, and had seen but little of my English contemporaries, when very
suddenly the scene of my life was removed from London to Yorkshire, in
May, 1883. Already then a lover of cycling, I was soon elected a member
of the Bradford C.C, and brought into touch with the ardent enthusiasts
of the sport that have made that city so particularly prominent in
cycling circles. Though I have no recollection of ever hearing about
the Harrogate Camp of 1884, I found myself run in for hon secretaryship
for 1885, in the earliest months of that year, without having by the
very remotest idea of what kind of an affair it was. Fortunately, I was
splendidly backed up by enthusiasts, who were, at the same time, good
business men. I mention particularly W.B Gurney, F.W. Hill (now a
prominent Belfast citizen), J.A. Hill, and Arthur Gilliett (then C.T.C.
Chief Consul of Yorkshire), and being a bachelor amongst new
surroundings, I had plenty of time to devote to the details which in
those years took a lot of licking into shape.
1884 was, I believe, the first year in which the N.E.C.M.
Committee took over the full responsibility of catering. During the
three or four previous years the camp had existed, the tents and
catering were all included in one contract, by which all risk and all
profit went to the caterer. This was not considered good enough by the
succeeding committee, and we hired the tents and let out the catering
quite separately, which involved a great increase both in responsibility
My first appearance and recollection of the Harrogate Camp was,
therefore, in the office of hon. sec. at the very opening of the camp
Decoration of the bell-tents was just beginning to develop, but I
think this attained the greatest perfection about three years later,
when prizes "for the best decorated bell-tent" were awarded. By that
time the hollow-oval shape had already been adopted. I have some photos
of the decorated tents of that year, with our old friend, the late J.
Dunbar Steen, in the foreground, and considering how much more difficult
it was to decorate a bell-tent and still leave it comfortable both for
day and night accommodation, I certainly consider that none of the
elaborate decorations of subsequent years seen in reception tents could
hold their own for originality, ingenuity, and taste with those.
In the mid-eighties we had many boon Harrogate campers who are
unknown to you, Mr. Tramp. There was "Sweet Pea Villa" with that
physical marvel, "Able-bodied P", otherwise A. B. Perkins, Ronald
Strang, and "Long Bob", redubbed by your party "the accursed Scot".
That was a tent full - only three - who came to enjoy themselves! "Sweet
P.'s" short stories from Shakespeare one Tuesday morning at breakfast,
after a little "fizz" to wash away the cobwebs, were one of the biggest
treats in recitations I recollect.
There, too, were the "Wharfedale
Korf-drops", W. B. Gurney, the two old football internationals, Rawson
Robertshaw and my namesake, J. L. Hickson, W. B. Tanner, Martin
Rucker, Philpot, Arthur Illingworth with his stentorian voice , and
Dicky Roberts, with the veteran Mr. Crowe, to whom came as visitors his
fair daughters - one of whom so quickly captivated Dunbar Steen, and
later did the honours as our President's wife when the camp was at
Scarborough, and I must not forget to mention poor "Coppertop", whose
solemn face under the most mirth-provoking circumstances has only been
equalled in later years by Tracey. There, too was E. R. Shipton, and
Ken Worthy from Ashton-under-Lyne, in a small square tent apart from
the ret, corded off with a rich red curtain rope - never tired of
demonstrating the wonderful boiling capacity of his patent canteen
outfit - and amateur photographers too numerous and too bothering to
remember with pleasure.
The first invasion since my initiation as a camper was from the
North, by the "Cole Hole" party.
Who was responsible for this I cannot say. Two or three, I fancy,
came a year or two and "laid low". But when they came they came like
Caesar! Ned Clarke, in his prime, Jos. Radcliffe, and a host of others
- one year with the coach and four painted all over with their club
colours, black and white; another year with the lump of Newcastle
coal, about one cubic yard in size, in one solid black, weighing about
1 ton. Mr Tramp, you remember how only a few years back Ned Clarke
kept about 30 sober-minded grown-ups playing at "thumbs up" for the
benefit of charity, and splitting with laughter, and you can well
imagine how, with him at the helm, they made the Harrogate public pour
through that tent for charity at a penny a head to see that lump of
To my mind, the funniest show ever organised by campers (organised
is not the right word, it was impromptu) was when Ned gave his
demonstration in the Spa Gardens one Bank Holiday evening of his trained
animals, "all brought up by kindness". With Herbert Robertshaw and M.D
Rucker as a giraffe, and lots of other helpers whipped in willy-nilly,
he took possession of one of the lawns behind the Concert Hall, and kept
the public, who had paid admission to hear the concert and see the
fireworks, in roars of laughter with boisterous merriment and all kinds
of absurdities, and his "all done by kindness, ladies and gentlemen",
followed by a sound whack at one or other of his willing confederates,
was too funny for words.
In those days, we also had one camper from Bradford, F.W. Frost,
whose imitation of street vendors had to be seen to be enjoyed. His
style and his repertoire were quite unique.
Beyond the Newcastle invasion, one cannot say that any party made
an era-marking advent until Old Oireland came in force. The Sunderland
boys, with Turvey and Blacklock, the Teessiders, Halifax and other tents
were very prominent for many years, and all brought talent to add to the
Now Ireland has many wrongs, and I can not be persuaded, even by
your (Mr. Tramp) persuasive pen, to add another to the long list by
attempting to describe the camp during those years that you know all
about so well. You have at your disposal very many far more able to
interest your readers than I can. I, however, rejoice to think that I
originated the idea of what turned out to be the most memorable
presentation to you, the last President of the chain of office, which,
at the suggestion and with the help of your predecessor in office, Mr.
A.E. Dodd, took the interesting form of the badges of the various clubs
represented in camp. I tell you candidly, Mr Tramp, notwithstanding the
above fact, I almost envy you that unique relic.
Like Ireland, I have grievances. I will only trouble you with one
- namely, that Ireland did not hand over the address it caused to be read
to me when you conferred on me the honour of becoming, and presented me
with the badge of office of, a Master of the Most Noble Order of the
Golden Boat - "The Irish Cyclist".
Lamps and Indicators
To the Editor of the "Bicycling Time"
SIR, - One reason why a great many bicyclists object to the
existing bye-laws about carrying lamps immediately after sunset, I
believe, is that they say they cannot carry a hub-lamp and a cyclometer
at once, and that for several reasons they object to head-lamps.
By the following simple and inexpensive arrangement I have been
able to carry a hub-lamp and a cyclometer together, and the same can be
done on most modern bicycles :
I ride a 54-inch machine, of last year's make, and fix my
(Thompson's) cyclometer at the extreme right hand end of the hub, with
the face as usual to the left, in the direction you ride, and fix to it
a circular piece of tin plate. This plate, which is from 22 to 23 inches
in diameter, I cut out of a Huntley and Palmer biscuit-tin, make a hole
of the size of the hub in the centre, and in order to get the plate on
to the hub, I cut a slit down to the hole, slipped the plate on, and
joined the slit by means of a piece of wire passing through a hole on
each side of it. I fix this plate on to the cyclometer by means of
another piece of wire passing through two plates and round the part
where the cyclometer proper joins the part by which it is screwed on to
the hub. (Instead of cutting the centre piece entirely out of the
plate, by leaving it attached at one side, bending it at a right angle,
and jamming it in with the hub when fixing the cyclometer the plate
can be more firmly attached). When this is done I put on my Salsbury
lamp, making one of the arms rub against the middle of the plate. Care
should be taken in bending the arm that it cannot rub against the wire
that fixes the plate to the cyclometer or the wire that joins the two
sides of the split together; the other arm, as usual, rubs against the
side of the wheel. If the adjustment is closely and carefully made, I
find that there is just enough room to keep the bottom of the lamp well
clear of the spokes, and the hands of the cyclometer can be seen over
the top of the plate, which turns round with it and the front wheel.
I rode 151 miles on Saturday last, 13th inst., and found this
arrangement answer very well. - Yours obediently, E. Hickson, Hon. Sec.
Rob Roy B.C.
[In common with other riders we feel indebted to Mr. Hickson for
his hints. We wish riders would more often communicate such items.]
Conference of N.C.U. Provincial Delegates
Great unanimity. - Important resolutions
One of the most representative gatherings ever held in connection
was that called by the Bristol, Birmingham and Bradford
Local Centres, and which took place on Saturday evening last at the
Grand Hotel, Birmingham. The chair was taken by Mr. Thomas Cox
(Birmingham), and the following delegates were present - Messrs. E.
Hickson, W.B Gurney, and H. Lobley (Yorkshire West Ridings L.C.), A.H.
Bennett, G.F. Kirk and A. Aldam (Notts L.C.), W.H. Pearson, G.A.
Shaw and W.A. Ridley (Hull L.C), W.J. Price and F.W. Brock (Bristol
L.C), Henry Sturmey, T.L. Griffiths and E.G. Warden (Birmingham L.C),
Oscar E. Taylor, T.A Edge, T.W Grace, C.S. Brooke and A. Edwards
(Manchester L.C.), Robert Hall (Newcastle L.C), and R.E. Phillips
(Executive). The Glasgow and Southampton L.C's wrote regretting their
inability to send delegates, and heartily supporting the scheme proposed
by Mr. Brock.
The Chairman, in opening the meeting, expressed an earnest desire
that no unnecessary discussion should be introduced. He knew there were
points which would call for comments, and on which they might not all be
of accord; but he trusted that all would do their best to be as brief
as possible, that the business might be completed within a reasonable
time. He would call upon Mr. Griffiths to move the first resolution.
Mr. Griffiths said he had a very pleasant but light duty to
perform that was to propose that Mr. Hickson be appointed secretary to
This being seconded by Mr. W.J. Price, and duly carried.
Mr. Hickson read the notice convening the meeting.
The necessity calling for the
Benefit Meeting was to them evidence of there
being something radically wrong in the construction of that body. It
seemed to them that the whole construction of the
National Cyclists' Union
was based upon a wrong principle, and it was therefore necessary
that provincial men should set in concert, and do their best to alter
this condition of affairs. Briefly criticising the scheme to be placed
before the meeting, he expressed an opinion that whatever they might
adopt, the formation of a London Local Centre would have to be a radical
point. He did not propose to start the discussion on the scheme, but he
would just give a short sketch of the method of procedure. First of all
they proposed to submit to the attention of the meeting a resolution
adopting the main principles involved in the scheme. He trusted the
discussion on this resolution would be kept closely to the five
principles involved. When that had been passed they proposed to submit
to the meeting an extended scheme in which each principle involved was
reduced to a simple resolution, so that the discussion could be confined
to certain points, instead of wandering aimlessly from one point to
another. They proposed to place the four resolutions, when passed, upon
the agenda for the December Council meeting, and also to pass a
resolution asking the Executive to give the scheme a foremost position
upon that agenda, in order that it might have a fair and full
discussion, and not be put off to another meeting.
Mr. Grace would like to ask one question.
He understood that
they were met together to discuss the proposals made upon the notice
convening the meeting. He hoped they would not at all travel out of the
way of the notice, but would restrict the discussion to the one scheme,
as he had been instructed by the Manchester L.C. to oppose any other
Mr. Sturmey remarked that the Birmingham L.C. had had before them
at their last meeting the draft scheme of Mr. Hickson, and had
discussed that. It was merely an elaboration of the first scheme, and
he took it they would not be travelling far away from the convening
notice if they enlarged upon a scheme involving precisely the same
principles. His experience of the London Council was that if they went
there with a scheme so brief as the one before them they would not get
it carried, or if they did, they would get into a muddle with it. They
must enlarge the scheme, or it would have very little chance of getting
Mr. Lobley thought the object of the meeting was to elaborate the
skeleton scheme. They must have it as detailed as possible. To carry
the scheme in its present form would mean defeat. All the local centres
would have an opportunity of registering their votes as to whether they
would go into details or not, so they would not be injuring any by
elaborating the scheme.
Mr. Gurney then rose to propose the adoption of Mr. Brock's
scheme. He did not, he said, propose to make a long speech. He believed
so far they were perfectly agreed. There was one point he would like to
impress upon the meeting, and that was that the formation of London and
provincial local centres, as proposed, would take a vast quantity of
work off the hands of the Council, and consequently they would be more
free to legislate upon points or matters which concerned the whole
country. Too much time had been taken up of late with matters which did
not affect the country at large. He had, therefore, much pleasure in
That this meeting of specially appointed delegates of local
centres and provincial clubs adopt Mr. Brock's skeleton scheme as
containing the principles on which the N.C.U.
should be forth-with re-organised.
Mr. D.H. Pearson having briefly seconded the proposal.
