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Celebrating 100 Years
1904 - 2004

News | History | Racing Records | Club Runs | Photos | Members


In the Beginning
Employees of the Wellington Foundry on Wellington Street in Leeds founded the Leeds Wellington Cycling Club in 1904. Among the founding members were W Keeble (his son Walter Keeble remained a member of LWCC until his death in 19??), George Watson, TL Rodgers, S Shepherd and WA Reilly. The first year saw 46 members with the headquarters being held at the Wellington Inn opposite the foundry. Today the Yorkshire Post stands on the site of the old foundry.

The main focus of the club was to promote the social side of cycling. In 1905 time trials were introduced (25, 50 and 100 miles). Also a Leeds to Saxilby and back time trial was introduced covering a total of 117 miles. The club joined the Leeds and District Cycling Association but resigned from this body on affiliating to the NCU in 1908.
Some of the original club rules included:
- That the club be called Leeds Wellington CC.
- The promotion of the social side of cycling.
- Annual subscription to be 2/6d.
- The pace of club runs to suit the slowest rider.
- Members passing the captain will be fined 3d.
- Non Foundary candidates to be ballotted.
C Haynes at the starting line - about 1912
Leeds Wellington CC - about 1912
Members of the Leeds Wellington CC at the starting line - about 1912
Newspaper cutting from 1913
Leeds Wellington CC - about 1912
The early days of the Leeds Wellington CC - from a Yorkshire post articule puplished in 1979
Among the racing rules were:
- That no member be allowed a spare machine.
- That a member must complete 10 club runs before being eligible to take part in any medal competition.
- A member must pass when overtaking another competitor on the opposite side of the road before reaching within 20 yds of him.

Club runs were held on Sundays and on weekday evenings. And on Saturday 30th July 1910 there was a midnight run to Scarborough. Speed judging contests, treasure hunts, photo runs and mystery runs were also regular features. The handbook for 1910 lists the fastest men as follows:
25 miles – 1909 E Burton 1-18-13
50 miles – 1906 JW Webster 2-44-00
100 miles – 1908 C Burton 6-17-30
117 miles – 1907 T Hurtley 7-44-30

TL Rodgers who had become the Hon. Secretary of the club immigrated to Canada in 1910. His services to cycling merited a paragraph in the local press, “This means a serious loss to the Leeds Wellington Club for whom he has acted as a scribe for some years and his club mates are showing their appreciation in a substantial way. He is a district representative for the NCU and has done yeoman service for the pastime in many ways”.

The Leeds to Scarborough and back medal ride was introduced in 1912 and the same year saw The Leeds Wellington CC win the ‘Leeds Combine Trophy’ which was a 50 mile time trial contested by nominated teams from local clubs. The trophy would be won again two years later in 1914. A press cutting excists from around this period, click here to read. At the end of a club meeting held on 10th September 1913 it was decided to buy one gallon of tea at Boroughbridge for the riders in the 50 miles handicap. During this period during the winter seasons dances known as ‘Cinderellas’, presumably they ended at midnight, were held with music provided by a pianist and a violinist. Annual ‘Balls’ were also held. One such ‘Ball’ was held on 22nd January 1913 at The Athenaeum Buildings at 9 Park Lane, dancing from 8pm to 2am. Favorite club runs in these days were the midnight run to Scarborough, Goole and river trips to Hull returning by road. Inter club runs with Leeds Westfield CC and Leeds Malvern CC were also very popular.

During WWI (1914 - 1918) the club continued to function under great difficulties. Most of its members served in the Armed Forces and the long hours for those left behind making munitions left very little energy for an enthusiastic club life. All racing was abandoned until the end of the war. 30 members of the club served in the Armed Forces during the ‘Great War’ and seven of these lost their lives. A fund was started for a memorial trophy and on 15th December 1920 at a ‘Smoking Concert and Prize Presentation’ held at the Cattle Market Hotel on Gelderd Road the trophy was presented to the winner of the handicap in the clubs 25 miles Time Trial. A two minutes silence was observed in memory of the clubs fallen. The trophy was a shield with an engraved silver mounting which has been presented annually ever since.

