The rides and times of a Victorian trailblazer (PART 2)

Here’s the second part of the South London Diaries, an extraordinary account of over 1,600 miles spent on a bike in 1885. It includes details of our diarist purchasing a tricycle, neatly illustrating its rise in popularity as described in the 1885 Cyclist Wheel World Annual end of year review:

“That this year (1884) again showed an increase both in the popularity and practice of cycling is undoubted: but as in 1883, the tricycle played the greater part.”

While he’s not a member of a tricycle club, Thames BC and Wandsworth TC are operating in the South London area.

As with Part 1, some of the diary entries include the route and mileage, giving us a unique opportunity to test whether it’s quicker to ride the roads of London today than 131 years ago. Pick a ride and let me know how you get on!

Some of the road names are difficult to decipher and I’m also wrestling with the line about ‘Gen Havelock’. The obvious conclusion would be that this is a train but there is no record of one at the time. Any thoughts on missing names or the Havelock are most welcome.

Since chronicling the 1885 entries the 1884 annual from the same cyclist has been found. It also gives a real insight into cycling in the 19th century. I’ll publish them all soon but it will mean they are a bit out of sync. Think of them as you would the Star Wars films – without the lightsabers and with cooler transport.

The diary entries for May – August 1885 are listed below. We pick up the story from when our diarist purchases an Underwood’s Odometer…

Key: Aft=Afternoon Mor=Morning &c=dated way of writing ‘etc’

Part 2 May-August 1885

Friday 1 May – Morn. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Trinity Rd, Nightingale Lane, Macaulay Road &c. Used new Odometer first time Mileage 8.4

Saturday 2 May – Cleaning pedals &c & testing new Odometer. Wet

Odometerworkings
The workings of a cyclist with a newly purchased Underwood’s Odometer

Monday 4 May – Morn. Road to Clapham Junction: back by Bolingbroke Rd & Nightingale Lane Mileage 4.8

Thursday 7 May – Aft. Started for Isleworth but turned back at Wandsworth Common for heavy rain set in & returned by Trinity Rd & Nightingale Lane Mileage 5.2

Saturday 9 May – Morn. To Isleworth via East Hill, Putney Bridge Rd & Richmond. Head wind, Time 72.5min. 1 dismount in Richmond Mileage 10.6 Aft. Home via Kew Bridge, Barnes Common, saw tricycle meet there, & rode some way towards Hammersmith. Dropped Odometer which was picked up by men in van, turned back and recovered it by a great chance. Mileage 13 Eve. Round by Clarence Rd & Park Hill Mileage 3.3

Underwoods Odometer Ad 1885
Very likely the Odometer bought by our diarist

Monday 11 May – Even. Rode to Battersea Park by Silverthorne Rd, round Park then by Turret Grove, Manor St, Fernlea Road, Tooting Common, Trinity Rd, Nightingale Lane &c Mileage 12

Wednesday 13 May – Advertised in Cyclist 50” Odometer, 6/-: ?Carey’s Roads 3/-, Cradle Spring 7/-, advert. cost 8

Thursday 14 May – Aft. Road in Battersea Park also Ebury St, Knightsbridge, Sloane St & Embankment: roads terrible: afterwards round Clapham Park Mileage 18 Even. Round by Clapham Park Rd, Ellerslie Rd, Loats Road, Poynders Rd, Fernlea Rd, Ramsden Rd, Nightingale Lane &c Mileage 5.5

Friday 15 May – Morn. Rode round by Allfarthing Lane, Putney Bridge, Fulham, Hammersmith Bridge, Barnes Common, Merton Road, Summerstown, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 16.1

Monday 18 May – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Road, Tooting Common, Trinity Road, Nightingale Lane &c Mileage 7.7

Tuesday 19 May – Aft. To Isleworth via Allfarthing Lane, West Hill & Richmond: Time 70.5m Mileage 10.8 Back via Richmond, Putney Bridge Rd & East Hill Time 68m. No dismount either way Mileage 10.5 Even. Short round by Common, Manor St &c Mileage 3.4

Tuesday 26 May – Even. Rode round by Nightingale Lane & Wandsworth Common Mileage 6

Wednesday 27 May – Aft. Rode to Isleworth via Barnes Common & Richmond & back same way: counting revolution of wheel all way there & back Mileage 10 & 10 Even. Short round by Macaulay Rd, Park Hill, Cavendish Rd &c

Clapham 1885
1885 Map of Clapham

Thursday 28 May – Full Moon Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham Rd, Trinity Rd, Nightingale Lane &c counting revolutions Mileage 9 Even. Round by Battersea Rise, Bolingbroke Rd, Tooting Common, Fernlea Rd &c Mileage 8

Friday 29 May – Even. Down Queen’s Rd & round Battersea Park: then by Silverthorne Rd, Orlando Rd, Loats Rd, Poynders Rd & Clapham Common Mileage 8.1