Mr. Hickson hoped that in passing the proposal before them they
would bear in mind the five principles involved. The first was that the
kingdom should be divided into local centres. On that they should be
perfectly unanimous. These centres must conduct the whole of the Union
affairs within their boundaries. This clause would involve, or really
originate, the formation a London Local Centre, and in that lay the
backbone of everything brought forward. The formation of a London Local
Centre would relieve the Council and Executive of three-quarters of the
work done. The National Council would then be able to confine their
attention to national work. He was very strongly in favour, too, of a
perambulatory Council. The next point was that the Council should be
formed of delegates from each centre. Everyone must have felt very
strongly, he thought, that they were not at present represented on the
Council in anything like a satisfactory manner. They were represented
by delegates who did not know them, or if they knew them forgot them
oftentimes, and sometimes they were found voting against their centres.
The last principle involved in the scheme was that the work of the
Council would have to be defined. Everything else would be done by the
centres. At present the reverse was the case.
Mr. Hall thought the question would arise with reference to
clause (f) whether it would not be better to give up this work to the
Touring Club, and make the N.C.U.
a purely racing association. He did
not advocate this himself, but thought such a question might have to be
dealt with. The first proposal, he thought, was exactly what they
wanted, and had been wanting for a considerable time. At present the
centres existed solely by the goodwill of the Executive. They had in
London an aristocratic association at the present time which, he
thought, should now give place to a more democratic association. The
Union had become so large and important an institution, and so many of
the members were racing men, that an aristocratic association scarcely
answered the purposes of cyclists. It had been said that that meeting
would not have been convened, and the scheme would not have been brought
forward, but for the fact that the Executive had been landed in
pecuniary difficulties. He was there that evening to oppose that view
of the matter. They, in Newcastle, had been for some time past entirely
against the present organisation of the Executive and representation of
the centres. When they asked clubs to join, they (the clubs) did not
seem to grasp the idea of the Union. It was a London organisation
managed by London men, and London got the benefit of all subscriptions
and work. He believed to a large extent the Union was kept together by
the personal power and influence of the local centre secretaries
themselves, and not so much by the good work done, nor the idea of it
forming a National Union, for cyclists could not grasp the lines upon
which the Union was constructed. He would say that it existed solely
through the personal ability and pushing of local centre secretaries.
That should not be. The Union should be supported because it was worthy
of support. Clubs should see that it would benefit themselves to join.
Some scheme must be adopted by which they could have a definite voice in
the management of the Union. He would have liked, however, to have had
the paragraphs moved seriatim.
The Chairman : That will be done later on. The scheme is moved
as a whole first, as one on which we can all agree.
Mr. Price would like to say that if anyone objected to any part
of the scheme they should mention it.
The Chairman : The resolution only lays down broad principles, on
which it is hoped we shall all agree. It is obvious that the great
point of our case will be unanimity. If we go before the Union with the
unanimous support of all the centres, it will make opposition
Mr. Brock said that as he had had the pleasure of first proposing
the scheme, he would like to say a few words upon it. It had been felt
for a long time in the West of England that they were not in touch with
the Executive, and matters had gone so far that the suggestion had been
thrown out that the centre should secede. That he thought would have
been done but for the conference. They felt in Bristol that they were
neglected. They were putting their hands into their pockets for the
Union, and got no adequate return. Their Local Centre had managed to go
along with the moderate subscription allowed. Their income for the
present year had been £70, including a profit on L.C. championship of
£21, but of that they had spent £20 in taking up a case of running-down,
and had paid off a debt owing from the previous year, so that at present
they had very little in hand, but were free from debt. They felt that
they could manage affairs in the West of England as a self-constituted
body, entirely independent of London. There were, however, points on
which they felt it absolutely necessary to be in unison with the
and other connections throughout the country. It was highly desirable
that the amateur definition should be fixed upon a common basis. It was
desirable, also, that the amateur championships should be such. It was
very important that if a man was to be styled "amateur champion" he
should be champion of the whole kingdom. He was of opinion that if the
centre championships could be made to pay the Union should be able to
make sufficient out of their championships to pay the necessary working
expenses, and nothing would then be required practically from the local
centres. There would be greater expenses in the districts, but there
would be nothing to pay for London offices, etc., which have now to be
defrayed by local centres, so that local centres having an income of
their own and no one to refer to would be free to act as they thought
best. Any local centre under present rules could be dissolved by the
Executive. This, of course, was far from the wishes of the provinces.
It was absurd that a body of men in London should have power to say that
the Birmingham centre should be dissolved. That must not be.
Birmingham or any other local centre should be so constructed that
nothing but the want of cohesive force in itself could cause its
dissolution. If all members of the association were to be united, they
should have power to rule that association, and not be upset by any
London Council. The speaker then dealt at some length with the
formation of the Bristol L.C., and the Union championship held there,
asserting that the Executive asked their opinion on various matters
especially relating to the championships, and then entirely ignored that
opinion, with the consequence that they felt they could not support the
Union in those championships, and feeling that they were strong enough
to form an association of their own, they had decided but for that
conference to do so. Dealing with the scheme before the delegates, he
explained that in forming this he had thought it best to work on broad
and simple lines, at it was only in details that they would disagree.
When they had adopted the scheme then would be the time for the
committee to go into details and elaborate the scheme. Whatever was
passed at that meeting would appear on the agenda to be discussed by the
local centres. The only point on which he thought there was likely to
be a difference of opinion was the perambulatory Council. He must
confess that they themselves in Bristol had felt a difference upon that
point. The general opinion, however, was that it would be desirable
that the Council, whilst meeting in London, should have the power to and
make a practice of meeting in various parts of the country, not in the
style of the C.T.C., but rather that of the A.A.A. In fact, if the
scheme were carried out, the
would to a great extent be based
upon lines similar to those of the A.A.A., namely, district associations
and a general central body. He saw no reason why that central body
should always meet in London. He thought if the championships were held
in Birmingham, it would be a splendid opportunity for the Council to
meet there, or should an important appeal case be coming off in
Newcastle, members of the Council should meet there rather than in
London, where they would be away from the scene of the case, and unable
to give it proper attention.
The Chairman though they were rather anticipating points which
would come on for discussion at a later stage.
Mr. Price agreed with Mr. Hall that it was the local men who
kept the Union together. He thought if the Executive were taken to the
middle of the Atlantic and dropped in, the Union work would go on just
the same as usual. The work of local centre secretaries was enormous.
He would not say it was they who maintained the Union, but it certainly
was the local centres that kept the
a power in the land. He had
been reading the Review recently, and he could assure them that the
Executive were everything, from beginning to end. One might think that
the Executive ruled instead of the whole body of members. He hoped they
would be unanimous on the skeleton scheme, as there would be less to
defend upon that than upon a more elaborate one. The local centres
could fill in the details afterwards. A warning voice should go forth
to the Council with regard to the "tricks of the trade" they got up to
there in the matter of adjournments. The way in which they shelved
things there when the proposers were so much in earnest was shameful.
It should go forth that the provinces were determined to have reform,
and the scheme before them, although not perfect, was a step in the
Mr. Gurney, re Mr. Hall's remarks, pointed out that to carry
clause, was merely to leave the rule as at present standing. He thought
any alterations desired in this could be made after the Union had been
The resolution adopting Mr. Brock's scheme was then put to the
meeting and carried unanimously.
Mr. Hickson thought the next resolution was one that would call
for some discussion. It was, "That this meeting go into committee on
the extended scheme," which be begged to move. He would like at the
outset to express his regret that the correspondence which had passed
between the three centres signing the notice could not have been also
extended to every centre, which it was, however, found impossible to do.
He did not wish them to think that the scheme was the outcome of the
correspondence between the three secretaries. It embodied the ideas of
the Birmingham, Bristol, and Yorkshire, and also the Manchester L.C's.
Though the scheme was not perfect, he hoped it would answer their
purpose. They wished to bring as many points as possible before the
meeting. He agreed with Mr. Sturmey that it was not fair to go to
London and attempt to demolish the whole organisation of five, six, or
ten years' standing, and put forward simply a skeleton scheme. He hoped
they would agree on the vital points of the extended scheme with the
same unanimity that had characterised the one just passed.
Mr. Sturney seconded the motion. As he had said before to simply
take the present scheme to London would be almost to ensure defeat. Of
course they could carry it with the united proxy votes of the Kingdom
but they wanted, if possible, to get the support of London as well as
the provinces. He knew London was hard to convince, but still they
wanted to do it. In his opinion the extended scheme was but an
explanatory scheme. If they took the matter to London as it was, they
would be taking it into a larger assemblage of men who were primarily
prejudiced against the scheme, and who had no idea at all of the details
of working. By giving them the extended scheme they would be enabling
the London Council better to understand the first one.
Mr. Grace pointed out that they had a resolution amongst those
submitted to them that a sub-committee be appointed to complete the
scheme and frame rules for the guidance of the new Council, and also had
passed a resolution that Mr. Brock's scheme should be adopted, and he
would suggest that the scheme, as extended by Mr. Hickson, should be
printed in the Review as a guide to the sub-committee to be formed.
The Chairman thought that would not be opposed.
Mr. Hickson said the discussion would turn upon the question
whether on the agenda should be printed the skeleton scheme or the
extended one. He was of opinion that the skeleton scheme was too short
to place thereon. Mr. Grace's contention was, he understood, to put
the skeleton scheme on the agenda and send up the other to be read at
Mr. Grace did not object to their discussing the extended scheme,
but hoped they would not put it on the agenda as a resolution to bind
Mr. Lobley was inclined to agree with Mr. Grace, though he would
have preferred the extended scheme.
Mr. Price thought nothing outside the notice convening the
meeting should be introduced.
Mr. Hickson maintained that the second clause in the convening
notice would justify him in bringing his scheme before the meeting.
Mr. Brock would like to point out that a motion almost, if not
word for word, similar to Mr. Hickson's would be placed on the agenda
by the Bristol Local Centre in case any objection should be made to the
scheme proposed by the conference. The Bristol scheme would, of course,
be withdrawn when the other was brought on.
The Chairman could not see how they would go wrong in elaborating
the scheme. They must keep to the spirit of it, otherwise they would
stultify themselves. He thought Mr. Hickson's idea was only to draw
out more fully the idea contained in Mr. Brock's scheme.
Mr. Adam held that if Mr. Hickson's scheme were to be passed as
a recommendation, it should be sent to the committee for their guidance.
Mr. Sturmey thought Mr. Hickson's scheme should be placed on the
agenda that it might come before the centres not represented at the
conference, and the independent members and London delegates, so that
they might know on what lines they were acting. If they carried the
draft scheme and a sub-committee were appointed to consider the question
and draw up rules, that sub-committee would have a tremendous amount of
work, and if they could do a little for the committee and give them a
few more general lines to start upon, it would materially assist them.
Mr. Grace would take it as a breach of faith to the centres
should anything outside the agenda be dealt with by the conference. He
thought they should pass the resolutions before them, and then throw the
meeting open to the discussion of the extended scheme.
Mr. Hall thought they were getting into a chamber of horrors. As
he understood it, the first motion passed that evening inferred to his
mind that some scheme would have to be adopted for the re-organisation
of the Union, and he thought that the items should be dealt with
seriatim, so that they might go back to the centres and tell them what
the conference had suggested on each paragraph. He could not see the
advisability of amplifying the scheme. The Executive would have plenty
if they would just swallow the two items on the programme. If they got
that over, and swallowed it nicely, it would be quite sufficient; all
the rest would follow.
After some further discussion, the resolution that the conference
go into committee was withdrawn.
The Chairman then read the next resolution on the agenda -
That the scheme of re-organisation as passed by the Birmingham
conference of local centre and provincial club delegates be adopted as
containing the principles on which the Union shall be forthwith
Mr. Aldam moved, and Mr. Grace seconded, That the resolution be passed.
Mr. T.A Edge proposed -
That a committee be appointed to complete the scheme of
re-organisation in conformity with the foregoing resolution, and frame
rules for the guidance of the new Council; the said scheme to come
into operation on 1st March, 1889.
Mr. W.J. Price seconded the resolution pro forma, which was duly carried.
Mr. Bennett moved, and Mr. Brock seconded -
That the committee consist of the chairman of the Executive, one
delegate from each local centre and one from the London district; and
that the London representative be appointed by the Executive.
Mr. Brock suggested that M. Phillips should be invited to
address the delegates.
The Chairman said he should respond with great pleasure; they
would be happy to allow Mr. Phillips to express his opinion, and he was
sure that gentleman would have a very courteous hearing at their hands.
Mr. Grace said he would like, before Mr. Phillips spoke, to
raise the question as to whether it would be compulsory for a delegate
appointed on the committee to attend every meeting, or could a
substitute be sent.
