The Reawakening

The next minutes appearing in the minute book is a cutting from the "Advertiser" of" a General Meeting in the Town Hall on Thursday October 30th 1919. Mr. C. S. Edgerley was in the chair and the Convenor of the Meeting was Mr. C, C. Arnold who said that he had called the meeting as a result of pressure from athletes in the town for the revival of the club.

Mr. J. Bradley was again on hand to tell the meeting of the financial situation. At the outbreak of war the Club Secretary had joined the forces and the Chairman, E. Tyler had sorted out the club accounts at his own expense but still donated £2 to the newly-resurrected club.

Mr. Arnold became Secretary of the new club, which included no cyclists at this stage and the membership moved hopefully into 1920 when on January 14th a meeting was held at the "Prince Albert" to review progress and it was here disclosed that the cycling section would be re-started when it was expected to welcome 30 members. At the committee meeting of the 17th February the cycling member of the committee were Messrs. Adaway, Peat, Hooper and Morris and they were charged with the task of formulating the form the new cycling section would take.

About this time a disagreement arose between Arnold and Bradley over the duties of their respective offices and at the meeting of May 3rd Bradley's letter of resignation was regretfully accepted.

Still nothing had come from the cyclists on the committee but cycling events were still included in the August Bank Holiday meeting programme and in July 1920 Vic Burgess transferred his allegiance to the club again. Vic was to retain this connection up until his death in 1980 during which time he performed very creditably both as a track cyclist and time triallist on the road so it must be assumed that cycling activity continued through this period although club minutes deal almost solely with the athletic activities.

At the outset Arnold had made it clear that he would accept the Secretaryship only long enough to get the re-formed Club established as he had other interests and at the Annual General Meeting in November 1920 he resigned and Howard Wood was elected in his place. With Arnold now no longer on the Committee the unquenchable Mr. Bradley was elected Treasurer. A. Adaway was Vice-Captain of the cycling section. The subscription had now rocketed to 5s. but this included admission to all of the club's sports meetings. The club headquarters moved to the "White Horse" and the cycling Captain resigned so Mr. Adaway took his place.

Cycling features rarely in the club minutes at this time but in February 1921 it was "decided to register the Cycling Members for Union benefits" - what the benefits were is not disclosed.

The meeting of the club committee on July 11th 1921 was uneventful, a few items about the forthcoming Bank Holiday meeting and two new members were welcomed into membership. A.H. Cheek apparently passed into obscurity as far as we are concerned but the other was H.D. Hawkins who began a near 50-year association with the Club during which time he set a record of service to both cycling and athletics which is unlikely to be surpassed.

In 1922 "in view of the present unemployment" the subscription was reduced to 3s. for adults and 2s. for boys under 18.

John Scott, a member who had apparently rendered great service to the club, married, so the club gave Mrs. Scott an umbrella to mark the occasion!

In 1923 the cycling section of the club organised its first time trial since the war. The organiser was that other fine servant of the club A. Adaway and the event was run over 25 miles, attracting 14 entries, though the time of the winner was not recorded to posterity. From the small entry it seems reasonable to suppose that the event was only open to club members. The race also included a "sealed handicap" - a term not now used in cycling.

Modern road surfaces and traffic engineering are taken for granted nowadays but it is interesting to note a small item in the Advertiser at this time which said that a white line would be marked on the road at the Bell Hotel and at Grenfell Road corner to assist drivers of motor vehicles to negotiate the corners and that "if the experiment appears to prove it's usefulness" it would be repeated elsewhere.

On 14th December 1925 Mr, Bradley was not present at the committee meeting; he was ill and the secretary was instructed to write a letter of sympathy but at the next committee meeting on 18th January 1926 the Committee stood in silence to mark their respect for the man who had recently died after such long and faithful service to the sportsmen of the town.

In general the 1920s seem to have been dominated so far as the Maidenhead Cycling and Athletic Club is concerned by athletic matters. Cycling was referred to mainly in the reports submitted to the Annual General Meetings but it should be remembered that cyclists served the club in many capacities beyond their interests in their own sport by assisting in all other aspects of the club's activities, notably among them at this time were Messrs. Adaway, Eve and Hutchings. Time trials were regularly organised for members, attracting 10-15 riders and several National Cyclists' Union centre championships were organised and run off during then August Bank Holiday sports meetings in addition to the traditional grass track events.

A trophy presented by Sir Walter de Freece was won outright by J.C.Wyatt of the Belle Vue CC in 1929 and Sir Walter immediately presented a replacement. The first name to appear on it was that of J. C. Wyatt. J. H. Greville offered a cup for a 50-mile race which offer was accepted. Neither of these cups is in circulation now.

Throughout this time the club had been struggling financially but at the committee meeting of September 31 1928, it was revealed that at last the club was solvent, being about £60 "on the right side".

Links with the present day come to light at this time too. On 3rd May 1926 K. Deadman was admitted to membership of the club. In 1985 his son fills a position on the committee of the Maidenhead and District Cycling Club while on 29 December 1929 Jack Perry opened his membership of the M.C. & A.C. Later his son Keith was to join the club and also to be instrumental in setting up the M & D. C. C. but more will be said of this later. As a result of Keith's interest, Jack was drawn back to the club and was subsequently elected to the post of Vice President. Another cycle wheel has turned full circle in 1988 concerning K. Deadman's son Tony who achieved national honours riding an Ordinary and a trip to New Zealand to compete in a World Championship was only spoiled at the eleventh hour by a broken bone in a training accident.

