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Classic Lightweights UK
Reminiscences  
 

Norwood Paragon 1921

Author: Mick Butler

Norwood Paragon had ceased to function as an active club at the outbreak of WWI (1914) and in 1921 a General Meeting was called to resurrect it.   Officers were elected and Rules drawn up for the coming season.  So the Club was reformed. Freddie Baker was President and George Moffat Hon. Secretary.  Membership increased and runs were well attended. 

1921 also saw, the amalgamation with the Streatham Rovers.  George Moffatt recalls this in his letter to Fred Lee about the early years of the Paragon:

"We had been going a few months when, on a run to Godstone, we met the Streatham Rovers with our old friend Ernie Tugwell, who was its Hon. Secretary.   I remember asking how his club was going and he said he was very disappointed and thinking of packing up. I knew that "Tuggy" had worked hard in reforming the club and felt sorry for him so I consulted our Committee and we agreed to let the Streatham Rovers join us en bloc.  I put it to "Tuggy" and he was delighted at the suggestion. He called a Meeting at Streatham and all were agreeable.  Billy Burgin was co-opted onto our Committee and so the Streatham Rovers became part of the Norwood Paragon CC.  It was agreed that they were a good asset to the Paragon

In addition to Tugwell and Burgin the new members included C. Honeysett, John Carter, E Mason, H Tong, Arch Allin (already a Paragon Member and founder of 'Allin Cycles'), Tom Mayne (who gave us the 'Mayne' Cup) and A Davis (Ben's father). 

The pre-war Handbook was modified with some surprising differences.  The Club was affiliated to the N.C.U., R.R.A., S.R.R.A and S.C.C.U.  Club Headquarters was at the 'Jolly Sailor' in South Norwood and the Country Headquarters was at the Castle Tea Rooms, Bletchingley.  Freddie Baker was President. The Vice Presidents were Arch Allin, Miss Cole, Mrs Coppard, B Foster, H Newman-Godward, H Grist, G Langford, G Nutt, W Pacey, Mrs Puddick, Alf Pulling, Ernie Sheppard, Tom Smith and George Taylor.

The inclusion of three Ladies amongst the Vice Presidents is extremely curious for an all male Club!  (Who were they and why were they asked to be Vice Presidents?  Mrs Coppard was the widow of Dave Coppard of 'The Old Man's Tea Rooms, Coulsdon but we have found no mention of Miss Cole and Mrs Puddick).  Arch Allin had a cycle shop at 132 Whitehorse Road, fore-runner to Allin Cycles, Alf Pulling had a Garage in London Road, Croydon and George Taylor had another cycle shop at 28 Lower Addiscombe Road. The Secretary was George Moffatt, Treasurer, Jim Fox, Captain N Rose with P Slade and Jim Smith as Vice-captains. The Committee was Arch Allin, Bill Kite, Bert Miller, Bill Hitchmough and H Smith. The Handicapping and Timekeeping were handled by Norman Upton, Jim Fox and John Munns. Munns was also Reporting Secretary.

Annual subscriptions were set at 10/6 for an active member and 5/- for an Honorary member. Badges cost 2/6. Club runs were to start from the Clock Tower, High Street, South Norwood. The Points system was resurrected and Rules concerning the behaviour on Club Runs and the Captains authority were copied from the 1914 Handbook. The first official Club Run of the reformed Norwood Paragon was to the Castle Team rooms, Bletchingley on March 6th 1921. The necessity of obtaining at least 1/3rd of the available Club Runs Points for the season (23) to be able to take a prize was included.  Entry Fee for Time Trials was 2/6 and Handicaps were also 2/6 each. (This was to remain unchanged until the 1960s!)  All the Rules regarding the Unpaced Time Trials, the Club Championships and Club Standards were a straight copy from the 1914 Handbook. Special Prizes were on offer. Jim Fox gave a prize to the fastest novice in the first 25 miles Handicap; Arch Allin gave a Gold Medal to the fastest rider in the 50 miles Handicap. G Taylor gave a Gold Medal to the winner of the Dunlop Cup.  G Webb gave a Gold Centred Medal to the rider who makes 2nd fastest time in the 100 miles Handicap.  J Smith will give a Gold Medal to any member who competes in the 4 Open Events on the Road namely the Catford '50',  S.C.C.U. '50',  Syd Gray '100'  and Anerley 12 hours.

Advertisers in the Handbook were Fred Mayne – Ladies and Gentlemen's Tailor, 185 Sydenham Road, North Croydon (Sports Suits a Speciality).   Allin and Grubb, 132 Whitehorse Road, Croydon (Makers of the Davey Racing Cycles and the original Grubb Cycles).

So the scene was set for the opening of the 1921 season on May 21st with the 25 miles handicap. The first race under the name of the Norwood Paragon since August 1914 and some ways nothing had changed!

George Colget put up fastest time!  His 1.10.46 was too good for Bill Kite (1.11.09) and Charlie Davey (1.11.46). The Handicap waswon by John Carter with 1.3.20 (10'15") from George Colget 1.5.16 (5'30") and Bill Kite 1.6.09 (5').   John Carter also won the Prize for fastest Novice.  An interesting note - Charlie Davey (of Davey Frames) was also a well-known record holder later to have his own shop in Lower Addiscombe Road.   He become a mentor of the Addiscombe Cycling Club whose President he became some years later.