Mr. Sturmey was of opinion that they could not allow a
substitute, because, if they were going to change the members of the
committee from time to time, those attending one meeting would not know
what had been done at the previous ones, so he did not think it would be
workable. They must use their best endeavours in choosing gentlemen to
represent them to select those who would undertake to attend a large
proportion of the meetings.
Mr. Grace asked if the rules would authorise each local centre to
pay the expenses of delegates to attend the committee?
Mr. Lobley thought they could deal with their own money as they
Mr. Sturmey : I think so long as we do not interfere with that
portion of the centre receipts which belong to London we shall be in
Mr. Hickson would like to introduce a resolution which he had
great pleasure in moving. It had been drawn up at his request by a
member of the Executive. It was
That in view of the fact that a large number of provincial
delegates intend to be present in person at the Council, the Executive
be, and is hereby, requested to place the motion emanating
from the conference of specially-appointed delegates in such a position
upon the agenda paper that it may be dealt with at the said Council
meeting, and not postponed for want of time; and particularly requests
that it be placed before the report of the Finance Committee, as these
motions must interfere with any action taken on that report.
As a member of the Executive was present, they could not do better
than give the resolution to him to hand to that body.
Mr. Hall seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
Mr. Phillips then rose to speak. He was not, he said, going to
defend the Executive in any way. He was quite convinced, however, that
if any gentleman present that evening were to reside in London and work
on the Executive he would see the innumerable difficulties they had to
contend with. Personally, he was greatly in favour of a preambulatory
Council. It would do more to further the Union work than anything else;
but he thought they would find there were difficulties in the way
when they came to elaborate the scheme. If it did nothing else, this
wandering Council meeting would have one good effect, that was to
abolish proxy voting. He thought it would have to come to that, because
the proxy voting led them into any number of quarrels. With reference
to the request to the Executive to place the results of the conference
in a foremost position, he thought the Executive would give them a
hearing as far as possible; but he would like to suggest that any
local centre which had sent up motions for the agenda should withdraw
them as far as possible, or place them at the bottom of the agenda, as
then nothing would stand in the way except those motions resulting from
the late special meeting, which, however, would take up considerable
time. One he thought they would be interested in - that was to appoint
a chairman for the year in place of a permanent one. With the formation
of a local centre in London he quite agreed. Of course, if they had a
London centre they would, he presumed, abolish the Executive. (Mr.
Sturmey : Not entirely.) The difficulty he saw was that they must have
some body always sitting to do one thing - that was, to define the policy
of the Union. The
differed from the A.A.A in this respect. The
A.A.A. only governs sport because there is no pastime connected with it. The
had to govern the sport and pastime. Although a Council
meeting moved quarterly could keep the definition of their policy within
bounds, it could not be done with the pastime. There were two things he
should call pastime, and on which the Executive must decide the policy.
The first was road-racing. He left it to them to consider what the
position of road-racing would be if they allowed each centre to define
the ruling. Another point was law and road repairs. If they allowed
each local centre to define their policy on law cases, they would find
in one instance a case taken into court to uphold certain principles,
and in another probably to oppose the same. There must be an Executive
to decide the policy of the Union, to which all matters should be
referred for their opinion before they were acted upon by the provinces.
There was one difficulty, however. If they were going to have an
Executive in London, naturally that body would have a voice at the
Council meetings. They would therefore have double London voting on the
Council, and such a body would certainly not be content to work unless
they were represented on the Council. Another point he would draw their
attention to was that when they came to divide Great Britain out, they
would find at least twenty or twenty-five local centres. In his opinion
the areas would be too small and centres too numerous to work together
in harmony. He thought the local centres should embrace a much larger
area and be fewer in number. In case of suspension, this would be found
to be necessary, as in small areas a certain amount of personal feeling
would be certain to exist.
Mr. Lobley thought the centres would not be in any way too small
as they proposed to arrange them. They must not forget that the number
of members was all the time increasing, and they hoped would increase
faster still when the new scheme came into operation.
Mr. Gurney wished to get on with the extended scheme, as he was
assured that that would meet all the points raised by Mr. Phillips.
The Chairman tendered the thanks of the meeting to Mr. Phillips
for the frank expression of his views, and requested that he would hand
the resolution to the Executive respecting the position of the motions
upon the agenda.
Mr. Grace moved -
That this conference request the Yorkshire West Riding to duly
place the motions, so far as carried at this conference, upon the next
agenda, and that Messrs. Gurney and Hickson have the conduct of this at
the Council meeting.
He thought they might leave the matter in the hands of those two
gentlemen with the utmost confidence.
Mr. Price briefly seconded the proposal.
Mr. Lobley thought it would have more weight with those who read
the agenda if the names of all the centres were put collectively as
proposing the skeleton scheme.
After some further remarks from Messrs. Hickson, Hall, Brock, and
Sturmey, it was proposed by Mr. Grace, and seconded by Mr. G.A. Shaw,
That the motions so far as carried by placed upon the agenda in
the names of the whole of the local centres represented, and that the
delegates of the provincial centres should, as far as possible, support
them at the December Council meeting.
This being the whole of the business on the agenda, Mr. Hickson
moved, and Mr. Sturmey seconded, That this meeting resolve itself into
committee, which was carried unanimously.
Mr. Hickson then proceeded to explain the scheme he proposed to
lay before the committee, and a free discussion took place upon the
various items, which were dealt with seriatim. The following
resolutions were finally adopted as recommendations to the committee to
be hereafter appointed for the re-organisation fo the
National Cyclists' Union :-
The whole of Great Britain to be divided into local centres. Each
centre to conduct all affairs of the Union that arise within its
The local centres to be formed as nearly as possible upon
geographical lines, and as at present.
That all centres, except perhaps London, be preferably named
after the district, as, for instance, Midland Local Centre, Western
Local Centre, etc, and not after towns or cities.
All delegates of local centres to be elected as at present.
All subscriptions and registration fees to be paid to the hon.
secretary of the local centre in which the club or members reside, or in
which the race-meetings are to be held.
Each local centre to pay over a percentage of its total
subscriptions of all kinds to the Council (the exact amount to be
The Council to be elected annually in the month of March, and
have entire control over its own funds.
Each local centre to send delegates to form the Council as
follows, and, for the purpose of this proportion members to include
members of affiliated clubs :-
1 for upwards of 125 members.
2 for upwards of 250 members.
3 for upwards of 500 members.
4 for upwards of 1,000 members.
5 for upwards of 2,000 members.
1 for every subsequent 2,000 members.
(This calculation, based upon figures given in 1887 reports, giving a total of 30 members).
The Council to elect a president, vice-presidents of the Union,
chairman of Council, hon. sec., and hon. treasurer, and, if
necessarily be elected from delegates forming the Council.
The third-class railway fares of the chairman and hon. sec. to
be paid to and from the town in which the meetings are held, to be borne
by the Council.
The Council to hold its meeting in various local centres of the
kingdom. That no meeting shall be held, except under special
circumstances, in districts, having less than three delegates. Five to
form a quorum.
The Council to (a) fix the amateur definition; (b) frame rules
for amateur cycle races; (c) to frame such other rules as may be from
time to time deemed necessary; (d) to decide what national
championships shall be held; when each and every championship shall be
held; the rules for the management of said championships; what award
shall be given; to elect annually one or more official timekeepers and
judges to act at said championships.
The entire management of the national championships, exclusive of
the items aforesaid, shall be conducted, and the entire expense borne,
by the local centre in which such championships are run, unless such
centre should prefer to delegate the management and risk to the Council.
The centre or Council to receive all entry fees, bear all losses, take
all profits for programmes, etc., pay the third-class railway fares of
the official timekeeper and judge to and from the town in which the
championships are held.
The net profit from the national championships, if any, after
deducting all the above and any other expenses, to go to the local
centre or Council as the case may be, and if the championship be
undertaken by a local centre, a percentage of the net profits equal to
that paid on subscriptions shall be paid to the Council.
The Council to act as an Appeals Committee between individual
members or affiliated clubs and local centres, and appoint one or more
sub-committees for that purpose.
The Council to have power to call on any centre to show cause
within ten days why any suspension has not been made, or why any
particular sentence of suspension has been pronounced, and after hearing
such centre, to make any suspension whatever, or alter any sentence of
suspension already made. Suspensions by the Council can only be dealt
with by the Council.
The Council to watch and assist any centre in promoting the
objects of the Union whenever cases of national importance arise, such
as leading road-mending and assault cases.
The Council to watch the movements of railway companies, all
legislative and Custom House proposals, and every opportunity of
promoting the objects of the Union, especially in such cases where the
case is not definitely located in any centre.
The Council to appoint an emergency committee of five to assist
the hon. sec. in cases that call for prompt action. The emergency
committee to have power of calling a special meeting of the Council.
A resolution was also adopted that the extended scheme be
forwarded to the hon. sec. of the Union, with the request to publish
it in the Review in the interests of the Union, and a vote of thanks to
the Chairman brought the meeting to a close at 11 o'clock.
National Cyclists' Union
Full and Special Report of the Council Meeting
The Reorganisation Scheme - not carried
Permanent disqualification of three well-known riders
An ordinary meeting of the Council was held on Thursday evening
last, the 6th inst., at the London Tavern, Fenchurch-street. The chair
was taken by the vice-president, Mr. W. B. Tanner. Members and
delegates were present to the number of 112, including representatives
from several provincial Local Centres, while the galleries were more or
less crowded, and great interest was apparently shown in the somewhat
momentous questions set down for decision. Messrs. Hickson, Brock,
Appleton, Gurney, and Griffiths proved themselves able exponents of
provincial views, all of whom were accorded a quiet and attentive
hearing. The amendment which had been left in the hands of Mr. Todd,
on behalf of the recent meeting of London men, was thrown out by the
weight of adverse proxy votes, but on the other hand the now famous
organisation scheme failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority,
it having been decided that it was in the nature of a new rule. This
ruling was apparently quite unexpected by the provincial party, but the
chairman adhered to his decision, and the scheme was thrown out amid
loud applause from the metropolitan contingent. It was stated that some
£50 to £75 had been spent by the provincial party in bringing the
question to a head, and it is, of course, unfortunate for them that the
matter came to such an abrupt termination. The question, however, is
sure to be again brought forward, and we have reported the present
meeting very fully in order that those interested may have an
opportunity of considering the subject in all its bearings. After the
provincial scheme had been moved and lost, the delegates began to lose
interest in the proceedings, until Mr. Percy Low startled them into
attention by successfully carrying a motion to permanently disqualify
the three riders who, according to the report, had been temporarily
suspended by the Executive until the end of 1890. The remainder of the
evening was occupied in the discussion of the first clause of the
scheme, moved on behalf of the Finance Committee by Mr. Low. The
attendance had, however, by this time dwindled down to about a third of
its original proportions, and Mr. Low's first proposition was lost.
The meeting adjourned close upon 11 o'clock to a date to be fixed by the
Executive, and there remained a very large amount of business yet to be
transacted. Mr. Beningfield most admirably, but unwillingly, played
the role of a cycling Rip Van Winkle, and succeeded in causing a good
deal of amusement, and considerably enlivened the proceedings which
would otherwise have been remarkably tedious. Considerable discussion
ensued upon the minutes, the result being that those of the Council
Meeting, held on 14th June last, were confirmed unanimously, and those
of the special meeting on 20th September last by 26 to 20, the point
upon the latter being raised by Mr. Britten, who stated that the
chairman of such meeting had given a ruling which was contrary to fact.
It was then announced what Centres had resorted to proxy voting.
The Reorganisation Scheme
Mr. E. Hickson, on behalf of the Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester,
Newcastle, Nottingham, Yorkshire (East and West Ridings) Local Centres,
moved: - That the scheme of reorganisation as passed at the Birmingham
Conference of Delegates of Local Centres and provincial clubs be adopted
as containing the principles on which the Union shall be forthwith
reorganised. He said that before proceeding to the immediate business
of the resolution he wished to tender to the Executive, on behalf of
those for whom he acted, his best thanks for the generosity with which
they had replied to their appeal to give precedence to the motion for
reorganisation. He and his party came there with a very closely defined
object, but his task had been made far more difficult than it would
otherwise have been on account of the very gross misconstruction that
had been placed on their action, and the misrepresentations generally
which had been indulged in. He asked them to remove from their minds
any views which they might have already formed, and requested that they
would closely follow the five principles which, as he explained embodied
the scheme which he proposed. He did not intend to waste any words as
to the necessity for reform of the
because he considered the very
great prominence which the question had taken of late was ample proof in
itself that reform was necessary, and also because the only amendments
to the scheme which had been placed on the agenda were motions admitting
such necessity. He did not propose to read the skeleton scheme, but
wished to point out that the resolution simply asked that the principles
embodied in that scheme might be adopted as such as should form the
basis of the constitution of the Union. He hoped that his motion would
receive a fair and open discussion on its merits before proceeding to
the appointment of any committee. (Hear, hear.) He asked this because
he considered that if any amendment such as appeared on the agenda paper
were brought forward straight away it would shelve the question which
the provinces wished to bring forward. It was these five principles
which he wanted the Council to discuss that night. They had no
intention whatever, as had been represented, to prevent any portion of
the Union from having a fair and equable representation on the Council,
or a share of the labour in doing the duties of the Executive, or
anything of that description. They simply brought it forward because
they were deeply convinced that the principles in question contained the
framework on which alone a healthy constitution of the
arise, and which alone could make it a national body in the real sense
of the word and a true union of cyclists from all parts of the kingdom.
