A former club member has got in touch to share some fantastic mementoes from his time with Balham CC. John Simcock (pictured below), a club member in the 40s and 50s, has sent the BCC Blog some scrapbook highlights that include a Diamond Jubilee Dinner menu with the history of the club from 1897 to 1957; 7 copies of the club newsletter The Balham CC Gazette from 1949; the 1949 club handbook and some great photos.
The blog will focus on these exciting finds over time but as a taster here’s our top 6 new facts gleaned from John’s treasure trove.
- Balham CC was founded in 1897 by distinguished sportsman of the time George R. Huntley, who later became the licensee of the Balham Hotel (now The Regent Pub)
- The same Balham Hotel / The Regent was the Headquarters of the club from its formation in 1897 to 1926
- By 1949, Headquarters was the Duke of Cornwall, Blenheim Gardens, Brixton SW (pics here and here) and Sunny Acres, Hookwood , Surrey
- Club member A.E. Wills was the first man in the world to break the 60 miles in the hour barrier behind motor pace.
- The club were pioneers in the promotion of several types of events, most notably The Balham Rough Riders 25, The Second Class Open 100, and the 25 miles Tandem-Paced NCU Championship. The first Club Rough Stuff was held in 1925 and was promoted as an Open event the following year. It would be a staple of the national racing calendar up until the 60s
- Club stalwart and active member of the National Cyclists’ Union Len Vanner played an integral role in the 1948 Olympics
Has John’s collection jogged the memory? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a line in the comments box. I would love to hear from you.
With thanks to John Simcock. More on John’s collection in future articles. I also hope to interview him soon.
Photographs of AE Wills and his bike are from the Coventry Transport Museum collection
Photo of the Balham Hotel from The Regent website