Between Wars
In the 1919 Combine Trophy Event Mr Denison was involved in an accident with a motor car and a ‘whip round’ was held to defray the expenses incurred in having his bicycle repaired. The amount collected (22/6d) covered the costs of the repairs.

A smoking concert on 27th June 1921 at the Cricketers Arms, Whitehall Road was held as a farewell send off to member CW Brigs prior to his departure for Australia. He was presented with a medal as the fastest novice in the 25 miles handicap, a pocket wallet and his club badge (normally the club badge had to be surrendered by members terminating their membership). The same year saw the Leeds Wellington CC win the Leeds Combine Trophy for the third time. And at the annual ‘Smoking Concert and Prize Presentation’ on 14th December 1921 held at the Black Swan Hotel, Vicar Lane saw about 100 in attendance. E Green received the Memorial Shield for winning 25 miles handicap. Again a two minutes silence was observed.

The following year in 1922 a ‘Whistle Code’ was introduced for the club runs. One blow meant cyclist could mount their bikes, two blows is steady and three blows of the whistle meant dismount. At the General Meeting the following year in 1923 it was proposed that Mrs Mary Gaunt, the proprietor of the Wellington Inn be made Patron of the club. The title continued until 1929 but after Mrs Gaunt demise the honor lapsed. During the 1920’s the Sunday club runs increased in length and starting times became very early, 6am for runs to places like Welbeck Abbey and Greta Bridge. August Bank Holiday Tours started to develop during this period and the midnight runs became ever popular. In 1926 no less than three midnight runs were listed.

During the 1930’s the club was remembered for the well-attended and extremely enjoyable club runs. Natural comedians and entertainers enlivened every run. Bill Grayson, who lost few opportunities of walking along bridge parapets on his hands, George Dent, Frank Stockdale, the club pianist at any pub or café and Albert Heaton who sang solos at club prize presentations all spring to mind. Jack Smith, the club captain in the late 1930’s was famous for his ‘short cuts’. When he said, “I know a short cut” everyone knew what that would entail, a rough stiff ride over the tops which usually added an hour or two to the expected journey times. These ‘short cuts’ have been, and still are, honored by certain club members to this day (you know who you are!). During this period racing was very much a sideline, something members dabbled in occasionally but not very seriously. In 1932 Harry Drury set a new record for the Leeds to Saxilby and back ride of 6 57 50. This still stands today. The following year Charlie Russell attacked the Leeds to Scarborough and back record on a bleak day of heavy rain and reduced it to 7 01 00. This ride was accomplished on a fixed gear of 77” (Variable gears were not used by racing men in those days). In Time Trial events competitors had to be clothed from neck to foot in ‘inconspicuous clothing’. In practice this meant black tights and Alpaca Jackets.

With the coming of the Second World War in September of 1939 many members who were active during the 1930’s joined the Armed Forces. Charlie Russell as a volunteer departed at the very beginning of the war and saw service in the Far East, Middle East, Italy and NW Europe. In Italy he was able to procure a bicycle frame which had benn built for use in the Olympic Games Road Race and after adding wheels he resumed his cycling activities earlier than most.

In the meantime older members and the under 18’s kept the club alive and it was during this war time period that the influence of younger members resulted in the Leeds Wellington CC joining the British League of Racing Cyclists who at that time advocated racing on public roads unlike the NCU who forbade massed start racing on the highway unless in was closed to traffic. The RTTC supported the NCU and would not accept BLRC riders in Time Trial events held under RTTC regulations. In 1947 returning members from WWII voted for a return to the NCU and defeated the BLRC faction. The latter led by Les Goodall resigned and formed a new club, the South Leeds Road Club.

1950’s – 1970’s
In the 1950’s the aim of the club was to put the club runs and the clubs social activities first and racing second. Doug Watkins started this line of thinking and it was he who introduced Pete Danby to the club who’s reign as Social Secretary in the 1950’s and 1960’s raised the club to a new level in social activity. In fact the 1950’s was a period in which a very tightly knit membership enjoyed all the variety that can be packed into cycling club life. The club runs played the predominant part. Mystery runs, Treasure Hunts and Paper Chases were popular during the winter months and from the Paper Chases developed the different versions of cyclo-cross, which were enjoyed as club events.