The five principles he had alluded to were:-(1) The division of the
kingdom into districts or Local Centres. (2) That each Centre should do
its local business entirely and conduct the local affairs of the Union
within its district. (3) What was called a perambulating Council. (4)
That the Council should be constituted of delegates from the Local
Centres. (5) What they considered a logical conclusion from the second
that certain duties shall be restricted entirely to the Council, and
shall not be dealt with in any way whatever by the Local Centres. The
first principle was that which they considered as the backbone of the whole
scheme. There was a curious arrangement at present in existence of one
Local Centre being, as it were, here and another there, with a lot of
what he ought to call Tom Tiddler's ground in between, the abolition of
which he was sure would be welcomed by every Local Centre honorary
secretary in the Kingdom as well as by those who had worked in
Basinghall-street. But apart altogether from this the formation of a
London Local Centre was what this principle aimed at, and was above all
other things what the provincial members of the Union had set their
hearts on. He might say that in addition to the Centres which he had
enumerated and on whose behalf he was the spokesman, he had the support
of every Local Centre in the kingdom that had taken the trouble to
record its vote. He considered it was to the absence of a London Local
Centre above all things that the present deadlock in the work of the
Union was due, and to this cause they also largely attributed the
disrepute which the Union had fallen into throughout the Kingdom. He
had no hesitation in saying that had the London work been done by a
London Local Centre as provincial work was done by provincial Local
Centres, three-fourths at least of the work of the Executive, and
(setting aside the question of alteration of rules) three-fourths of the
work of the Council would have fallen to such body. The object of his
party was to free the Council or Executive from a large amount of the
work which now fell to its lot. They thought that if London work was
done by Londoners, the Council would be free to attend to national work.
He thought it was a disgrace to the Union that two of the most prominent
objects, viz., the first two that were enumerated in the list published
in the Rules of the Union, should have had to be delegated to so large
an extent to other bodies to prevent their going to the wall altogether.
The chief reasons that provincial clubs gave for not affiliating
themselves to the Union was becoming painfully monotonous. It generally
took the following form : What is the use of belonging to the
Union? - it is essentially a metropolitan body and will not trouble itself
about us. The remedy for this would be found in forming a London Centre
to do London work. As regards the second principle, as to the division
of the kingdom into districts, it had been criticised apparently without
the slightest knowledge of the effect of the present rules. It had been
said that some Centre might make some absurd suspension. He quite
admitted that, but under the present rules it could do so, and therefore
there was no change. His Centre had made a suspension straight away
without the Executive knowing anything about it, and which they were
fully entitled to do under the present rules. The party whom he
represented insisted on this principle being retained in the scheme and
that a great point should be made of the insertion of some clause which
would prevent the Council or Executive from altering any suspension
until the local Centre who had made it had been heard. He was quite
sure that as London was made a Local Centre they would not quibble about
the second principle. It was said that the A.A.A might object to the
alteration, but that was a pure fallacy. As regards the remuneration of
duties which should be retained by the Council, and not fall to the
Local Centres, he simply wished to point out with regard to Clause B "to
fix the amateur definition" that it must be distinctly understood that
no one member of the provincial party, as far as he was aware, desired
to alter that definition at all. They simply said that in the event of
some future modification being required no one should have power to deal
with it except the Council. But the Council must be truly
representative. The provincial party at present considered that it was
not. It was a body constituted almost entirely of Londoners, and London
clubs by being directly represented had a most unfair preponderance, and
until this was changed he thought the Union would never receive the full
confidence of the United Kingdom. In their different Centres they had
done their best to get representatives who should be in touch with
themselves, but owing to the present constitution of the Council it was
absolutely impossible to do this as regards meetings in London. That
was the clause, after the London clause, on which they laid the most
stress. He had spoken to two prominent London members that night and he
had no hesitation in saying that within a quarter of an hour they could
come to some mutually satisfactory arrangement. He wanted the Council
to be a body that did the work of the Union, and not merely to be a
debating society, but it must be a much smaller body than at present.
Lastly with regard to the clause which had been called the
"perambulating" that also had been greatly misunderstood. The
provincial party did not for one moment pretend to desire or think that
it would be advisable, or indeed feasible, that the Council should
wander round every Centre in the kingdom on some hard and fast routine.
They simply wished that some few (they would be content with two-thirds)
of the meetings should be held outside London. He felt that as long as
Council meetings were persistently and regularly held in London the
metropolitan character of the Council could never be altered. These
were the five clauses to which he wished to draw their attention that
evening. They had not dealt at all with the question of finance. They
felt that without figures before them they were not in a position to do
so. They were quite open to receive and to listen to any
recommendations which might be put before them, and he could assure them
that as soon as the Council was a truly representative body the West
Riding of Yorkshire Local Centre would be one of the foremost in giving
sufficient funds to that Council for it to do its work. He might
mention that the provincial party had spent some £50 to bring the matter
to its present head, and it would be most unfair that the question
should be shelved without any chance of a division on the main
proposition. He appealed to Mr. Todd to listen to that request that he
would allow the resolution to be debated on its merits, and leave his
(Mr. Todd's) motion to come forward as an amendment to their second
resolution. If that were done they would be most willing, with very
slight verbal alterations to accept Mr. Todd's motion almost as it
stood. At any rate he trusted the meeting would feel that the
provincial party had not brought forward this scheme of reorganisation
in any party or faction spirit. They had brought it forward entirely
because they felt and were earnestly and honestly convinced that on its
adoption alone could be based a true and thoroughly
National Cyclist's Union.
Mr Hickson resumed his seat amid loud applause. Mr
Brock seconded. It had been said at the London meeting that neither Mr.
Hickson nor himself had previously been present at any London Council
meetings. They felt that the loss was theirs, but at the same time they
always felt that all matters had been brought forward by the Council and
treated ably and impartially, and therefore no reason existed for their
presence. But they felt in attending that present meeting they were
asking for a principle - a broad one - and they felt sure that as the
provinces had approached the question in a broad and fair-minded spirit,
so the delegates now present in representing metropolitan clubs would be
willing to meet them on the same grounds. They only asked for fairness
and equality. They were all anxious to do the best for the Union. The
trouble they had taken in the matter was evidence of this. He appealed
to the meeting to do his party justice, and at the same time to help as
far as possible in furthering the interests of the Union generally. His
party asked that a certain amount of home rule or self-government might
be entrusted to them, and by this means they would be able to bring the
name and objects of the Union into greater prominence. Mr. Todd then
moved an amendment : (1) The Council considers that some further and
better arrangement should be made for enabling Local Centres to be
represented and heard on the Council, and that a committee should be
appointed to frame a scheme for the reorganisation of the Union and
report to the Council. (2) The committee shall consist of an equal
number appointed by the Executive and by the Local Centres; and said he
would have preferred moving this amendment later in the evening, but as
he was obliged to leave the meeting very shortly he has no alternative.
He had listened with great interest to both Mr. Hickson and Mr. Brock,
in the hope that they would have shown some reason for introducing such
a drastic change in the constitution of the Union. Mr. Hickson had
taken it for granted that there ought to be a reform, and that therefore
his particular scheme of reform should be adopted. Mr. Hickson had
also been politic enough not to make any remarks upon the interpretation
of the short scheme. There would arise in the carrying out of that
scheme a number of very delicate and knotty points, which the mover of
the scheme had not dwelt upon. With regard to Mr. Hickson's first
principle of dividing the kingdom into districts, he (Mr. Todd)
personally had no great objection to London being formed into a Local
Centre, except, perhaps, that the result would be that a good deal of the
work of the Union would be done twice over. Mr. Todd then proceeded to
attack the suggested perambulating Council, and repeated in substance the
arguments adduced at the recent meeting at Anderton's Hotel, and which
was duly reported in our columns, and particularly emphasized the point
of the probable difficulty of obtaining a quorum at such Council
meetings. Every objection that could be urged against the present
Council on the ground of inconvenience and difficulty of access would
apply quite as strongly to the proposed perambulating Council. Mr.
Hickson had expressed a wish that the Council should do some work, and
not be a mere debating society, but that was to a certain extent
neutralised by Mr. Brock, who admitted that matters which had been
brought before the Council had been dealt with fully, and ably, and
honourably, and that therefore the provincial men themselves saw no
reason to come up to London. He thought they might set one opinion
against another - (laughter) - and if the latter were the opinion of the
Local Centres he could not see why they should desire to abolish the
present Council. With regard to the second principle, that each Local
Centre was to conduct the whole affairs of the Union within its
boundaries, Mr. Hickson tried to show that it would be very slightly
different from the present arrangements, and had instanced the question
of suspension. He (Mr. Todd), however, would point out that the power
of Local Centres was limited to the suspension of a man pending
investigation. If each Centre was to have home rule, there was the
likelihood of each Local Centre having a different set of rules, and he
did not know that that would assist them very much. Mr. Todd was
proceeding to show the inequality of representation in giving London six
delegates, as against twenty-four for the rest of the country --
Mr Hickson said that Mr. Todd was dealing with the second scheme
which he submitted was not before the meeting.
Mr Todd : Mr. Hickson was wise enough not to bring it before the
meeting, and I dare say it is extremely disagreeable to have it in any
way referred to.
Mr. Hickson : Not at all.
Mr. Todd said he was only judging by what Mr Hickson had done,
but as the subject was painful to the latter, he, Mr Todd, would not
refer to it further. Another point was, were they going to find their
delegates to form a Council in any different shape from the present? At
the present time, Local Centres, had power of sending up a few delegates
if they liked to vote by proxy, and carry the whole voting power of the
Centre if they chose. Mr. Todd said he wished Mr. Hickson to
understand that he had never wilfully misrepresented facts with regard
to the scheme. Mr. Hickson had made a point of a further clause being
added to prevent the Council from altering any suspension until the
Local Centres had been heard. As a matter of fact, the Local Centres
were always heard when suspensions were dealt with by the Executive.
(No, no, from the provincial delegates, whereupon Mr. Todd repeated
his assertion.) The Executive always listened to what the Local Centres
had to say. They certainly had not asked a member to come up to London
to represent their views viva voce, but they had paid great attention to
them. In certain cases, the Executive had been disposed to adopt a
certain course, but had deferred to the Local Centres as far as they
reasonably could. As he had before stated, the Local Centres had taken
the present financial position of the Union as the opportunity of
bringing up the scheme, and in support of his statement he read to the
meeting the circular dated 18th October 1888, issued by the conveners of
the Birmingham meeting Mr. Todd was frequently interrupted by cries of
No, no from the provincial delegates in the course of his remarks upon
this point. Mr. Todd complained somewhat bitterly that the Centres had
left out of their scheme the most vital question of finance. Speaking
generally, he thought altogether that the provinces had failed to make
out a case. It was proposed by the scheme to abolish the Executive, and
in place they would have the Perambulating Council and the Emergency
Committee with the requirements of the Union's work. He felt that the
proxy voting scheme had not worked, and that it was very desirable to
meet the Local Centres as far as they could, in some way or another to
enable their voices to be heard upon the Council, and their votes and
opinions fully recorded. (Loud applause). At that moment he was not
prepared to suggest any means by which that could be done, but he was
heartily with the Local Centres in a desire to find such means but he
did not think that the proposed scheme would provide a way out of the
difficulty, but would rather accentuate and perpetuate it. He advised
the acceptance of his amendment as it would establish a principle that
there should be a reform, and then leave it to another Committee to
arrange all necessary details, and bring up a scheme and report to the
Council. (Loud applause)
Mr. Pye English seconded.