June 6th saw the first 50-mile Handicap. George Colget recorded fastest time with 2.33.03 beating Bill Kite, 2.35.15 and John Carter 2.36.06. The Handicap section was a win for J. Francis with 2.23.47 (15'30" allowance) from Harry Brown 2.25.56 (16') and Ben Mason 2.29.16 (15'30"). 

August 21st was the 100-mile Scratch and Handicap for the Dunlop Cup. This race saw a comfortable win for W. Williams in 5.26.15 from John Carter 5.36.30 and A. Marshall 5.39.19. The Handicap went to John Carter his 16' allowance giving him a corrected time of 5.20.30.  2nd place went to Bill Hitchmough 5.21.46 (20') and 3rd place to W Williams off scratch. 

October 2nd saw the first running of the Mayne Cup Handicap 25 miles time trial under Norwood Paragon colours. (Under the Streatham Rovers it had been competed for since 1911).  Bill Kite did fastest time, 1.11.16, with W. Williams 2nd in 1.12.29 and Ben Mason 3rd with 1.13.43.   The Handicap was won by Harry Brown with 1.7.46 (7' allowance), Ben Mason was 2nd with 1.8.43 (5') and 3rd was J Howard 1.10.21 (4'30").  The Mayne Cup is impressive. It is a handsome, ornate, Edwardian silver trophy capped with an 'old fashioned' bike on the lid but with the addition of its third plinth (which must soon be a fourth) it has 'presence'. It is also a feature of this race that in its 92 years of existence only 8 people have won it twice and no one has won it three times.  Some people have spent the whole season trying to fool the Handicapper. Others have done the ride of their lives only to find that the Handicapper had anticipated their performance. The majority of members never get close. The writer managed it once in the twilight of his racing years when he can only assume the Handicapping Committee took pity on him. The Mayne Cup has a mystique - long may it continue to be so.

During the season at various dates many Club members' rode time trials for Club Standards. 28 were successful. 14 of these were at 25 miles where 3 members collected Gold Medals.  George Colget for a 1.10.26 ride, Bill Kite for a 1.10.55 and W. Williams for a 1.11.26 ride.

At 50 miles W. Williams had beaten the Club Record with a 2.28.28 on August 7th and George Colget a Gold for a
2.30.33 ride on August 28th. George got another Gold for a 5.22.30 ride on September 4th. On the same day
Bill Hitchmough finished with a 5.34.05 also for a Gold Medal.

The 12-hour event on the 18th September saw another Club Record, and Gold Medal, for George Colget with a ride of 204 miles with 2nd placed man, Bill Kite, also achieving the Gold Standard with 199 miles.   A feature of these time trials, all on the 'Club' Course, was that various distances were being ridden at the same time. For example on June 19th , 9 riders were on the list to attempt 25 mile Standards and 4 others were going for 50 mile Standards. The same pattern occurs on July 24th, with 9 and 3 riders respectively, August 7th, with 4 and 3 riders, and August 28th with 7 and 2.   September 11th saw Bill Kite riding a 100-mile time trial on his own whilst 4 others went for a 25 mile time. Club Champion for 1921 was George Colget (who was also the Champion in 1912 and 1913) with 398 points.  Bill Kite came 2nd with 305 points losing ground on George over the 100 miles and 12-hour events. 3rd and 4th, some way back, were Bill Hitchmough (193 pts) and John Carter (162 pts).

Membership of the Club in December was 65.

Club Time Trial Results 19.6.1921
25 tt 1 Corner R 1.14.422;  Kite G 1.16.493;  Brown H 1.17.004;  Francis J 1.17.145;  Tong H 1.17.18
50 tt 1 Carter J  2.34.23; 2 Kite W 2.34.29; 3 Hitchmough W 2.38.20; 4
24.7.21
25 tt 1 Kite W 1.10.55; 2 Corner R 1.13.23; 3 Munns J 1.14.39; 4 Howard J 1.15.11; 5 Mason E 1.15.14; 6  Harwood W 1.20.00
50 tt 1 Kite G 2.42.05
7.8.21
25 tt 1 Hitchmough W 1.13.032 Carter J 1.13.433 Allin AE 1.15.134 Harwood H 1.19.01
50 tt 1 Williams W  2.28.282 Kite W 2.32.42
28.8.21
25 tt 1 Williams W 1.11.25; 2 Corner J 1.16.15; 3 Francis J 1.16.15; 4 Howard J 1.16.52; 5 Kite G 1.18.43; 6 Tong H 1.20.51
50 tt 1 Colget G 2.30.33
4.9.21
100 tt 1 Colget G 5.22.30; 2 Hitchmough W 5.34.05; 3 Carter J 5.53.03
11.9.21
100 tt 1 Kite W 5.39.29
25 tt 1 Colget G 1.10.26; 2 Howard J 1.16.12