Rutland CC 1908 to present day!
In 1908 the church lads of Neepsend and Pitsmoor had an agreement with the church elders about riding their bikes on Sunday.
So came into being the Rutland Hall Cycling Club. At first they seemed to be riding for pleasure with a little racing as our 50 mile handicap cup dates from 1913. In the 1920’s saw the arrival of Len Ingle he was quite an accomplished rider being the first man locally to beat 5 hrs for 100 miles. He was also active in running the club being secretary and president.
About the time of the depression when most members were out of work, they seemed to spendtheir days down at Shireoaks and Lindrick Dale. In 1932 Bill Littlewood put the club in the limelight by accepting a challenge from ‘The Sheffield Star’ to ride from Sheffield to London, which he did in 8h 59mins 0s. His time was finally beaten 60 years later by Stuart Elsy in 7h 55mins 49s.
The late 1930’s saw Alwyn Cawthorne, Joe Wilson and Ron Masterman making an impact in local events. Upon the start of WW2 some members were called up in to the forces but the club kept active throughout the war years. Some other clubs suspended activities but were never reformed after the war. Len Ingle, the Coopers, Denis Bell, Bill Vickers, Jack and Tony Fouldes, Colin Barton, Ken Masterman and Jack Rowan kept things going for the Rutland CC. The wars were a good time for cyclists with hardly any cars on the roads.
After the war there was an explosion in cycling, we had club runs of sixty plus led by club captain Percy Senior, a great guy.
Early fifties saw road racing coming to the fore our leading riders in that were Ray Lockwood, Brian Trippett and Dick Bartrop the last two making it into pro ranks. Dick rode theTour of Britain with distinction.
About this time our riders were making their mark in long distance events. Joe Thompson, Lofty Leversidge and Ron Coukham all won 24hr championships and with the help of Tony Fouldes, Jim Hall and George Steers won five team championships. During this period Jim Hall took the 24 hr N.R.R.A record 441.75miles from Benny Hudson 419.25 miles. Benny was also second in the 1949 championship all rides were done under the guidance of Ron Masterman.
The early sixties saw two young lads join the club Ben Hamilton and Dave Dungworth. While Ben went for longer distances with some success. He still holds Sheffield to York record 1hr 51mins 31s. Dave went for the shorter distances doing the double in 1966 by winning the 25m and 50 national championships and repeating the feat again the following year. He also set a club record for 50miles of 1h 48mins 54s all done on a top gear of 107″ and without tribars and disc wheels.
Club Meeting Rooms
The first clubroom I remember when I joined the Rutland Cycling Club (the Club) in 1947 was a small church room at Daisy Walk, just off St.Phillips Road. Soon after this the Club moved its headquarters to the Rutland Hall where it was originally formed in 1908, at the junction of Rutland Road and Platt Street. I believe the Club began life there as part of the Rutland Church Hall Foundation, but had to leave the Hall early on in its life as the Foundation did not accept Sunday leisure activities, and Sunday club runs were the Club’s main activity at that time.
Ideas had changed between 1908 and 1947, and the Rutland Hall in 1947 was quite willing to rent a room to the Club, so once again the Club was back at the Rutland Hall. The Club left the Rutland Hall again in 1950 after some disagreement and had club meetings in a pub for a short period, however it returned again to the Rutland Hall for a few more years until 1954.
The Club’s next home was the British Railway Athletic Club situated in Platt Street, only about 100 yards from the Rutland Hall. By this time the Club was quite sound financially compared to the early post war years, when even meeting the cost of club event prizes was difficult.
The Club’s connection with the British Railway Club came about because three of its lady members worked at the British Railway offices. Through the secretary of their athletic club, the Club received an offer where it would be able to use their clubroom facilities. The offer was for the Club to enroll a nominal figure of 50 members, at an annual cost of £1 per member to the athletic club, and the Club would receive equipment to the value of this amount plus the use of the clubroom facilities. With the Club’s improved financial position certain ambitious Club members were promoting the idea of purchasing ‘roller racing equipment’ at a cost of £50. So by accepting the offer, the Club had the use of their club-room facilities and was able to purchase the ‘roller racing equipment.’
During the first year of membership the athletic club had a change of officials, some of whom were not so friendly towards the Club, and they soon realised that the agreement was heavily in favour of the cycling club and they were not prepared to honour the agreement after the first year, so the Club moved on again.
Club meetings moved around to different venues after this for a number of years, mainly to a variety of public houses. There was a strong feeling in the Club at that time, that with it being financially sound it should have its very own clubroom. Financially, the Club was carrying a balance of around £2000, equivalent to the cost of an average new house.