Mr. Gurney, of Bradford, in an effective speech strongly
supported Mr. Hickson's motion. He could not see why in London
business was transacted by a London Committee. A Council formed from the
United Kingdom should not touch such business at all. Inasmuch as the
provincial men had spent some £50 to £75 in regard to the bringing up of
the scheme, and had also given a great deal of time and attention to the
matter, and had done a good deal of travelling about, he thought that
was a good reason for their claiming, as provincials, a direct
representation on the Council. At present they had not the proper
facilities for putting their views before the Council, unless they came
up with a relay of speakers to meet the points which were suggested on
the opposite side. It was impossible that a delegate could be in
thorough union with the provinces. At present they felt they had no
voice on the Council. Under the present system, it meant they would
have to send up a very large number of provincial members, which would
be obviated by a revised and smaller Council. Although the proxy
voting scheme, had been a provincial idea, they were not satisfied with
the result, and if the provinces were to take a lively interest in the
Union, they must be directly represented. They had not touched upon the
finance question. Generally speaking, that was a thing which could only
be amicably discussed by a committee. The provincials to a man would
give the proposed Council whatever was thought right. They did not wish
to have a poverty-stricken Council. They would back it up even at the
expense of the Local Centres. There had been much misunderstanding
about the Perambulating Council. It was quite wrong to suppose that the
proposed Council should move about all over the country. That would not
work at all. They merely meant that the Council should have the power
to perambulate and meet elsewhere than in London if necessary. For
instance, at any championship or other representative cycling gathering,
they might have power to hold a meeting, and secure the attendance of
all the leading lights of the cycling world. As to the work being done
twice, that was a grand mistake. It was quite the reverse, for a Local
Centre could bring up a matter and settle it there and them. An
Executive would still be in existence, although under another name. It
was admitted on all hands that they must have an Executive of some sort,
but if the London work was taken off its shoulders it would have much
less to do than at present. The scheme merely provided for the
representation of the provinces on the Council, and a London Local
Centre. If those two points were conceded to the provinces, he thought
they would find they were anxious to meet the London views in every
Mr. Brookes stated that it was his opinion that the Local Centre
delegate was always listened to with the greatest courtesy and
attention, from the mere fact that he was such a representative. He
wished to somewhat tone down Mr Todd's remarks, which he thought were
perhaps likely to engender friction, and he trusted the matter might be
discussed amicably in order that, if possible, they might come to some
understanding which would be mutually satisfactory.
Mr Sturney supported Mr. Hickson's proposal, and said that if the
meeting would adopt the two points mentioned by Mr. Gurney, he thought
the provinces would be quite willing to accept any fair composition of
Mr. Boult, in a very lengthy speech, supported Mr. Todd's
amendment, and expressed his hearty agreement with the desire of the
provinces that they should be more adequately represented upon whatever
kind of Council they might form. With regard to the Perambulating
Council, he thought they would experience great difficulty in always
securing a quorum. As regards the better representation of the
provinces, he thought the matter was in the hands of the provincial
party, who, by putting their shoulder to the wheel, could make the Local
Centres more powerful than the membership of London, and thus secure
greater voting power. The present system of proxy voting was a farce.
Mr. Beningfield thought the question was really one now of London v.
the Provinces and vice versa. (Cries of No, no). He judged this from
the bitter remarks of Mr. Todd (No, no) He thought the amendment had
better be lost. He has consulted his own club (Pickwick), and the whole
matter had been adequately discussed, and they had passed a resolution
to the following effect: That this club is in entire sympathy with the
requisition of the Local Centres - (hear,hear) - and also considers that the
in future should adjudicate on racing matters only. (Laughter)
The club is also of opinion that the general interests of cycling are
well looked after by the C.T.C (Loud laughter). The great fault of the
Union had been "patching", and instanced the parable of the boy and the
knife. They were so patched up that the sooner they started a new coat
the better. He thought the Executive should be abolished, and in its
place a smaller working Council and a good system of home rule adopted.
He thought they did not want a Union. They had the
National Cyclist's Training Club - (laughter) - which he thought did everything that
was needed. He also thought that racing should be attended to by the
union of clubs. (Renewed laughter).
Mr. Needham followed.
Mr. Appleton said the provinces did not desire in any way to
"squash" London. It was a pity that the detailed scheme had ever been
studied at all, and a number of delegates at Birmingham had objected to
its being discussed. He did not agree with the Perambulating Council,
but at the same time he agreed it should have the power of moving about
if it wanted to, which he did not think the present Council had. (A
Voice: Yes, it has) They did not grumble at their present delegates,
but they did want direct representation. He thought there had been a
large amount of bad blood raised over the discussion (No, no) The
provinces had in no way bound themselves up with the extended scheme.
He did not agree with the proposed representation of London on the
scheme, and supplemented generally the previous remarks of the speakers
on his own side.
Mr. McCandlish drew attention to the length of the agenda before
the meeting, and suggested that a division should now be taken. He
would, however, ask members to vote for Mr. Todd's amendment, as being
most desirable from every point of view. If Mr. Hickson carried his
proposition, it would simply be by the weight of the proxy votes which
he and his party had brought up. He thought that was a most
unsatisfactory way of voting, and could not be accepted as final. It
would be much better to leave it to a properly constituted committee to
be discussed quietly and reasonably. (Applause)
Mr. Griffiths (the Hon. Sec of the Birmingham Local Centre),
referring to Mr. Boult's remarks as to increasing the membership of the
Local Centres, wished to say that he himself had worked honestly and
hard to that end, and had succeeded pretty satisfactorily. But there
was always a difficulty in the way of adding to his Centre, from the
fact that the clubs would not support the Union because they considered
that it really belonged to London, and dealt mostly with Metropolitan
work. That was of course unsatisfactory, and the present scheme was now
brought forward, not with the object of demanding certain rights and
privileges, but with the idea that by this means they could strengthen
the Union in all its branches. As to the Perambulating Council, he did
not approve of the term. It simply meant that whenever Council work
required to be done, a Council meeting should be held in whatever
district the necessity arose, so that the matter should be attended to
on the spot. They could not do much wrong by accepting this
Perambulating Council, for it would simply have the power to meet
elsewhere than in London, if necessary, and emphasized the remarks of
the previous speakers that the requirements of the provinces were summed
up in the two points, that London should be made a Centre, and that the
provinces should have direct representation on the Council.
Mr. Price hoped they would not be deluded by the remarks of Mr.
Beningfield who, he thought, was somewhat out of date - inasmuch as he did
not even know what proxy voting meant. They had been told that the
skeleton scheme was not favoured by a large majority of the provincial
delegates, but only by a few members. He thought the majority of London
men would be in favour of a London Local Centre. At the same time a
question arose as to how the Local Centres would be able to find the
funds for the purpose of carrying on the whole of the affairs of the
Union within their own districts. As regarded the representation of the
provinces on the Council, he thought that the proxy voting that evening
would show that they had a very strong voice on all matters if they
secured a proportionately large attendance at their Local Centre
meetings. There was in London a very large amount of business
transacted which he might call "Imperial". He advised the acceptance of
Mr. Todd's amendment, so that they might have the matter discussed, and
not have the scheme thrust down their throats. The Local Centres would
have been better advised, if they had suggested that London should have
sent delegates to draw up a scheme in the first instance, and thus give
London a chance of being heard the same as the provinces.
Mr. Halliwell, who spoke amid cries of "Divide", representing the
Brighton Local Centre said he could not support the provincial scheme
for reorganisation as it stood. His Centre could do so if the
Perambulating Council was omitted, but they would prefer to vote in
favour of Mr. Todd's amendment to send the matter to a Committee to
Mr. Hickson then replied upon the whole question, and said it was
evidence that the provinces had the interest of the Union at heart by
the mere fact of the expense and trouble they had gone to in the matter.
They all admitted the necessity for reform. He continued his remarks,
which were particularly directed against the views of Mr. Todd at some
length. As to the matter of suspension in the extended scheme, they
stated that suspensions should be subject to the approval of the
Council, or at any rate the Council should have the power to alter any
decision regarding suspensions. They did not propose for a moment to
take away from the Council the power to alter any suspension, and,
therefore, the question was entirely the same as under the present
rules. It had been said that if they had local self-government, they
would have different rules in every Centre. That merely existed in Mr.
Todd's own imagination. They certainly did go in for the abolition of
the present Executive, which they considered did not do the work in the
way that the provinces required them to do. If London did its own work,
the provinces would have very much less to do, and for work that
required to be done at a short notice, and which would be very small,
the proposed emergency committee would be quite sufficient. It had been
said that Londoners had no desire to oppose the provinces, and he might
say that the latter had no desire to oppose London. His proposition did
not bind the Council to any alteration of a single rule. It simply
asked for the adoption of certain principles, which should be embodied
in the reformed constitution at some future date. Mr. Green rose to a
point of order, and asked whether by accepting the proposition it would
bind the Council to accept the whole of the principles which were
brought up and set out on the agenda. The Chairman said it would carry
with it the whole of the scheme of reorganisation. Mr. Hickson then
continued with his reply, and said that he understood from Mr.
Beningfield that the Executive had been asking for proxies on the
Mr. Prout : I think that is not the case; as far as my
knowledge goes there was nothing of the kind.
Mr. Hickson : I withdraw the remark. I was under that
impression. In conclusion, Mr. Hickson said that if the meeting would
allow him to withdraw the word "perambulating" altogether, and leave it
an open question, he would do so, but his party could not accept the
amendment as it stood now as against No. 1, but they would be perfectly
willing to accept it in the place of No. 2 (Applause).
The amendment was then voted upon, and after a division had been
taken (Messrs. Green and Gurney being appointed tellers), the result
was announced as being - for 106, against 118. The amendment was
therefore lost. The Chairman : The proposal before the meeting now is
that moved by Mr. Hickson, and which requires a two thirds majority.
Mr. Hickson : I rise to order; it does not alter any rule.
The Chairman : I have thought over the matter a good many times, and I am
of opinion that it is a new rule in the sense provided for by the rules.
Mr. Wallis Roberts pointed out that unless the Local Centres
secured the necessary majority the whole matter would drop and could not
be brought up again for six months. On the agenda paper there was also
an amendment in the name of Mr. Macrae, somewhat similar to that of Mr.
Todd, and as to this the chairman ruled that it could not be accepted.
Mr. Hickson's motion was then put to the vote with the result that 145
votes were recorded for and 100 against, the result being that
two-thirds majority was not obtained, and the motion therefore lost.
Mr. Hickson then enquired whether he might be allowed to withdraw the
last sentence of his motion, in order to meet the views of the London
delegates. Some discussion ensued upon this, it being pointed out that
no amendment could be brought before the Council meeting.
Mr. Hickson was about to move for the appointment of a committee
in accordance with his second proposition whereupon.
The Chairman ruled Nos. 2, 3 and 4 out of order, and the matter
consequently came to an abrupt conclusion.
The Report of the Executive: Permanent Disqualification of Three Riders
Mr. Sheppee moved, and Mr. Low seconded, the adoption of this
report, which was received without comment, with the exception of the
"21. The Executive had brought under their
notice the charges against two riders of having taken the train during
the 24 hours' road ride. After investigation, these charges were
considered fully proved, and, being admitted, the riders were suspended
until 31st December, 1890."
"22. The Executive also investigated the
cases of two riders for malpractices in connection with a 12 hours' road
ride, in June last. One rider was suspended until 31st December 1890,
and the other was reprimanded and cautioned as to his future conduct."
Mr. Low asked for the names of the men who had been suspended.
These having been given by Mr. Sheppee.
Mr. Low moved as an amendment to the report That the said three
riders be permanently disqualified. Some months ago they had suspended
on suspicion various riders for having accepted money from makers for
riding their machines. That decision was not only confirmed at a
Council meeting, but the men were professionalised. He had nothing to
say against that, although it was only an offence against the laws of
the Union. It was no moral offence against the laws of the country, and
he asked for equal justice to be meted out to the three riders in
question. He thought a temporary suspension would not meet their case,
and considered that an example should made to encourage the others. Mr.
Letchford, seconded : He did not think there was a racing or ex-racing
man in the Executive who would not be thoroughly in accord with the
Mr. A.J. Wilson objected to the proceedings altogether. It was
contrary to precedent to increase any sentence on hearsay evidence. An
Appeals Committee had been provided to meet the requirements of such
cases. He opposed it on principle, without going into the question as
to whether the sentence was correct or not. Mr. Beningfield thought
the Union was going beyond its province in interfering in the matter at
all, the question having arisen in connection with road racing which the
did not acknowledge. Mr. Bower strongly supported the amendment.
Mr. Hartung pointed out that the matter could not be referred to
the Appeals Committee, until an appeal had been actually lodged.
Mr. Sheppee thought the Council would be acting practically on no
evidence whatever. The men in question had apologised, and asked for
leniency. The effect of rewarding them with permanent disqualification,
would not be to encourage others to admit their faults.
The amendment was then put to the vote and resulted as follows:
- For 30, against 19. Carried.
The report as amended was then adopted.