Saturday 30 May – Aft. Rode to Isleworth via Allfarthing Lane, Barnes Common & Richmond Mileage 11.2 Home in evening via Richmond, Barnes Common & East Hill. Time In one in 81min Mileage 10.7

Monday 1 June – Even. Short run round by Fernlea Road, Ramsden Road &c Mileage 4.6

Wednesday 3 June – Morn. Rode on Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common &c to Mitcham then round roads towards Merton & back same way, counting revolutions Mileage 14

Friday 5 June – Even. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Back ? Lane, Lower Tooting, Garrett Lane, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 10

Saturday 6 June – Wet day

Tuesday 9 June – Got CTC renewal list also waterproof cape 5/10 at Piggotts, Cheapside

FullSizeRender
Piggott’s advert from the 1885 Wheel World Annual

Wednesday 10 June – Aft. Rode to Hyde Park Gate & back by Battersea Park, Albert Bridge, Oakley St, Gloucester Rd &c Mileage 11.2 Even. Short round by Fernlea Rd, Ramsden Rd &c Mileage 4.9

Thursday 11 June – Even. Road round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham Station, Merton Rd, Hartfield Rd, Wimbledon, Woodside, Burntwood Lane, Macauley Rd &c. All in one run Time 1h 40m Mileage 15.3

Saturday 13 June – Rode to Hampton Court by Haydon’s Lane, Coombe Lane & Kingston there met large number of CTC members and rode in procession to meet at Staines. Road from Staines Bridge about 6 miles in procession with other CTC bicyclists back to starting point, thence home by myself via Bedfont, Hounslow, Richmond. Called at Isleworth on way home Mileage 46.1

Tuesday 16 June – Even. Short ride round by Park Rd, Fernlea Rd, Ramsden Rd &c Mileage 4.8

Thursday 18 June – Aft. Rode round by Allfarthing Lane, Kingston Vale, Norbiton, Coombe Lane, Wimbledon, Burntwood Lane &c Measuring roads at Norbiton Mileage 20.4

Saturday 20 June – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham, Merton Lane, Wimbledon, Woodside, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 13.7

Monday 22 June – Even. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Upper Tooting, Trinity Rd, & Nightingale Lane &c Mileage 7

Thursday 25 June – Even. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Poplars Junction?, Broadway, Garratt Lane, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 10.9

Friday 26 June – Bought Tricycle, 2-track rear-steerer, single-drive for £3 at Stevens’s sale, Covent Garden

Saturday 27 June Full Moon – Rode by Haydon’s Lane, Coombe Lane, Kingston, Esher, Weston Green, Hampton, Bushey Park, Hanworth Rd & Hounslow to Isleworth; home in evening by Richmond & Putney Bridge Rd. Hot day & wind Mileage 36.3

Monday 29 June – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Park Lane, Tooting, Garratt Green, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 9.7

Tuesday 30 June – Had 2 spokes put in new tricycle at Porter’s cost 2s/. Short ride in evening Bolingbroke Rd &c

Wednesday 1 July – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham, Croydon, Beddington, Carshalton, Sutton. Mitcham Green, Merton, Wimbledon, Woodside, Garrett Green, Nightingale Lane &c. All in one run, Time 2h 45m Mileage 25

Friday 3 July Even. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Upper Tooting, Nightingale Lane, &c Mileage 7.8

Saturday 4 July – Aft. Rode round by Poynder’s Rd, Roupell Rd, Tulse Hill, Shu? Park Rd &c to Crystal Palace, back by Church Rd, Beulah Hill, Streatham Common, Natal Rd, Mitcham Lane, Roflans? Lane?, Tooting Broadway, Burntwood Lane &c Mileage 17.5

Thursday 9 July – Aft. Rode to Isleworth by Garratt Green, West Hill Rd, Roehampton Lane, Mortlake, Kew Bridge &c Mileage 14.9 Even. Home by Richmond, Barnes Cemetery, & Putney Bridge Road Mileage 10.8

Saturday 11 July – Aft. Road by Fernlea Rd, Mitcham, Morden Rd & Wimbledon Hill to camp on Wimbledon Common home by Woodside & Garratt Green &c Mileage 19.2 Even. Round by Nightingale Lane & Wandsworth Common Mileage 6.8

Tuesday 14 July – Short ride on common in evening, with E on tricycle

Wednesday 15 July – Aft. Road Coventry Chair? with M. round by Tooting &c Mileage 10 Even. Road round Wandsworth Common Mileage 6.9

Friday 17 July – Aft. Rode round by Allfarthing Lane, Barnes Common, Roehampton, Wimbledon Common, Woodside, Clapham Park &c Mileage 16.6 Even. Round by Nightingale Lane, Trinity Rd, Tooting Common, Fernlea Rd &c Mileage 8