Club ‘evening 10’s’ were held weekly from May to the old August Bank Holiday mainly on a course starting near Knotford Nook on the Otley to Pool Road and continuing via Pool and the Bradford to Harrogate Road to the turn near North Rigton and back to finish opposite the starting place. In 1952 the club ‘Best All Rounder’ contest was inaugurated. This encouraged more riders to attempt the longer distances as it included the combination of 25, 50 and 100 miles Time Trials. Club records began to fall after a long period in the doldrums. Doug Fernyhough, Eric Rhodes, Doug Watkins, Johnny Watkins, Gordon Morris and Alastair Patterson all started breaking the long standing 25, 50 and 100 miles Time Trial records which had been in place since the 1930’s.

In 1954 the Leeds Wellington CC celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a highly successful dinner at Sherwin’s Restaurant, Land Lane. This Golden Jubilee Dinner was attended by George Watson, the President (again) and one of the founding members of the club 50 years before. At this time he was 80 years old and at the dinner he was presented with a gold medal to commemorate his extremely long membership and service to the club. His reminiscences of his early cycling days were received with great warmth by the packed house present. George Watson survived in office until his death in 1961.

The strong representation of Meanwood residents at this point led the adoption of the Meanwood Institute as the Headquarters and clubroom and social functions of the period were also great family occasions.

During the 1960’s there was considerable improvement in the Timer Trialing section of the pastime. Racing men like John Burgon, Roger Goode (the great Grandson of founding member George Watson), Neville Hawkin, Pete Lawson, Geoff Lawson and Keith Turner all began to make hay of the club records. In 1968 the club rules were amended to welcome Ladies to the Leeds Wellington CC. Maureen Danby, Jenny Hawkin and Alix Fernyhough were the first to join and began establishing Ladies club records. Margaret Caswell, Rita Harrison, Mary Donovan and Dot Coomber also came into the club greatly contributing to the social scene.

The 1970’s were probably the most active period of the club with a very active racing scene and popular club runs and many families started joining the club. In January 1972 the club organized the National Cyclo-Cross Championships at Temple Newsam Park before 1600 spectators.

Leeds Wellington CC at Tan Hill in 1979 - L to R: John Coomber, Bas Collins, Ian Green, Nigel Coomber, Gerald Mcgowan, Pete Chaffer, Barry Odey & Alan Kitchingham
Leeds Wellington CC before an event in Wetherby in 1977 - Pete Chaffer, Nigel Coomber & Ian Green
Start of Wales Tour in 1977 - Nigel Coomber, Pete Chaffer & Ian Green
Leeds Wellington CC at the 75th Dinner in 1979
Leeds Wellington CC at the start of a club run in January 1978
Leeds Wellington CC climing over the tops from Horsehouse in June 1979
Click here to read a Yorkshire Post articule about the Leeds Wellington CC writen in 1979 at the clubs 75th aniversary.

To be continued.......

Click on the photographs to enlarge. Use the 'Back' button on your browser to get back.

All the above was taken from a hand out written in 1974 (I’m not sure by who). I have edited and removed some of the ‘boring’ racing statistics. If anyone wants to alter anything please let me know. Also ‘we’ need to write a similar passage covering the last 30 years. Please provide me with input. We should include:
12 Hours,
Club runs (tan hill).
The 1979 75th Dinner.
Old mans weekend (and Ladies weekend).
The various families.
York Rally.
Those that have kept the club alive in resent years.
Any other suggestion?

Notes / Questions:
1. Does anyone know the names of those that died in WW1 (andII)?
2. The Memorial Trophy for the 25 Handicap – who has it – is it still awarded – names of all those that won it – anyone have a photo of it?
3. Did anyone attend the Golden Jubilee in 1954 that will be at the Centenary Dinner next year?
4. I need a list of the current members and officers.
5. I need a list of the current club runs.
6. I need a list of the current club records.
7. Also I need more photos (interesting shots, 20’s, 30’s 40’s and 50’s,).
8. Walter Keeble died when?


Please email me here
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