Our History

Formed in 1903

My thanks go to Ken and Joan Craven for compiling the start of the Club History. This has taken Ken a great deal of time and effort and for that, it is greatly appreciated.

Ken has split the history into two sections, the first being the Club history from 1903 to 1968 and the second part being the history of the RACING within the Club during the 1950s and 1960s.

Thanks also go to Roy Green, for submitting some really great nostalgic old photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s…once again very much appreciated.

Thanks also go out to Laurie and Margaret Eason for submitting some really great old photos…as always, very much appreciated.

Prelude

This is the history of The Crescent Wheelers Cycling Club 1903-1968.

The Club was disbanded in 1968 and joined forces with The Comet C.C. forming The Lea Valley Road Club in 1969.

Some of the Crescent members took up official positions with the new Club.

In 1981 John Smith of The Crest C.C. approached Ken Craven and Eric Beauchamp with the idea of reforming The Crescent. They were unable to call it The Crescent Wheelers Cycling Club as neither Club could reform under its old name.

So The Crescent Cycling Club came into being in 1982.

Photos

Click on this link to see the photos supplied by Roy Green.

Click on this link to see the photos supplied by Laurie Eason.

Click on this link to see a 1959 Sporting Cyclist Magazine article on Ken Craven (supplied by Roy Green).

Click on this link to see the photos supplied by Ken Craven.

Click on this link to see more archive photos supplied by Ken Craven (this set show much of the racing years) Note that this set of photos relate to the report written by Ken about the Racing results of the Crescent in the early years.

HISTORY OF THE CRESCENT WHEELERS CYCLING CLUB

The rendezvous for many East London cyclists at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the “Bandstand” just a stone’s throw from Shoreditch Church erected in 1902 to mark the end of the Boer War.

Circling the Bandstand was an asphalt track a furlong in diameter on which the track men used to try their legs.

In September 1903 ten of these enthusiasts decided that the time was ripe to form a Club and from the two crescent-shaped strips that formed the asphalt track the Crescent Wheelers Cycling Club sprang into being.

Notable amongst those founders were A.Hunter who became the first Secretary, H.Stradling who set the Club 100 mile record of 5.16.1 in 1914, J.Buxton, Percy Harris M.P for Bethnal Green who became the first Crescent President.

1910 was a crisis year, but under the Secretaryship of F. Davies, the Club pulled through. In that year H.Sait joined the Club.

In 1913 he became Secretary and after the First World War, he became President. Also in 1913 Dave and Len Marsh joined us.

Dave Marsh became Club Champion and later a World Champion.

The First World War was a `Marking Time` process for the Club and strong efforts were needed to restore its full activities. Fortunately, good men were joining the Club during this period, George Day joined in 1919 and became President in 1926. The Club started getting places in Open Time Trials from the early 1920s. Jack Dilley was to take several places in Open Long Distance Events. A.Tann who in 1921 broke the Club 25 record with 1.10.40 and Club 50 record 2.21.3.

Harry Binks who joined in 1920 became one of the most earnest and conscientious club officials we have had and was elected to President in 1947 upon George Day’s resignation.

Harry Binks

Photo: Harry Binks

Bill ‘Sailor’ Johnson
Photo: Bill ‘Sailor’ Johnson
In 1921 Jack Dilley put the Club 12 hour up to 200 and a quarter miles and the following year broke G.Day’s 24 hour record with 376 and a quarter miles in the North Road event giving him 4th place. This ride brought a photo of the Club into Cycling for the first time depicting a group of Crescent handing Jack a drink at Girtford Bridge. In the same year, A.Tann brought the 100 mile time down to 5.14.33 but a year later Jack Dilley knocked it down a further 2 minutes.

A.Morris was then Racing Secretary and J.Backes, General Secretary.

1924 saw rising popularity for Harry Eagles the only Crescent Wheeler ever to reach 2nd place in the Catford Hill Climb.

Jack Dilley in the Highgate 100 broke the 100 record to 5.4.49. His other successes were to be placed in the Gaylor 12 hour and North Road 24 and a new 12 hour record of 211 and a half miles.

Club Championship was won by Wally Osborne who took third place in the Eastern Counties 100 that year.

The following year Jack Dilley won the Club Championship.