The Report of the Championships Sub-Committee
Mr. Hillier has a grievance
Mr. Hillier moved that this report be referred back, and made
assertions which he said he was prepared to support by evidence to show
that several of the statements in the said report were erroneous.
He never saw such a remarkable document in his life.
He chiefly objected to that portion of the report which stated that "no other gentleman"
(than Mr. Hillier) "was asked, either directly or indirectly, to act as
judge at the Halifax meeting,"
and said that a letter had been sent to
Mr. Arthur Illingworth, offering him the position of judge.
In his hand he stated he held a programme to the effect that the judges at the
meeting in question were
"G. Lacy Hillier, Stanley C.C., and Mr. Richard Roberts, chairman of the Bradford Local Centre."
Mr. Hillier spoke at length, and offered to lay his evidence before the Executive.
Mr. Godbold seconded.
Mr. Beningfield supported.
Mr. Harvey explained that the report had been made to the
Executive and not to the Council, and the former had thought proper to
insert it in the Review. As far as he was aware the sub-committee would
stand by their report. If Mr. Hillier had any evidence to bring
forward to the Executive it would doubtless be considered and gone into.
They had had evidence of Mr. Hillier's before in other cases, and which
had not been so satisfactory.
Mr. Hillier : When, Mr. Harvey ?
Mr. Harvey : It is not necessary for me to inform Mr. Hillier
when. He knows as well as I do. Mr. Letchford disagreed with the
report, and thought the paragraph objectionable to Mr. Hillier was an
Mr. R. E. Phillips explained that the reason for the appearance
of Mr. Roberts's name on the programme was the fact that he had been
appointed judge of the Local Centre championship by the Local Centre
itself, and that the sub-committee in no way appointed him. As regarded
the alleged asking of gentlemen other than Mr. Hillier to act as judge,
he would say that they had under consideration the names of two
gentlemen to act as judge at Halifax - Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gurney.
Those names were submitted to
the Local Centre, but Mr. Lobley refused to ask them. They were never
asked, and it was never put before them. Thus the sub-committee were
quite correct in their statement.
Mr. Bower supplemented the remarks of the last speaker.
Mr. Price thought the explanations of Messrs. Phillips and
Harvey quite satisfactory.
Mr. Hillier's motion was then voted upon and lost - 25 for and 28 against.
The Proposed New Financial Scheme
Mr. Low moved, on behalf of the Finance Committee appointed by
the Council: That the subscription to the Union shall consist of a
capitation charge on each member, the amount of such charge to be fixed
annually by the Council of the Union, and explained that what they had
done was to go back to the old capitation fee for members and clubs.
(Hear, hear). They had gone thouroughly into the matter, and had come
to the conclusion that Mr. Sheppee's scheme, however admirable in
itself, had not worked well. There was not the least doubt that the
income of the Union had very materially dropped under the new scheme,
not entirely, perhaps, through the fault of the scheme itself, but
because it had not been sufficiently worked. He knew Mr. Sheppee held
that view. That it had not been properly worked was shown by the fact
that Mr. Sheppee himself was not a member of the Union; and although
Mr. Sheppee had hoped to capture members all over the world, he had not
been able to capture his own 5s. (Loud laughter.) The new scheme, if
adopted, would, he believed, double the income from clubs. A large
amount of support had been accorded to it by the provincial and London
clubs. He would mention, too, the Surrey and the London. There ought,
of course, be some clubs who would rather resign than pay the capitation
fee, but the change would not affect to a very great extent the majority
of clubs which averaged between 12 and 20 members. As regarded
independent members, it could not have happened more fortuitously for
his scheme than that the C.T.C. had just completed a postal ballot, the
results of which were that a majority of about 93 (only a proportion
voting) were in favour of keeping to the 2s. 6d. subscription. The
Union might drop a little money at first, but that would soon be
altered. Mr. Britten seconded, and quoted a long array of figures,
which he contended justified the new scheme. Mr. Smith, of the Holborn
C.C, said his club would not pay the capitation fee. It would mean an
increase from £3 to £10 in their subscription to the Union.
Mr. Baguley, of the Chelsea B.C, supported the change, and in
reply to some remarks of the previous speaker, said it was understood
that clubs only paid on their active members.
Mr. Hickson proposed, as an amendment, to move to omit the word
"annually". There should be no uncertainty in the matter.
Mr. Boult seconded.
The motion was then discussed as amended.
Mr. Sheppee opposed it most strongly. He was a member of the
Union. He likened the bringing up of the scheme to the old fable of the
mountain in labour producing a mouse. Mr. Sheppee was proceeding to
discuss the scheme generally, but was ruled out of order. He continued
by saying that if the subscription were reduced they would be unable to
send the Review to every member, and the advertisements would drop off,
which would enormously increase the cost of its production. He
contended that the new scheme would not, as he had been claimed for it,
put the Union on a sound financial basis. They would still have their
wish to work curtailed by their limited funds. He felt he must say that
the scheme was rotten and unworkable. It was generally admitted that
the independent members would in the future be the backbone of the
Union. (No, no.) Club members generally would take no interest in the
working of the Union. At present several had no idea whether their club
was affiliated or not.
Mr. R. E. Philips supported the new scheme.
Mr. Low replied, and said that part of the proposed scheme was
the old one under which the Union was formed and worked for many years,
and was found to work well. Mr. Sheppee's scheme had practically
worked for two years with unsatisfactory result. Mr. Sheppee was
horribly sarcastic at his (the speaker's) expense, and had said that the
statement that he was not a member of the Union was as correct as his
other statements. But he (Mr. Low) was only bound by the official list
in which Mr. Sheppee's name was not included as a member. What Mr.
Sheppee had probably done was what he himself had done, viz., to pay his
5s. before the present meeting. Mr. Sheppee was the man who was going
to pioneer his scheme and drag it through the country in a blaze of
triumph with rockets, and gums, and banners, and things. (Laughter)
They were to have thousands of members, but Mr. Sheppee quite forgot to
pay his own 5s. until after the list had been published. (Laughter).
Under Mr. Sheppee's scheme the Union had lost money. The new scheme,
at any rate, provided more money than the old, even if it did not
provide sufficient. The motion was then put to the vote, with the
result that 81 were recorded for, and 51 against. It was, however lost
as a rule, having failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority.
Mr. A.J. Wilson moved the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. Low said he took it that the discussion on the scheme would
be continued at the point where it had left off. He felt sure the
result of the voting would have been totally different had there been a
full room. If the attendance had been larger, and the voting against
him, he would have called his committee together to consider whether or
not they should withdraw their scheme.
The Chairman said it would be in order to proceed with the
discussion of the rest of the scheme at the adjourned meeting. It was
understood that the date for the adjourned meeting was left to be fixed
by the Executive, due notice to be given. Mr. Hickson said he hoped in
his probable absence some gentleman would move the amendments which
stood in his name on the agenda.
The Result of the Benefit Meeting
Mr. Sheppee said that he had received £100 on account of the
proceeds of this meeting.(Applause) He understood the total amount to be
handed over would not be less than £310. (Renewed applause).
A vote of thanks was accorded to the chairman, and the meeting
adjourned at 10.45.
The 1930 Explosion at Hickson and Partners
4th July 1930
Castleford Explosion Origin
Acid Mixing Plant Fumes
Then huge flame
Response to Appeals for Homeless.
Mr Bernard Hickson, managing director of Messrs. Hickson and Partners, Ltd., Castleford,
at whose chemical works the disastrous explosion occured on Friday, said, in a statement last night, that the
explosion occurred in the acid mixing
plant, and not in the nitration department,
as had been reported. This made it
all the more difficult to understand what
The accident was preceeded by a rush
of brown fumes from which there suddenly
occurred a large yellow flame similar to an
enormous gas flame.
Mr Phillips, the chief engineer, with
the leading members of the works fire
brigade, immediately rushed for the works
chemical fire engine, but this was not
started. Skitt and Arthurs and two or three
other men pushed it towards the
fire, got the engine into place, and were
proceeding to get it into operation when
the explosion occurred. So far there was
no information as to the cause of the
Bravery of the dead.
Mr Hickson said Mr T. P. Carr,
managing director of the Yorkshire Coking
and Chemical Company, came immediately
after the explosion, and at considerable
danger rendered invaluable assistance in
getting out the injured and killed. The
fact that the chief engineer and four foremen
were among the dead spoke for their
bravery. The bulk of the men who had
been killed had been there for many years,
and their very presence near the source of
danger proved their bravery, because
normally they would not be working near it.
The benzol plant and storage, which was
near the seat of the explosion, fortunately
had been designed by the latest modern
safety practice, and it did not even catch
fire except for a very small section, which
was kept under by the Castleford Fire
Brigade for half an hour and then put out.
Through the assistance rendered by the
Fire Brigade, coupled with the bravery of
some of the chemists, danger points such
as the benzol house were isolated, thus
preventing the spreading of the fire, and possibly
further serious explosion.
They had received offers of assistance
from many firms in the chemical trade in
the country, which in the reorganisation
period would be of great value. In consequence
of the explosion the number of
unemployed in the Castleford district has increased by about 100.
Survey of Damage.
Over 7,000 Meals Served to Stricken.
Castleford people are gradually recovering
from the shock caused by the explosion,
and in many respects yesterday the
town was in a more normal condition.
Having made arrangements for looking
after the people who have been rendered
homeless, the members of the Urban Council
and their officials have been able to
give a little more cnsideration to the
steps that will have to be taken to repair
the damage to property. A preliminary
survey by the town surveyor was made yesterday,
and it is anticipated that in the
next few days definite information will
have been gathered as to the exact nature
and extent of the damage and what will
have to be done.
The number of people who are being
housed and fed at the Gaiety Ballroom has
increased to nearly 600, and the arrangements
for both feeding and sleeping are
working satisfactorily. Some 7,000 meals
have already been served.
Prior to the interment yesterday afternoon
at the Barlow Moor Cemetery, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, of the chief
engineer of the works, of Mr T. G.
Phillips, who is one of the victims, the
first portion of the funeral service was
taken at St. Michael's Church, Castleford,
by the Vicar, the Rev. F. B. Brass, who
was assisted by the Rev G. L. Barber,
curate. The coffin was preceeded by many
employees of Messrs. Hickson and Partners
and Inspector Gee representing the
West Riding Police and there also attended
members of the various organisations with
which Mr Phillips was associated.
Members of the Castleford Urban
Council present were councillors Robshaw
(Chairman), Anson, Brooks, Adamson,
Long, Dodsworth, Long, Millar, Jepson,
Dodd, and Dr Chrispin, with the principal
officials. Castleford Chamber of Trade
was represented by Mr E Mercer and Mr
B. G. Taylor, President and Secretary
respectively; Castleford Cricket Club by
Mr E Taylor, and Castleford Conservative
Club by Mr J. G. Stephen, Chairman
of the Committee, and other members, including
Messrs. J. Wynne, S. Fawbert, A.
Fowler, H. Atkins, E. A. Hewitt, and A.
Brown. Messrs. Hickson and Partners
were represented by Mr Bernard Hickson
managing director; Mr G. H. Frank,
works technical director; and Mr H. W.
Hull, traffic manager, and other members
of the staff attended.
The funeral of Mr James Edward Skitt
took place at Castleford Cemetery, the
service being conducted by the Rev B.
Drewery, Primitive Methodist minister.
Representatives of the firm were present,
and at each funeral expressions of
sympathy with the bereaved were tendered
and tribute was paid to the character of
the dead men.
One of the injured men, John Chapman,
of Low Green, Knottingley, was discharged
from the local hospital yesterday, and the
remaining four men who are detained are
reported to be making steady progress.
Fund now £1,000.
Leeds Lord Mayor's Appeal Brings in £635.
The Distress Fund opened by the Castleford
Urban Council now totals about
£1,000. Among the latest promises of a
donation is one for 100 quineas from the
Pearl Assurance Company. The street
collection on Sunday in the town realized
about £200, largely in small cash, and the
staff of one of the local banks volunteered
to assist in counting the money.
In other directions help is given freely,
and in the words of Mr W. E. S. Barnes,
Acting Clerk to the Urban Council, it is
impossible to enumerate all who are helping.
A special performance in aid of the
Fund is to be given at the Theatre Royal
tomorrow afternoon, and a similar effort
is to be arranged by the management of
the Queen's Theatre.
The following appeal was made yesterday
by Sir James Hinchliffe on behalf of
the West Riding County Council:-
"A Public Relief Fund has been opened
to assist the people of Castleford in their
dire distress resulting from the appalling
disaster which occurred on Friday last,
and the Chairman of the County Council,
Sir James Hinchliffe, desires to make a
County Appeal for donations to the Fund."