Saturday 18 July – Aft. Isleworth via Burntwood Lane, Merton Rd, Roehampton, Upper Mortlake Rd & Richmond. Mileage 15.3 Home by Richmond & Barnes Common &c. Strong W wind Mileage 10.8

1885JulyDiary
An extraordinary piece of South London Cycling History: pages from a 1885 diary

Monday 20 July Even. Round by Mallinson Rd, Bolingbroke Rd, Ramsden Rd, Fernlea Rd, Cavendish Rd Mileage 6

Wednesday 22 July Aft. Rode Coventry Chair? with H Richardson round by Tooting Common, Park Lane, Garratt Green

CoventryCycleChair
The Coventry Cycle Chair: Most likely candidate for the entry on 22 July

Thursday 23 July – Even. Rode round by Nightingale Lane, Trinity Rd, Tooting Common, Fernlea Rd &c Mileage 7.8

Friday 24 July – Aft. Rode to Isleworth via St Ann’s Hill & Richmond Mileage 11.4 Even. Home by Richmond & East Hill. No dismount, Time 87min Mileage 10.9

Saturday 25 July – Aft. Rode to Kingston by Haydon’s Lane, Coombe Lane & to riverside on road to Surbiton. Mileage 11.3 Back by Kingston Vale, Roehampton Lane, Barnes Common & St Ann’s Hill Mileage 11.7

Monday 27 July – Full Moon. Enamelled spokes & all painted parts of bicycle with Ardill’s enamel, and repaired tyres in various places with Elastica Paste. Used rather more than 11/- bottle of enamel

ardillsxmas1885annual
Ardill’s Liquid Enamel advert

Tuesday 28 July – Bought new Seesaw Saddle in Moorgate St 10/6; also India rubber for same 1/- and bottle of Fisher’s Transparent Enamel for plated parts 1/-

SeeSawSaddle1885Griffin
See-Saw Saddle by horse saddle specialists Ashford & Winder

Wednesday 29 July – Enamelling bright parts of bicycle with Fisher’s Invisible Enamel

Thursday 30 July – Morn. Rode by Cavendish Rd & Tulse Hill to Croxted Lane, Herne Hill; back by Brixton, Shepherds Lane, Hazel? Rd & Park Rd. Used new Seesaw Saddle for first time Mileage 8.1

Saturday 1 August – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham Common, Thornton Heath, Croydon, Carshalton, Mitcham, Merton Lane, Lower Tooting, Burntwood Lane &c. Roads very loose & dusty for want of rain. Strong NE wind Mileage 22.4

Monday 3 August – Aft. To Isleworth via St Ann’s Hill, Putney Bridge Rd, Kew Bridge & Brentford Time 71min Mileage 11.2 Home by Richmond, Putney, West Hill, St Ann’s Hill &c Time 71.5min Mileage 10.8

Saturday 8 August – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham Common, Croydon, Waddon, Mitcham Common, Morden Rd, Wimbledon, Woodside, Burntwood Lane, Macaulay Rd &c Mileage 24.3 Even. Round by Nightingale Lane, Trinity Rd, Tooting Common, Fernlea Rd &c Mileage 7.8

Tuesday 11 August – Even. Short round by Cedars, West Side Mileage 2.2

Wednesday 12 August – To Scarboro’ by Gen Havelock

Tuesday 25 August – Full Moon. To Isleworth in morning by Putney Bridge Road & Richmond Mileage 11.1 Back in afternoon nearly same way Mileage 11.2

Friday 28 August – Aft. Rode with F Robotham round by Nightingale Lane. Trinity Rd, Tooting Common, Fernela Rd, Cavendish Rd &c. F.R. on tricycle Mileage 8

Saturday 29 August – Aft. Rode round by Fernlea Rd, Tooting Common, Mitcham, Mitcham Common, Sutton Road, Wimbledon, Woodside, Burntwood Lane, Macaulay Rd &c. Strong NE wind Mileage 17.8


Further Information

Did you take on any of the rides – how did you get on? Got the name of a road I’ve got wrong? Can you shed any light on Gen Havelock? Email me at balhamcyclingclub@btinternet.com, drop me a line in the box below or add a comment on the BBC Facebook page. I would love to hear from you.


Sources

Diary, Ardill’s Ad, Odometer stats and Tricycle quote are taken from the 1885 Cyclist Wheel World Annual

The See Saw Saddle illustration from Bicycles of the Year 1885 by H. H. Griffin

The illustration of the Coventry Chair from Tricycles of the year 1885 by H.H. Griffin

All these can be found on the Veteran’s Cycle Club Online website

Clapham Map from the London Ancestor website. Original Source 1885 Report of the Boundary Commissioners for England and Wales

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The rides and times of a Victorian trailblazer (PART 2)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s