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Homepage. This page: An original copy of a programme for the 1924 bicycle races in Fallowfield, Manchester.

Manchester Wheelers' 37th Race Meet, 1924.

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The old house clearance emporium that the following Manchester Wheelers' (bicycle club) race meet turned up in, situated close to Stockport in Cheshire, has been mentioned before. A visit to its dusty interior usually turned up a few gems, the books being piled into the musty cellar that was accessed via a steep stairway, lit by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. The princely sum of 75 pence, in the late 1980s, secured this rare old programme and home it came with me.
The programme cost its first owner the princely sum of four pence (4d). At stake for the competing cyclists was the Muratti Gold Cup, valued at 120 guineas according to the notes on the cover. This, the 37th occasion of the Manchester Wheelers' Race Meet, was held on the athletic grounds in Fallowfield, Manchester, on Saturday July 12th 1924.
Manchester Wheelers race programme from 1924
An advertisement for W. Batty & Sons Ltd adorns the cover also; as suppliers of "athletic prizes and presentation goods" they may well have been responsible for providing the Muratti Cup. The rear cover, perhaps of more interest to us motorists, has a full-page advertisement for R. H. Carlisle & Co. Ltd of Deansgate, Manchester. They were sales agents for Vauxhall, Darracq, AC and Bayliss Thomas motor-cars. The car portrayed appears to be a two-seat AC, judging by its overall look and in particular the shape of the radiator cowl.
Dealer for Bayliss Thomas and AC Cars in Manchester
The club exists to this day, and was founded in 1883. Initially it was called the Manchester Athletic Bicycle Club, but after six years was renamed. The club's website has a comprehensive history section to it, so rather than repeat the information they have, anyone interested to find out more would be best served visiting the relevant page on their own website (Manchester Wheelers' History).
In all there were sixteen races or heats set to take place on that Saturday afternoon, beginning with the first 1/4 mile championship heat for the N.C.U. Championship. Entrants hailed from across Britain and Ireland, winners for each competition having been pencilled into this well-thumbed programme as the day's events unfolded.
Peppered throughout the programme are a number of interesting advertisements. One, for example, promotes "Glider" custom-built lightweight cycles, available at Stenton's of Fairfield Street in Ardwick - "EVERYTHING IN STOCK FOR THE SPEEDMAN" was their slogan at the time. A little further on there's an advert for T. Davis of Deansgate, suppliers of Norton, Triumph, Excelsior, Raleigh, Mckenzie and BSA machines.

Overland cars.

Skipping quickly over another promotion, for Muratti's "After Lunch" Turkish cigarettes (yuk), a much more agreeable page celebrates the merits of the Overland 5-seater British deluxe touring cars for 1924 - "Renowned for Reliability under all conditions". The company behind the Overland, namely Willys Overland Crossleys Ltd, was located not far away in Heaton Chapel, close to Stockport and just a few miles south of Manchester. Quotes from delighted Overland owners encouraged readers to send off for a catalogue, saying "My Overland car has covered over 21,000 miles in 14 months. The car satisfied me in every respect" and "This car has done 37,000 miles and is going as well as ever". Most splendid.
1924 Overland car advertisement

Unic cycles.

Flick through to page 23 and a full-page advert extolls the virtues of the Unic cycle, built by Richardson's. "Every Inch British" - "Quality in every inch", with components from the likes of Dunlop, Renold and Brooks incorporated within the bicycles they produced. There were hundreds of British bicycle manufacturers around in the late 19th/early 20th Century. Several turned to producing motor-powered cycles and/or cars, as interest in combustion-engined transport really took a hold as the 1900s continued. Little of this once prosperous, mass-produced, bicycle industry remains today.
The Unic bicycle
Beneath a half-page promotion for a Ford cars garage-cum-dealership in Deansgate (Tom Garner Ltd), are details of the Waddington Collapsible Mudguard, or Pocket Mudguard. These lightweight mudguards were designed for use as and when the weather and road conditions called for them. The remainder of the time they could be stowed away, clipped to the upper tube of the bicycle's frame. Priced at 5/9 per pair, they offered a semblance of protection for the keen "all weathers" cyclist.
Waddington temporary cycle mudguards

H & J Quick, Ford garage.

The aforementioned Tom Garner Ltd is a name that will be familiar to many people who live(d) in the North West of England. Another high-profile name in the area is H & J Quick Ltd, or "Quicks for Ford" as they often referred to themselves in advertisements. Inside the rear cover, H & J Quick - authorised Ford and Fordson agents on Chester Road, Old Trafford (also with a branch in nearby Sale), took up the opportunity to promote their business. With Model Ts being produced at Trafford Park for many years, Fords would have been a common sight on every street in the area I'm sure. Coincidentally, in the year that this programme was published - 1924 - it saw Fords decide to increase their production capacity in Great Britain by purchasing a new site in Dagenham, at which a new factory took over British Ford production a few years later, in 1931.
Quicks Ford dealer 1920s

10 Miles Invitation Scratch Race.

Event 16 at this cycle race meet was a 10 miles scratch race, the winner of which would earn the right to keep the Muratti Gold Trophy for a period of twelve months. However, if one rider won the race three times - not necessarily in succession - they could keep the trophy. Lesser prizes (value five shillings each) were also offered to the cyclist(s) that were leading at the end of each lap. If I'm reading the scribbled results correctly, the 1924 winner was A. Theaker, who also happened to take the crown in 1923. I wonder if he went on to win again, and claim the Muratti Gold Trophy as his own? The Muratti Gold Cup continues to be the prize on offer for the 10 mile events that the club runs to this day.
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