The annual 24 hour club run to Bath and back was getting more and more popular and in 1926 no fewer than 20 members completed the distance. Wally Osborne broke the 25 mile record with 1.7.45 and the 100 mile record with 5.1.7. F.Morris broke Club 25 record with 1.10.21.

New member Bill Acourt joined the Club and was an outstanding member and gave many years of service to the Club.

1928 was Albert Spencer’s year, winning every Club event and the Championship. It was also the Club’s Silver Jubilee which was celebrated at ‘The Talbot’.

In to the Club that year came members who were the backbone of the Club. A. Ferdinando, P. Fudge, A.Coxon. F.Golton

In the two years that followed Bill Acourt won Club Championship.

In 1931 Harry Streeton, who joined in 1924, broke Club 24 hour record to 382 and three quarter miles.

Ernie Berry broke the 12 hour record two years running and dominated the racing in the early and mid-thirties and was the first member to get inside 5 hours for the 100 miles and 12 hours.

Later A.Evans took the club records for 100 miles and 12 hours from him. On the social side, Bill (Sailor) Johnson who first organised the Club Dinner in 1927 went on to do the Jubilee Dinner.

In the late thirties, S.Cuthbert rose to prominence in the racing, dominating short distance events breaking 25 record with 1.7.5.

E & A. Maclaughlin were new members in the mid-thirties. Ted in particular proved to be a hard working member.

Shortly after came George Richmond who broke the 25 record in 1941 and was Racing Secretary after the Second World War.

1938 was another good year for new members no less than 16 being enrolled.

Of these, A.Conley was to hold the 25 mile record for a year in 1940 and become wartime Racing Secretary.

Ted MacDonald performed Committee duties as did Frank and Arthur Schuster who also joined in that year and was mainly responsible for the creation of the Club Magazine in 1947 being Editor for four years. He also served as Press Secretary for six years.

One of the Club’s varied activities before the war was an Annual Sports Day held in Chingford to which neighbouring Clubs were invited and which proved highly successful. Football matches with other Clubs were also popular at this period.

The declaration of war in 1939 shattered a very happy Club atmosphere.

George Day and Harry Binks were made Trustees for the duration and Bill Acourt carried on as General Secretary until his call-up in 1942.

Jimmy Perks who joined in 1940 was later to take over as General Secretary. During the war, he had a successful period of racing when he set up Club Records partnered by George Richmond – Tandem 30 -1.7.21, 50 – 1.56.46 100 – 4.22.13.

In 1942 A.Conley retrieved his 25 mile record, also the 50 record with a 2.14.46. Membership dwindled as more and more members were absorbed into the forces or moved to other parts on war work until only the `Old Gang` were left and to them fell the credit for keeping the Club alive during that difficult period.

Early in 1946, there were enough members coming back to form a normal Committee and a new drive for members was instituted. At the end of 1946, George Day resigned due to business duties and Harry Binks was elected President.

The Crescent Gazette was first printed in 1947.

Harry Binks was President, Arthur Schuster Press Secretary/Editor, George Tyler General Secretary, Alan Okker Social Secretary.

Nobby Clark joined in December 1947 followed by Eric Lobley and Eric Beauchamp in 1948.

In 1949 Ken Merton, Ken Craven and Ray Ross joined the Club.

Nobby Clark was the inspiration behind the Club’s speedy youngsters along with established riders Roy Cuthbert, George Richmond, Harry Streeton, Frank Schuster, Arthur Schuster, George Tyler, Jimmy Perks, Bill Harris, Bob Lobleyand Ron Lobley.

In 1949 The Club decided to enter the field of “Open Events” for the first time, promoting a second class 100. The Event Secretary was Bill Acourt.

1949 Eric Beauchamp -2nd place in Glendene Novices 25 – 1.9.39.

Ernie Cuthbert a pre-war member proved an excellent Social Secretary.

Roy Cuthbert

Photo: Roy Cuthbert in 1948

Roy Cuthbert
Photo: Frank Schuster in 1947
Eric Beauchamp, Laurie Eason, Ken Craven, Ray Ross
Photo: Eric Beauchamp, Laurie Eason, Ken Craven, Ray Ross

1950

Roy Cuthbert broke club 100 mile record – 4.47.35.

At the AGM Harry Binks was unanimously re-elected President.

George Tyler re-elected General Secretary.