H.D. Hawkins, whose first Secretary's report to an Annual General Meeting was made in 1937, placed his third before activities ceased in 1940. Letter from Food Control Committee:

21 May 1940
Dear Sir
With reference to the Emergency Scheme in regard to
food supplies, arrangements have to be made for
communication with the various authorities in this
district controlling the several grades of essential
foodstuffs in the event of the failure of ordinary
methods of communication. It has been suggested
that the Cycling Clubs might be willing to place their
services at our disposal for this purpose in the event
of such an emergency.
If you think that your Club could be of such
assistance, would it be troubling you too much to
call and seem me sometime at your convenience,
when I will explain the position further.
Yours faithfully,
Food Executive Officer

Towards the end of 1943 he was able to present his next one which contained a description of the way the club had fared during the early years of the war. Surprisingly the impression is gained of great enthusiasm and activity but it should be remembered that after war was declared the "Phoney War", in which little military activity took place, lasted for some time before the real effects of hostilities were felt.

Annual Report Season 1942-43

I have such pleasure in presenting my report, the first since Oct 5th 1939. I should like firstly to cover briefly what the club has been doing since that date to the best of my recollection.

During the remainder of 1939 and up to the end of Summer 1940, we were able to carry on with cycling and athletics. The cycling section was reformed by Mr. Charlie Puller in July 1938 and who up to the war had been doing great work for the club. Freddie Proctor was the fast man with Ben Pugh his runner up. George Bunce, A. Bishop and A. Robinson were able to put the club into second place for the Southern Counties Cross Country Substitute race, held at Chingford, Feb 1940. 13 teams competed and there were 56 starters. Bunce finished 5th. R. Ayres gained an A.A.A. Standard Medal for the Javelin at the Junior Championships, Chiswick July 1940. By Winter 1940 nearly all the cyclists and runners had joined the forces. We also lost the Kidwells Park Pavilion which was taken over by the War Department.

February 1941, Freddie Proctor came along with Roy Hole to inform me that Charlie Redden and the Slough Cycling Boys would like to come over if we got started again. A public meeting was held with a very poor attendance and so here we are today. Things got moving from then on, thanks to good work put in by Freddie Proctor and Bill May who I regret to say was reported lost with his ship and ably assisted by Charlie Redden and now we have a good band of workers for the Club in Charlie Redden, Jimmy Gates, Frank Sykes and several others. In fact I can safely say all members are most willing and eager for the club to carry on and step forward as much as possible under present day conditions.

The period of 1941 and 1942 was carried on very successfully with a gradual increase of members.

Coming to the year under review, I am sure all will agree that it has been very successful for the cycling section. It is regrettable that it has not been possible to get the athletic section started again.

Charlie Redden proved to be the best all-round on the track in the BCU. B. O. B. Centre, for he was able to pull off the final of the four series held by the Centre on the Slough Track during the 1943 season. He won with 45 1/2 points, the third being Jimmy Gates with 40 points.

Also in these series, Jimmy Gates showed what a fine pursuit rider he is.

Jimmy Gates set up the fastest time of his career to date, to clock 1-3-35 in the B.O.B. 25 Championship which the club had hopes of winning, but took 2nd place to Calleva C.C. He was well supported by Les Smith with 1-6-34 and Den Pugh with 1-5-1. Ben Pugh just a few weeks later clocked 1-4-27 in the Inter Club 25 with Spellthorn, his best time to date.

A club evening Track meeting was held at Slough when again J. Gates retained the 5 miles point-to-point Cup as he had done in 1941 and 1942.

Four club 25's were held and all were well supported. The first War Time Supper and Dance was held at the Prince Albert and judging by members and others comments, the "do" proved to be a great success.

A dance was held at Slough in October. Unfortunately we were without a band until the later part of the evening. Perhaps the least mentioned the best, however, a profit of £6. 17s. l0d. was made.

The club is now in a good financial position as shown by the balance sheet. This comes from the good work put in by Messrs. F. Sykes, E. Milcoy, C. Redden, J. Gates, L. Smith and the Hon. Sec., also by Mrs. Brook whose son is a member of the club now serving in the RAF.

The Club assisted in arranging the Slough Holidays at Home meeting, also Mr. A. J. Green, the Hon. Gen. Treasurer and other club members ran a sports meeting for the Maidenhead Holidays at Home which proved very successful, it is with regret that George Palmer of the running section has been reported missing. He was in the Royal Navy.

In conclusion, the Committee wish to thank all helpers, also the press, Cycling, Bicycle, the Maidenhead Advertiser, the Slough Observer and the Windsor and Eton Express. Also express a wish that all members will do their utmost to increase the 1943 membership.

Wishing you all the compliments of the Season.

H.D. Hawkins

Gen. Hon. Secretary

In 1946 a report of the club annual dinner appeared in "Cycling" and included "....Len Buttery gave much praise to Den Hawkins who had ably guided the club through the lean times to the undoubted success it had enjoyed last season." And L. C. Smith spoke of " .... athletics becoming part of the club activities again... ."

That great woman record-breaker of the day Marguerite Wilson distributed the prizes.