"It is impossible at the moment, to
estimate the extent of the personal and
material injuries sustained by the townspeople
of Castleford. Thirteen people lost
their lives in the explosion, several others
were seriously injured, about 300 houses
were wholly or partly wrecked, and some
500 people rendered homeless."
"Donations will be gratefully acknowledged
by Sir James Hinchliffe, or by the
West Riding Treasurer (Mr John Durham)
at the County Hall, Wakefield. - J.
Charles McGrath, Clerk of the County Council."
Leeds Lord Mayor's Fund.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds desires to acknowledge
receipt of the following donations
200 0 0
The Yorkshire Conservative Newspaper Co (Limited)
100 0 0
Messrs. Joshua Tetley and Son, Ltd.
100 0 0
Collected on Children's Day
Judges and Tom Thumb Band per Mr F. S. Pickles
40 10 6
Judges and Officials, per Mr J. Fielding
11 5 6
Mr Craven Gilpin
1 1 0
52 17 0
The "Yorkshire Evening News"
50 0 0
Congregation of St Augustine's (Wrangthorn) Church
24 4 9
The Lord Mayor of Leeds
20 0 0
Messrs James Hargreaves and Sons (Leeds) Limited
10 10 0
Mr and Mrs R. K. Calvert
10 10 0
Messrs John Blackburn, Limited
10 0 0
Mr and Mrs H. S. Wainwright
10 0 0
Albion, Limited, Leeds
10 0 0
Mr Joseph Clark
5 5 0
Messrs S. Tetley and Son (Doncaster), Ltd
5 5 0
Lieut-Colonel and Mrs E. Kitson Clark
5 0 0
Mr G. B. Suggitt
5 0 0
Mr C. Skitt
3 3 0
Yorkshire Rubber Co. (S. B. Smith)
3 3 0
Mr Henry Budgen
2 0 0
Mr Robert Webb
2 0 0
Mr F. H. Davisworth
1 1 0
Mr and Mrs F. Swales
1 0 0
1 0 0
"Suntur" per "The Yorkshire Evening Post"
1 0 0
Captain J. C. Wright (Church Army)
Mr Alderman W. J. Armstrong
Mr J. H. and Miss E. Webb
Mr C. A. S. Brittenden
Miss H. Gowing
Miss L. Miller
£635 0 3
The Explosion at Hickson & Partners from The Times, 29th July 1930
The Castleford Explosion
Expert evidence at inquest
The Coroner's inquiry into the explosion
at the chemical works of Messrs.
Hickson and Partners, Limited, Castleford,
on July 4th, when 13 lives were lost,
32 people were injured, and great damage
caused to property, was resumed at
Dr D. E. Watts, Inspector of Explosives,
was present, and Mr R. S. Bishop, of Bradford,
represented Messrs Hickson and Partners, Limited.
The Coroner said that the explosion
occurred in or near a mixer in which sulphuric
and nitric acids were mixed, and the jury would
have to say whether the occurrence was accidental
or the result of negligence, and, if so,
what was the degree of negligence.
Mr George Herbert Frank, technical director
and works manager, said that he was in the laboratory
and saw a small brown cloud over
the nitration department. He went out and saw
a bright light. It was followed by a big roar,
and all went very dark. He tried to dive under
same wood for cover and then came out and
sent for the fire brigade. He asked the brigade
to try and extinguish an outbreak at the
benzole house and also to train hoses on to
the chlorine tank. Later the Leeds fire brigade
arrived, and with two of the men he searched
for and found some of the dead and injured.
The place was full of fumes at the time. He
described the technical details of the acid
After the explosion he warned the workers
remaining in the unaffected portions of the
works and cleared them out. He could not
say whether or not the acid mixer was working
on the day of the explosion. There should
be nothing in the mixers but the two acids.
Neither of the acids nor the mixture would
burn. The mixture was not explosive.
Referring to the nitric acid "egg", he explained
that this was a heavy metal container. An
old one near the mixing plant was blown into
fragments. He gathered up the portions of
another one from as far away as 600 yards.
Portions of the mixers were found scattered
over a wide area some of them in an office
700 yards away.
The coroner:- What was the effect of the
explosion? - There was an enormous pressure
of wind. Two walls, one a 14in. one, were
blown over, and plant at the south of the
mixer was moved bodily. The heavily built
nitric acid stills were shattered, and the roofs
of all our buildings were broken.
Do you think all this is from an explosion in
the region of the mixer spreading outwards?
Have you any opinion as to what there was
in the process to cause a fire and an explosion?
- There should be nothing in it to cause
that. The process had been carried on at the
works since 1915.
Can you suggest any cause? - On the Saturday
morning afterwards I felt certain that a
hydro-carbon had got into a wrong department.
That would explain the brown fumes,
the possibility of fire, and a vapour explosion.
Mr Frank said that there were benzine and
other hydro-carbons in the works, but he did
not see how they could have found their way
to the mixer. The nitric acid drums were
easily distinguishable. It was not likely that
if benzole had been put in the nitric acid
"egg" by mistake it would have passed
Mr J. Law (Superintending Inspector of
Factories): - If there had been an undue
amount of nitro bodies in the acid supplied
to the mixer, would there have been an
explosion? - I don't think so.
Would it have had any effect? - I don't see
how it could have formed brown fumes. There
is one possibility - that the agitators in the
mixer failed and then there might have been
a boil-over. I do not think that the boil-over would
have caused an explosion.
Mr Frank produced portions of nitric acid
and hydrocarbon drums, showing that entirely
different screw keys were necessary for
opening the bungs. There was little possibility
of the drums receiving the wrong
contents. After the explosion they found a
benzol drum near one of the "acid eggs".
The coroner: - If the wrong drum had been
used someone made a grevious mistake?
A shout of "Fire"
Arthur Edwin Swales said that on July 4
he was working at the mixer. He prepared
the mixer and filled the "egg" with nitric
acid. There was no doubt about it being acid.
At times there were doubts, owing to a
difference in colour, and then a sample was
tested. He had never found anything else but
the acid. On July 4 he left the mixer to take
a sample of the sulphuric acid to the
laboratory, when he heard the foreman,
Mathews (one of those killed), shout "Fire".
The mixer was left running when he went
with the sample. They both dashed towards
the mixer. He picked up a hose and was just
going to shout a warning not to put water
in the mixer when the explosion occurred.
The flames were coming from inside the
mixer. The witness agreed that he turned on
nitric acid into the mixer before starting the
agitator, though he had been told that the
agitator should be started first.
Hubert A. Hoyle, manager of the sulphuric
acid department at the works, said that they
had tried, with samples of acids such as were
in use when the disaster occurred, to create
either flames or an explosion, and had failed.
He could advance no theory to account for the
accident. He had spent a fortnight studying
the problem and could think of nothing.
Arthur Redman, another employee at the
works, who took the acid drums to Swales,
said it was impossible to mistake them for
hydro-carbon drums. His mate and he saw
fumes over the mixer and started running.
He glanced back and saw it all in flames.
Then came an explosion and timber and bricks
fell all round them. His mate was hit.
Mr Frank recalled, said that he did not
think there could have been any leak in a
benzole pipe line near the mixer which could
have accounted for what occurred. At the same
time that theory could not be entirely dismissed,
and he was of opinion that some
benzine or toluine had got in somewhere.
Mr Sidney H. Newman, Inspector of
Factories, Home Office, said that there
could be little doubt that the fumes observed
were caused by the introduction of some
organic matter into the mixer. The contents
might then boil over, and if they met wood
or other organic matter could quite easily
cause a fire.
The coroner: - Would an explosion be
likely to follow? - It is impossible to say.
Mr Newman added that he was convinced
that certain oils floating on the sulphuric
acid in the storage tank had found their way
into the mixer.
Dr Watts said that he thought the more
probable cause of the disaster was that some
nitro body had got into the mixer, with the
result that there was an uncontrolled nitration,
and subsequent explosion.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental
death from the explosion, which occurred in
the acid mixer". They added that the explosion
was accidently caused by the presence
of nitro body in the mixer and that there was
no negligence. They recommended that in
future acids should be tested before being
placed in the "eggs".
The Court sat for nearly 12 hours.
Letter to Daddy from his father, Ernest
Bedford 11th July 1930
My dear Hal
We were delighted to receive yours and Mollie's
extremely sympathetic and kind letters today and though
there seems so much to be said I do not know how to
As regards the accident the papers have told you most
but the enclosed cutting is perhaps most to the point.
I was at Castleford on Tuesday and Wednesday last. Under
the 15 year old acid mixing plant there is a crater that would
take the whole of Mrs Pullan's House. Colbeck says that in the
war from the biggest German Shell he never saw a larger one.
By the H&P plant ... machinery pans? ... are piled up
10-12 feet high. Phillips Skitt & Oliver were getting the Chemical
Fire Extinguisher out: the first 2 were killed instantaneously. Oliver,
the chemist, was blown down after being peppered in the face & chest from
the fumes; is not much the worse.
Frank was heroic & so was Dorothy; as soon as she
heard of it she tried in vain to telephone then young ...
brought a car & took her over. She went straight in to the centre
of the Works, saw the stretcher cases brought out & distributed
relief in many ways.
I went to Matthews funeral & to the Hospital where I saw
Oliver, Newton & young ... all getting on well. Poor Newton
was badly cut up. He had just been picked for the Yorkshire
County Cricket Second Eleven. He will lose one eye which he
fears will cut that career off.
The Govt. Enquiries are pretty well through & no suspicion or blame
has been suggested, all is sympathy.
Now Bernard is on about Insurance, it is a complicated job.
The Employees liability Insurance is all in order. Mrs Phillips got £50 from
Daily Mail & £50 from Sunday Despatch. I think the Daily Mail paid
Tom? £50. The fire people want to argue they are only
responsible for Fire Damage but I hope & believe it is what has
been decided before that where, as in an case Fire ... ... &
there is ample evidence of this Explosion is the result consequently
included - however they may be a fight about this.
What the Third Party Claim will be goodness only knows & so
cover could be obtained for that.
I am awfully sorry to hear of the complications
following the squabble at your factory & rather at a loss to
advise. It seems to me to be a case of diplomatically sitting
on the fence & trying to keep in with both parties. Surely
if M. Carré & K are both big shareholders they must soon
realize that dissention is fatal to their interests, and if the
Dutch Chef has no technical experience, it is clearly
getting ... results he should soon want help from anyone
who can give it - so I hope an opening for you may
soon turn up. It will be sickening being in the
midst of activity & yourself having little to do. However
I guess you are probably wise not to show too strong a
leaning on M. Carré till the situation is clearer.
What are the "two hopeful jobs you have in tow".
You write such a good letter now that I feel confident
any correspondence with such will help you if it becomes
It is awfully good of both of you to be so insistent we
should come out, but at present it hardly seems possible.
We had better rest quietly here as can jig on with a little
money we have put aside as a Reserve for the few months that
will be necessary to see straight. I, of course, do not want
to touch on the £2,000 Insurance about which you suggest & document
a little time back & am not sure that it is even posssible. But I am
still a bit of an Optimist & our requirements are small.
The Talbot is not sold yet nor Fairseat. Frank's car was ... about badly but mine
was in the shed and untouched, Colbeck's also. I had entered for the
Croquet Tournament but it was scratched. I looked in yesterday
& hope to today. Shall join if possible believe Subs is only £1/1/- and
the cheapest entertainment we can have.
Uncle Godfrey, Aunt Nellie and Robbie are coming on Sunday to lunch. M. Sargent
arrives today for a week!
It is really very nice here -
Jessie & her cousin Ernest Newton came last Sunday
& were in the river for 3 hours.
With lots of warm love to Mollie & yourself
Your affect. father
Letter to Daddy from his father, Ernest, 20th July 1930
60 Bushmead Av.
My dear Hal
Mother I fancy wrote to you yesterday so will
I expect have told you most of the news here.
The weather has changed of late & it has been quite cold
& now it is raining.
I was up at the Croquet club for nearly my first game
on Saturday & played a ... level - I got on
fairly well but it was one of those days that even when right
in front of a hoop I could not get through or missed some
good chances of a 4-ball break. Finally we did a good
break with black & then getting in with blue tried to push
black, missed & then stuck in the ... with blue so if I had
been in fighting form as my ball was near I might have had a chance. As it was I
was already ¼ hour late for Tea at the Darlows, our first visit so
I resigned. Shall look forward to a return game. The
lawns will not compare with Bowdon, are nearly as heavy as
our private lawn & not as good as that when it was at its best.
Ruth was here for the weekend & Frieda is coming up for a week
in August. Aunt Annie is still here - so mother is of
course still very busy.
We hope Bobby will bring Uncle Arthur this afternoon but
with its being very cold I am doubtful.