George Richmond retired from Racing Secretary and Nobby Clark was elected. Alan Okker Social Secretary; Arthur Schuster re-elected Press Secretary; Bob Lobley took over as Club Captain.

This period was the turning point for the Crescent as it became a recognised racing Club gaining many places in open events and team wins.

Bill Acourt organised a Club Open 100.

Crescent organised a 24 hour Club Run to Bath and back a total of 212 miles.

Crescent win first open team event in Cambridge Middlemarkers 25.

Eric Beauchamp 3rd with 1.3.51, Ken Craven 1.5.35 and Ken Merton 1. 3.36.

Bill Harris won Crest 2nd class 50 – Ken Merton won Cambrian 3rd class 25.

1951

The Annual Dinner at Bridge House, London Bridge on the 1st December 1951 saw nearly 130 members and friends – we always managed to have a good number of guests and members each year at this Venue.

The Club moved into winning Open Events with Eric Beauchamp winning Marsh 25 –B event – 1st Team Ken Craven and Roy Cuthbert.

Derek Macbeth got 2nd place in Glendene Novices 25 – l. 7.37.

Secretary Bob Lobley did an excellent job of promoting the Club`s Open 100 mile Event.

Ken Craven called up for National Service in June.

1952

Eric Beauchamp won his first full open win Forest 25 – 1.4.21.

Eric was the first Crescent member to get under the hour in the Romford 25 – 59.58.

George Tyler became Editor whilst Roy Cuthbert and George Richmond were the Magazine Committee. Ted MacLaughlin ran a Sweepstake which went into the Club coffers and helped with Club expenses – i.e. financial help with travelling for the racing lads to National Championships, etc.

1953

A.G.M. had some changes. George Tyler stood down as Editor; Roy Cuthbert took over the reins. We also had a new Social Secretary `Sailor` Bill Johnson after Alan Okker called it a day.

Crescent Open 50 won by Stan Leaver 2.0.48 University CC.

Eric Beauchamp called up for National Service.

Eric Beauchamp racing Canal Zone, Egypt won B.A.R.

25 – 1.1.19 30 – 1.13.47 50 – 2.5.39.

Ken Craven gets under the hour in the Comet 25 – 59.55.

Club held its Golden Jubilee Dinner Dance at Bridge House.

1954

Eric Beauchamp in Canal Zone 25 with l. 0.09.

Ken Craven wins first Open Victoria 25 -1. 4.27.

1955

Ken Craven won first in Forest 25 – 1.0.11. Ken won E.C.C.A. – B.A.R. competition over 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours.

Ken and Eric were invited to ride The Solihull Invitation 25 and won team of 2 riders.

Arthur Ferdinando was elected General Secretary.

1956

Harry Binks went on to be the Longest Serving President.

The following filled various positions – Arthur Schuster, Arthur Ferdinando, Jim Perks, Roy Cuthbert, Ernie Cuthbert, `Sailor` Bill Johnson, Wally Vincent, Eric Beauchamp, Laurie Simpson. Roy Green, Peter Coates, Eric Lobley, Bob Lobley, Ken Minting.

The 1950s and 1960s were a great time for cycling when competition was severe all over the country. The Crescent had the strong backing of the “Old Brigade” who ran the Club. We never were a large Club but we had a lot going for us. Club nights every Wednesday at Grove House, Leyton High Road which provided refreshments, table tennis, darts, cards and billiard table and a time to sort out racing events with Nobby Clark.

Roy Cuthbert and the Club Captain organised Speed Judging, Map Reading, Free Wheeling Events, YHA weekends, weekly Sunday Club runs, etc.

The Crescent have always had a strong bond with the Shaftesbury CC. Older members would be found at Rileys, Honey Lane near Wakes Arms, Epping Road at tea-time with members of the Shaftesbury. Favourite lunch break would be The Cosy Café at Sawbridgeworth which was nearly always full of various Clubs where you could catch up with all the racing results from around the area. A typical weekend for racing in this period would mean Saturday afternoon, putting your sprint wheels on your sprint carriers, packing your saddle bag then off to the Alpha Café to meet up with Club mates. For local events, you would stay at one of the Club Bungalows at Ugley or various digs. If you were going further afield you would catch the milk train from London Bridge -Sunday 4 a.m. to ride on the Brighton Road. Or for other events, you would cycle to Portsmouth, Bognor or Pangbourne for the Bath Road or wherever. Then ride back trying to make The Cosy for lunch or Rileys for tea, finishing off at the Duke for a drink then home.

THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF RACING OVER THE YEARS

Compiled by Ken Craven

Nobby Clark was the person responsible for getting the following racing results from the riders. His enthusiasm and drive contributed to putting the Crescent Wheelers into the limelight during the 1950s and 1960s, along with the support and backing of the Club Officials.

During the years 1949 -1968 this was a time of outstanding racing years for the Crescent Wheelers.

  • 1949 Eric Beauchamp 2nd in the Glendene Novices 25 – 1-9-39.
  • 1951 Eric Beauchamp won first Open Event, March 25 – 1-3-21. Ken Craven National Service.
  • 1952 Eric Beauchamp got under the hour 59-58 in the Romford 25, and also won first Full Open Event Forest 25 – 1-4-21.
  • 1953 Ken Craven under the hour 59.55 in the Comet 25. Before being posted to the Canal Zone for National Service Eric rode Viking M.G. 3rd-1-4-37. Also, Eric was only beaten once in 16 months in Time Trials during his Service.
  • 1954 Ken Craven wins first Open Event Victoria 25 – 1-4-27. Eric Beauchamp Canal Zone best times 10- 24-02. 25-1-01-19. 30-1-13-47 50-2-05-39. Canal Zone record 25- 1-00-09. Before demob.
  • 1955 Ken and Eric invited to ride – the Solihull Invitation 25. Eric 59.01. Ken 59.22. Only top riders of that time were invited to ride. Crescent Wheelers won the team of two riders. Eric wins first Open 50 – Glade -2-02-57. Ken second – 2.03-25. Ken wins E.C.C.A. Best All Rounder Competition for 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 Hours. Ken wins Forest 25 – 1-00-11. Eric second 1-01-34.
  • 1956 Eric wins second Forest 25 – 1-00-18. This is an early season classic event where you can win the trophy outright with three wins for the “Hobbs Trophy”. Eric, Ken and Laurie Eason entered the National Championship 25. Eric wins 2nd place. Crescent Wheelers 1st Team. Mike Gambrill 57.33 Eric 57.40 Eric Beauchamp 57.40 Ken 58.54 Normal Shiel 57.51 Laurie 1.01.48 2.58.22
    National Championship 50 Ken 3rd place Mick Ward 1-58-20 Vic Gibbons 1-58-47 Ken Craven 1-59.18 Eric 2-00-53 Laurie 2-11-10. Ken wins first Open 50 Eagle – 2-01-22. Eric second 2-01-24. Eric wins first Open 100 Watford Roads – 4-20-47 Ken 2nd 4-26-00.
  • 1957 National Championship 25 Eric 57-24 (5th) Ken 58-52 (15th). Laurie1-01-06. National Championship 50 Eric 1-58-37. (4h) Ken 2-01-34 (11th). Laurie 2.04-49. Team time – 6-05-00. 1st team award.
  • 1958 Ken wins Forest 25 Second time 57-40. Event RecordNational Championship 25 Ken 58-31 (8th) Eric 59-24 (16th) Derek Minal 1-01-40.Shaftesbury 50 Crescent Wheelers Team beat competition record twice. Previous holders Acme Wheelers (Rhondda) 6-00-59.
    1st Team Time 2nd Team Time
    Ken 1-56-49 Ken 1-56-49 (1st)
    Eric 1-59-18 Eric 1-59-18 (2nd)
    Laurie 2-02-27 Derek 2-01-22 (4th)
    National Championship 50 Result
    Ken 1-56-43 (2nd) Mick Ward 1.55.50 Derek 1-59-01 (7th) Ken 1.56.43 Eric 1-59-08 (10th) Mike Gambrill 1.57.05 1st Team 5-54-52 Competition Record
    Ken rode 28 events. 25 wins –one second – one 4th and one 8th. This was a record. The previous record was by Walter Fowler 24 wins in 1948. Took his winning run to 35 in 1949. Ken took his winning run to 37 in 1959. 18th May Eric rode Cambridge and back. R.R.A. record 4.23.03.