The opportunity to buy its own clubroom came about in an unusual way. The Clarion Club House Ltd was situated on the outskirts of Sheffield on the A625, on the road up to Fox House, with its junction with Sheephill Road. The Clarion Club House Ltd. was formed as part of the National Ramblers Association in the 1920’s to enable Sheffield ramblers to enjoy the countryside. There were several timber buildings at the Clarion location, some of quite reasonable size that had previously been used for weekend accommodation. One of the buildings was open as a tearoom, and through some of our club members calling on one occasion, it became apparent that the facilities were being used less and less. An agreement was reached with the dwindling members of Clarion Ltd. where by enrolling 50 or so Club members, at a cost of £1 per member, the Club would receive that number of shares in the Clarion Ltd. This would put more life into the Clarion and give the Club its own clubroom, and the Club’s active membership was far greater than that of the Clarions. So now the Club had its very own clubroom and at first there was lots of enthusiasm, with members helping to renovate the existing buildings. Although there were some good social gatherings there, including one ‘interesting’ bonfire night, it gradually became apparent that the venue was not in an ideal location for club meetings. As interest in the new clubroom deteriorated it was generally accepted that having its own clubroom was not practical or feasible and so the ‘Clarion’ episode was a lesson learned at a small cost financially.
A few years after leaving the Clarion behind, there was an advert in the local newspaper, stating that the Clarion Club House Ltd. had sold the land on the road up to Fox House, and there was notice of a share holders meeting regarding the proceeds from the sale. At a meeting the Club was accepted as a bona-fide shareholder, and received a substantial amount for its shares.
The next clubroom experience, apart from public houses, came through two of its club members that worked for British Telecom, who obtained permission to use the BT facilities at their clubroom in a sports field on Loxley Road, just below the Admiral Rodney public house. The Club was very fortunate here, as it had use of the bar with its club members in charge, but obviously it had to account for any beer that went ‘missing.’ Apart from club meetings, some good social functions were held here, including one competition with the Sheffield Phoenix CC, which included ‘Welly Throwing, Penalty Shoot-out and The Most Club Members Inside an Inner tube.’ The main disadvantage with this clubroom was that in colder weather the beer was very cold, as the facilities had no heating on for most of the week.
The Club moved to its next clubroom at the Sheffield University in the early 1980’s and then later to the University’s 197 Club on Brook Hill. Again this move came about through one of its club members being in the right job, as he was the catering manager at the University. This has probably been the Club’s longest stop in one clubroom, even though the club member, who enabled us to use these premises, left his position several years ago.
Apart from the public houses used for meetings the Club also hired five different venues over the winter months during the 1970’s and early 80’s for indoor training sessions, which mainly consisted of circuit training. One of the venues was the old Hillsborough Boys Club, the others being two church halls at Crookesmoor, one at Abbeydale and the other at Meersbrook.
The evaluation of racing during the Rutland’s 100 years.
When I joined the Rutland CC in 1946, the main racing was Time Trialling. You need to go back to earlier years to appreciate some of the archaic rules of the time trials that governed the sport in 1946.
When the Rutland C.C was formed in 1908, I believe the main type of competition in cycling was place to place records, although some time trials were held as early 1880, but they were continually interrupted by the police of that time, and the sport was driven off the road. However a national championship was recorded in 1878 under National Cyclist Union (NCU) rules, when A.A.Weir was the victor with a time of 1-27-47 (I assume at 25 miles).
Time trials were renewed at the turn of the century, and the Road Racing Council was formed in 1922, to give a measure of uniformity to the conduct of competitions.
The C.T.T. (formerly RTTC) as we know it today, was formed in 1937.
Some of the earlier rules, such as, all events must start in early morning, no prior publicity of events, competitors must be clothed from neck to feet, gave the C.T.T a poor name in later years.
The C.T.T. must be given credit though for some of the earlier rules which still exist today,
Such as, competitors to start at the allotted time or lose the time they are late, they must not take shelter from any other rider or vehicle.
In 1946, The N.C.U. controlled other types racing, Track racing and Massed-start racing as it was called at that time, and the agreement was between the N.C.U and the C.T.T to control all types of cycle racing, so as not to cause any problems with the public, which worked very well.
However the fact that massed-start racing was very limited caused a rebel body to be formed, the British League of Racing Cyclist. The B.L.R.C were regarded as a rebel organisation by the C.T.T and the N.C.U, therefore anyone taking part in B.L.R.C racing, was banned from racing in time-trials and N.C.U events. This caused quite a bit of animosity between cyclists and you were regarded as either ‘league” or ‘union.”
In the late ‘50’s, a group of Rutland members, who were inclined towards B.L.R.C racing, formed a breakaway club, the Rutland Racing Club, it was quite depressing to see the Rutland split up in this manner, even though the new club only consisted of four members. The breakaway club, fortunately, soon reformed with the main club when the governing bodies reached an agreement.
In the new agreement, the C.T.T. was still in control of all time trials as it is today. They must be doing something right, 70years in control. The N.C.U and the B.L.R.C amalgamated to form the British Cycling Federation (now British Cycling, B.C.) to control all ‘road racing’ and ‘track racing’ events, which was satisfactory to all parties.
This is the position to this day. So we must give credit to the negotiating partners of the late 1950s.