The Mystery Outing?
Marie Normansell, a retired health manager with three strapping sons, lives in Cardiff today. In 1911 her dad was born in Barrowford, Nelson and he went on to serve in the RAF during the Second World War. After Marie’s dad had died, the family found an old case of dad’s containing many varied and fascinating photos of Lancashire life. Marie, who was most intrigued by the snaps, sent LHL the enclosed picture and wished to know; who, where and what was going on?
Who Where What
The clothes style, the wearing of some form of badge by many people, the presence of six ladies (reasonably well dressed in an affluent or ‘best-dressed’ workers style) and the number of people gathered informs us that it is around the turn of 1900 and the scene depicts what we estimate to be ‘an association’ of some form on an outing.
LHL put out our feelers and though far from short of conclusive, we did manage to make some progress. Bob, one of our men on the ‘seaside’ (Blackpool) was quick to locate/assess, through the help of a Lancastrian colleague, that the site is probably somewhere in the Blacko/Pendle region of Lancs. Another of our volunteers in Colne, Christine, reminded that the SDF agitator, the Reverend Leonard, ran many such clubs and associations from 1894 onwards from his Methodist Congregational Church on Colne Road in the Burnley and West Riding region.
Keighley library got in on the hunt and the sterling work of Gina, revealed even more data. Gina was bold enough to make an assertion. Gina wrote,
‘I have been able to dig a little deeper and found the attached cuttings – one in particular mentions that the Keighley Cycling Club did have badges as well as uniforms. Another article, 11 August 1895, noted that for ‘long enough’ the club only ever actually had 2 bicycles, which would account for their absence from your photograph perhaps. The club is indeed a bit of a curiosity. The photo attached, (newspaper unknown), shows the bikes prominently displayed – all 2 of them! Another Keighley local historian added that walking clubs did not tend to go in for badges (metal types at least), certainly Haworth Ramblers didn’t.
‘I think therefore that the club is most likely the Keighley Cycling Club out on a trip with only a few bicycles – out of shot’.
To add evidence to this claim, Gina even noted one particular young man present in both pictures, encircled in one of the pictures. Though, not decisive enough to be written as fact, I think we can purport that with a good degree of certainty Marie’s picture is from the Burnley/West Riding area, it is more than likely cyclists and that like so many early nineteenth century pastimes – ‘a good time was had by all’.