- 1889-2009 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The Club has always taken 1878 as its foundation date. There is no direct evidence for this, as no records from this period have survived, and 1878 pre-dates Home Tidings (the forerunner of the Polytechnic Magazine) which was first published in 1879.
In 1899 the Club was aware that its 21st Anniversary was approaching, and decided that the annual dinner that year would be a coming of age dinner, and that Walter Groves, vice-president of the Club and editor of Cycling Magazine, should produce a short history of the Club for that occasion. The Archive has a photocopy of the booklet - called Souvenir of the Coming of Age Dinner.
From this Souvenir it is clear that the officials in 1899 did not know about the origins of the club and that doubt was cast on 1878 as the foundation date. Quintin Hogg, founder of the Young Men's Christian Institute, was appealed to and he gave his version, based apparently on his memory and evidence in his private letter books (which have not survived). He says that the first cycling club was formed in the Salisbury Street, Strand, branch of the Institute- a branch which was established mainly for clerks. "These lads were somewhat richer than those in Long Acre, who were mainly mechanics". The boys approached Hogg in the winter of 1877, as there was no cycling club in Long Acre, where the main Institute was then based, to start one in Salisbury Street. The club was formed in the spring of 1878. It was named the Ian Bicycling Club after Hogg's second son, who was then a baby.
Hogg says many of the boys were beginners and their runs were chiefly to Richmond, Mortlake and the like. He bought some machines for boys to practice on and they made trips to the New Forest. Hogg says nothing about competitive events in this period and it is not clear whether any were held.
The Salisbury Street Institute closed in 1881, the year in which the main institute in Long Acre was looking to move into larger premises. Regent Street was purchased at the end of the year. According to Hogg, in the winter of 1881-82 the Hanover Bicycle Club was formed, absorbing the remnants of the Ian Club. I have not found a reference to this (there may be an unindexed reference in Home Tidings, but this would require detailed reading). In February 1883, the rules of the Hanover Bicycle Club are published in Home Tidings (page 22), and an account of the first AGM was given in March (page 23). Following this, regular reports of the Club's activities were included. The Club apparently organised runs and tours, with annual races in August. The first annual races were held in August 1882 at Lillie Bridge. In 1882 the Club had 6 riding and 10 non-riding members; a year later this had grown to 26 riders and 3 non-riders.
The name changed to the Polytechnic Cycling Club in 1885. The decision was made at the AGM on 9 January and is reported in Home Tidings. The reason given is that the old name no longer had any connection with the present Institute. The name Hanover, used by several early Institute clubs, came from Hanover Street, renamed Endell Street in 1876, where the Institute was based for some years. In 1882 the Young Men's Christian Institute moved to 309 Regent Street, into a building formerly owned by the Royal Polytechnic Institution, and gradually became known as the Polytechnic. In time the clubs changed their names to reflect this change.
The Polytechnic Cycling Club Gazette was apparently started in 1891, but 1896 is the earliest surviving volume in the Archives. The Club produced further short accounts of its history, usually combined with anniversary dinners (at 50, 75 and 100 years) but these all draw on Groves' account for the very early period.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
The original order of these records has been lost due to both the fragmentary manner in which the records entered the University Archive and some sorting undertaken by previous staff who reorganised most of the records into a single chronological sequence. This sequence has been retained for the AGM papers as, although it is not clear to what extent this reflects the original order, it is apparent that in some instances all documents for a particular meeting were held together. However, several series have been separated out from the chronological sequence as it is clear that the various subcommittees of the PCC existed as semi-autonous entities. Where loose items had previously been removed from the volumes, these have placed in separate folders with the volumes, and a note of their original location has been retained in the listing. Regarding the Members' Memorabilia series which contains unofficial records of the PCC, an attempt has been made to re-form Accessions of material where possible.
Elaine Penn, University Archivist, July 2005.
The collection has been arranged into the following series:
PCC/1 Annual General Meetings
PCC/2 General Committee
PCC/3 Finance Committee
PCC/4 Road Committee
PCC/5 Race Committee
PCC/6 Social Committee
PCC/7 Trophies and Awards
PCC/8 Cycling Events and Results
PCC/9 Members' Memorabilia
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material