  • 1959 Ken wins Forest 25 for third time 58-21. Wins “Hobbs Trophy” outright. Eric 2nd 1-00-43. National Championship 25. Ken 56-12 (2nd) Eric 58-23 (26th) Ken Minting 59-21. Result Gordon Ian 56-03 (1st ) Ken 56-12 (2nd) Alf Engers 56-22 (3rd). The aim of every Time Trialist is to beat the hour for 25 miles. Ken achieved this on a restricted 72” gear in the Reading M.G. 25- 59-45. He also did it again the following week in the Viking M.G. 25 -59-53. Also won the first team. Ken 59.53, Eric 1.03.38. Terry Parker 1.06.27. In recognition of Ken`s 25 wins, he was selected for a place in the Great Britain TrackTeam in East Germany at Leipzig, Dresden and Gera with Norman Sheil, Karl Barton, Mike Gambrill, Robin Gambrill, Neville Tong, Dave Handley, Tony Millard and Ken Craven. The coach was Tommy Godwin. It was a terrific experience riding in front of such large crowds of spectators. National Championship 50 Results: Mick Ward 1-57-22 (1st) Ken 1-57-54 (2nd) John Finch 1-58-39 (3rd).
  • 1960 Ken beats hour in Hounslow M.G. 25 – 59-20 which equals the best medium gear time of Stan Higginson set in 1952. Ken wins a road race Southend 60 miles. National Championship 25. Results: Gordon Ian 56-35 (1st) Geoff Saunders 57-09 (2nd) Ken 57-13 (3rd). Ken wins the Forest 25 – 1.00.17 (fourth win). Ken is selected for International 50 Promoted by North Road. England Team Ron Jowers, Gordon Ian, Geoffrey Saunders, Ken Craven. At 12 and a half miles Ken was only 3 secs down on Jowers. Unfortunately punctured at approx. 15 miles so ended chance of place. National Championship 50 Results: Third Team: Brian Wiltcher 1.55.36 (1st) Ken 1.56.46 Ron Jowers 1.56.30 (2nd) Eric 1.59.10 (11th) Ken 1.56.46 (3rd) Ken Minting 2.4.39 (70th) Ken wins Wigmore Road Race 50 miles.
  • 1961 Ken starts the season off with fastest M.G. ever ridden in the Dartford M.G.25.59.16. So beat his and Stan Higginson`s record. Ken wins Forest 25-57.44 (5th win). National Championship 25 Results: Ken 56.57 (5th) Ken Minting 1.00.41. National Championship 50: Ken punctured at 12.441 miles showed Ken to be 15 secs up on Barry Hoban the winner.
  • 1962 No riders in National Championship. Ken wins Forest 25 -1.00.30 (6th win).
  • 1963 National Championship 50 Result: Randy Allsopp 1.57.17 (1st) Eric Clark 2.07.15 (71st) Ken Craven 1.57.19 (2nd) Ken Minting 2.07.56 (76th) Pat Ryan 1.57.39 (3rd). Ken wins Forest 25- 1.00.20 (7th win).
  • 1964 Not much to report. Ken won 15 open events 1 Club event, 2nd five times and 3rd four times. Eric riding with Harlow C.C.
  • 1965 Ken had only four races – one win, one third and two fourths. In the Bromley Hilly 26 and three quarters results: Eric 1.08.46 (1st ) Martin Perks 1.09.59 (2nd) Ken 1.10.02 (3rd). 1st Team Award. Eric went on to have a great season in team time trials and tandem events with Martin Perks. Also breaking Club records for: Tandem 30 – 1.01.21 Tandem 50 – 1.44.17 – also competition record. Tandem 100 3.36.54 – also competition record. Solo 30 – 1.08.19 Club record.
  • 1966 Eric has an even better year with a lot more Club records. Won E.C.C.A. – B.A.R. with a record average time. 6th place in the B.B.A.R. 25 mile Zeus R.C 54.59 (2nd) Club Record. 50 mile Harrogate C.C. 1.51.24 (6th). 100 mile Bath Road 4.07.21 (1st). 100 mile Yorkshire Century 4.07.11 (7th). 12 hour Middlesex R.C. 257.70 miles (1st). Eric also rode two 100k. Team Time Trials World Selection Events with Dave Dungworth, Derek Reay and Mike Potts. Finishing 2nd in both events.
  • 1967 Eric had an accident in the Bath Road Hilly 50 (run down from behind). So this finished his season.
  • 1968 Club disbanded.

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