The Croquet Club Subs is £3/3/- &£1/1/- Entrance (the
little bopok said it was only £1/1/- which I thought
hardly credible) For playing members: £1/1/- & ½ Ent. for
non-playing members - so until we know or have better news
from Castleford Mother is only joining as a non-player -
which I am sorry for as once started I think she would soon
like it. The members are very friendly & some say they
are coming to call.
We were delighted to receive Molly's letter but as she
avoided the business side shall be glad to have further
news from you.
The ... Art Silk Co Cap £600,000 here has decided to
wind up. Until "Safe guading" is assured & it now seems
much more probable after next Gen. Election, that trade cannot
flourish here & you will be well advised to stick to France
With best love to you both & hoping
Mrs Pullan &Nancy who should be writing soon will have had
a comfortable & enjoyable trip out & best ... ... ro both.
Your affect. father
P.S. I enclose a letter ... ... I believe you have
done all you can see you way to at present.
Letter to Daddy from his father, Ernest, 28th July 1930, just before his death
60 Bushmead Av.
My dear Hal
Replying to yours of 17th inst. The Castleford Relief funds
now amount to nearly £9,000.
When I was in London on Friday I was told that Bobbie &
Fiona are hoping to get married early next year - before he
goes to India if he has to go there now the London War Office
want him no longer.
I am very sorry to hear the turn of events you describe
as taking place at your works. If M. Carré (is this the correct
name?) still takes interest in Art Silk I suppose now you will
try & keep in touch with him.
Sometime back you said something about having one if
not 2 other posts in possible prospect. If you get a chance you
will I have little doubt keep in touch with them though of course
you will have to be cautious, as to what you say about the reason
for desiring a change. A tremendous change has taken place
in England now all at once Free trade is tabooed & all plump
for protection so that later ... ... Art Silk might ... ...
today it has no chance. Courtaulds & Celanese are so
powerful Hal no one else seems to get a chance & Hi shares
of all seems to have slumped to 2/- or 1/6 per £ & Helig Nuera Co
is to be wound up I believe. Moral:- to make use of your experience
stop in France or thereabouts especially as France seems so much
more prosperous & less taxed than England.
Our affairs at Castleford ... ... not made much progress.
Bernard is pessimistic about the Insurance Cos paying for damage
caused ... ... by "Explosion" matters may come to a head this
week or next.
We are hoping Mrs & Nancy Pullan are now with you & have
a pleasant journey out.
Jessie has decided she is engaged to Ernest Newton. He got a
poisoned ... & had to go into Hospital for a small operation but
it has gone through well & he came & met us all at Waterloo &
we went & saw her off at SOuthampton - but I ... Mother
has take ... It is already.
Nancy is here now - before going on tour with Ruth. Frieda comes
next week for 8-10 days then Aunt Dora for a day or two.
I have played about 3 games of croquet. I got a
4-... by 2 playing but lost to a one-bis... by 9
on a 2/8 game after taking all my many ... The lawns are
in my opinion not a patch on the Bowdon ones.
The Doctor has just been to see me & says the blood pressure
is well down since last week - which is all to the good.
With best love to Molly & yourself
Your affect, father
To: Hickson, Pontcharra, Isere, France, 30th July 1930
Letter from Bernard to his brother, Hal
Aug 2nd 1930
Thanks for yours of the 3rd
Poor Daddy couldn't have died
a better way. He was actually
on the lawn in play when
he collapsed backwards - & was
dead when they got to him.
Fortunately Nancy was at Bedford
& Aunt Annie Sagent. I got
there at 1 next day & Frieda
& Ruth later in the afternoon.
Nancy's been a brick. & got
things going till I arrived - in
fact really arranged nearly
Mummy has kept up very
well & bravely - your telegram
was a stroke of genius - she
loved you for it.
The funeral was at Undercliffe
Cemetery Bedford today & he
was buried in my mothers'
grave. Mummy especially wished
that. I sent for the Talbot
& it came down with Naylor on
Friday & we all trecked
North in that & Nancys' Austin
on Friday. Mummy went to
Nancy & Frieda & Ruth here.
Jim & Uncle Godfrey & 2
Grandage uncles came to the
funeral & a lot of friends,
business & personal, of fathers.
Mother didn't come & Nancy
stopped to look after her.
Mother & Aunt Nan & Frieda
are going to Bedford nest
Wednesday & will stay there
till Aug 31st. She will then
definitely leave there. She'll
fill in 2 or 3 months with
visits & ultimately live
with Nancy at Shipley.
Nancy may take a house &
on her income & what we think
we can fix up for mother they
will be fairly comfortable.
Daddy made a new will
last November leaving everything
to Mummy & making her sole
executor - only items left away
The Dyers & Colourists Gold Medal to Frieda.
The grandfather clock to you.
The Silver Tray - he got from the C.E.F. to me.
Mummy has handed me his watch, Diamond Tie pin - cuff links etc.
As Ruthie has nothing personal
we've decided on the Tie pin for
her & I'm going to have it mounted
as a Ladies broach for her.
Nancy will of course have
the use of all furniture
Father's private business
will collapse with H&P if
the latter goes. Virtually H&P
is hopeless unless a miracle
turns up which I think
Therefore apart from personal
effects like some furniture -
clothes etc. Father leaves
about 6000 shares in H&P worth nothing.
2 insurances worth about £1200.
His E.H. business which is worth nothing if H&P goes out.
The Talbot & Colbeck's Jowett
I got put into Mummy's name last autumn about £100. Daddy has drawn
some of that - but after funeral expences there will be enough left to keep Mummy
going till Sept.
We sold the Talbot yesterday for £130.
His debts are:
To Bank £2500
E.H. business about £100
Private about £40
to Colbeck Welch about £50
I intend to offer Colbeck the
Jowett + £20 or £25 & Pay
the private debts out of the Talbot.
Shortly after Ernest's death, Hickson and Partners went into liquidation.
From the site that had been destroyed in 1930, Hickson and Welch Ltd
was founded with fresh finance in 1931, by Bernard and George Colbeck-Welch
and the plant was rebuit.
Mr Colbeck-Welch died in 1943.
In 1940, at the beginning of the Second World War, Bernard asked his brother, my father, Hal, to join him. Daddy
was very reluctant as he considered it was very risky to leave his secure job as Works Manager at Courtaulds.
However he eventually agreed to join as Works Manager and soon became the Managing Director.
He died in 1954.
The fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the original business. 1893-1943
born : 03/10/1857 at
7am at High Street, Highgate
died : 29/07/1930
location: Highgate, London & Yorkshire
Married (1): 9th August 1889
Mary Grandage who was born 16th May 1862, died 22nd December 1894
Married (2): 16th March1900
Mary Evaline (Meg) Bergh who was born 16th March 1869, died 11th June 1954
Bernard b. 28/05/1890 d. 07/02/1968
Frieda b. 13/01/1892 d. 21/11/1978
Ruth b. 21/05/1893 d. 00/00/1970
Nancy b. 31/01/1903 d. April 1995
Henry Einem (Hal) b. 15/08/1904 d. 06/04/1954
Jessie Anne b. 11/08/1907 d. 01/06/1968
A brief history
Founded Hickson & Partners Ltd, Castleford, Yorkshire which
subsequently became Hickson International plc (but not in his lifetime)
President of the Society of Dyers & Colourists 1925
I have a letter presumably written to Jane Hickson née Brown, wife of
William Edward Hickson, his uncle, by Ernest when he was 6 years old. - She would
have been 58 - APH
Arthur presumably was Ernest's eldest (full) brother Samuel Arthur who
would have been 10 at the time (see letter)
Christened 9/9/1864 at St Pancras, Old Church. - (CFI)
Was a very good croquet player - (FMH)
First letter, received Oct 17/63, Saturday
Dear Aunt Jane
We have come home from Scarborough and now we have school again
every day. Our garden looks very nice but the trees begin to lose
their leaves. We have only one cow now and two new pupies. I hope
your leg is better. Arthur fell off our pony yesterday and hurt his
foot a little. I remain your loving Ernest Hickson
Second Letter : presumably he was staying with his Aunt Jane
All the sums, that I did this morning, were right excepting one.
In the corner of the drawer nearest the door are the books behind
them the puzzles, next to these my writing case and the box of
letters, then the copy books and slate.
I do not know many of the long words in my reading lesson. We read
about a good queen, who asked her husband to spare the six men of
Calais. We saw Paul and Virginia. Ernest
- or was he at home, and his mother elsewhere ? (His home in
Shipley was called Fairseat, but at this age he was probably living
in Highgate - was the house also called Fairseat ?
His writing is very easy to read, and very neat.
I have several packets of Uncle Ernest's letters, many written when
he was in Germany and Paris as a boy, and including some school
reports on him by a Dr. Reineke. You might like to have a look at
them sometime, they date form 1857 to 1931. There are, I should
think, about a hundred of them, but I cannot let them go out of this
country, so you'd have to come and study them here. - Joe. (my cousin, Joseph Geoffrey Einem Hickson - APH)
Pictured "with a wheel-barrow" in a photo - as a very young child
His diary for January 1875, aged 18
January 1, Friday
Highgate, skated nearly all day. George
Waterlow lent me a dress coat to go to Nettlefolds party in. Fanny
Jones came up here. Clara has bruised herself badly on the ice.
January 2, Saturday
Clara is making a scrap book for Hans v. Einem.
January 4, Monday
Highgate. Went over to Aunt Ida's with Horace.
In the afternoon I went to Granny's with Ralph and from there to
Fanny's. Whilst we were there Harry came. Then went to the
January 5, Tuesday
packed my things and started at about 5 o'clock,
we arrived half an hour to late at Harwich got a good birth on bord
had some tea before I went to bed on bord.
January 6, Wednesday
paid 8 shillings for tea & ticket on bord We
landed about 2 hours to late. Had dinner at the Bath Hotel, 2
mutton chops (2/-). started from R at about 3.5. A lot of girls were
in the same carriage with me, I changed at Arnhem & was examined at
Benthem and on bord before reaching Rotterdam.
January 7, Thursday
January 8, Friday
Hanover. Went to Polytechnic in an awful hurry
and when I got there I found I was very early being the first there.
January 11, Monday
Hannover. I took the parcel for Tante Marie to the post.
January 12, Tuesday
Hannover. Posted a letter to Uncle Arnold
saying I would come on Saturday.
January 13, Wednesday
Hannover. I had a post card from Uncle
Arnold to say I was to come on Saturday and that Tante Nandine would
14 Thursday Hannover
Hamilton asked me if I would go to a party
they are getting up for today week in Fischers Garten, it would be
awfully jolly I would like it awfully he said 3 pf entrance. I said I
would meet him at Café Tobée tomorrow at 3 and tell him. I will ask
Vaudeleur and Miss Panton first if they are going. It is so dear I
don't see the fun of paying 3 pf I have no dress clothes and boots
ties & studes.
16 Saturday Nordheim
Uncle Arnold met me at the station. I slept in
the same room with Oncle Arnold. Tante Pauline had Margenricken in
18 Monday Hannover
Went to the Theatre to see Shakespeare's "King
John" (Kunig Johann)
19 Tuesday Hannover
Vandeleur showed me a wonderful trick with 3
pieces of paper to blow so that one piece stays on your hand
21 Thursday Hannover
I have had a little headache today, and a very
bad cough indeed.
22 Friday Hannover
I got up with a much worse sore throat than
yesterday. My throat hurt me so that I could not speak. It cannot
be dyptheria as I can see no spots and my glands are not much
swollen. I shall go to bed directly after tea.
23 Saturday Hannover
(Written on Tuesday)
I stayed in bed all day because of a very bad cold. Mrs Renicke
thought it was the scarlet fever and got in an awful funk. The
doctor came and ordered me some lrissiness. I did not do anything
ate nothing and drank but little in bed chiefly tea. The medecine
was very nasty.
Got up at 3 o'clock, better felt rather weak at first.
went to bed early.
25 Monday Hannover
Got up at about 10, went down and had some
coffee, Mrs Reineche wanted me to take some more medecine but I did
not see the good and the doctor said it was unnecessary, but ordered
me some rubard tincture. I read a great deal of old Mortallity and
like it very much, and going back to College tomorrow.
27 Wednesday Hannover
Miss Panton said there were only a gentlemen
and ladies at the ball so it seems to have been a failure.
28 Thursday Hanover
I skated in the afternoon after fetching my
skates from Brandes who had sharpened them.
29 Friday Han.
could not get the glue for Uncle Arnold. I heard
from Anna Hahn that tante Pauline was coming through today.
30 Saturday Hanover
I had a post card from Tante Pauline. I
fetched her from the station and walked about in the town with her
till nearly One when I went home by tramway.
The Journal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists
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