The Northampton Cycle Parade of 1895.

The fifth annual cyclist’s parade in aid of the Northampton General Infirmary took place on Monday evening. The weather, unlike that of last year, was very favourable, and as a result more people witnessed the parade than any previous year, and more money was collected.

The hard working committee who, fortunate in having the services of an enthusiastic hon. Sec. in Mr. Sam C. Douglas, had spared no work to make the affair a success, and that they succeeded the result proves. The chief attraction of the parade was the comic and character get-ups. These were exceptionally good, and reflected the highest credit upon those responsible. It was an excellent move on the part of the committee to write to Mr. H. Labouchere for a prize for the best get-up, for, generous as that gentleman is known to be where the object is a deserving one, few of them expected such a handsome silver cup as that sent down by the then senior member. It had the result of attracting an entry of seventy, the majority of whom not only competed, but displayed not a little originality and cleverness, and the only regret was that there were not more prizes. Several who were passed over thoroughly deserved recognition. In some cases a lot of money had been spent in the get-ups; which, as above mentioned, were all round remarkably good.

Cyclists began to arrive on the Market square – the place of starting – soon after past six by which time the roped off space was surrounded by a large crowd. Until 7.30 the cyclists continued to arrive, and the number of spectators increased, until there were over 500 of the first named, and several thousands of onlookers. In addition to the prizes for the best get-up, prizes were also given for the best florally decorated machine, and the neatest equipped rider. Whilst these were being judged the Northampton Temperance Silver band played selections. The judges were the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr. A. Cockerill, Mr. Aarron Philips, and Mr G. E. Sindall. They had a difficult task before them, and if they did not give general satisfaction they did their best.
In giving first prize to Mr H. O. Andrews, who represented dear old Santa Claus, and his little guest, they no doubt were in thorough sympathy with all able to judge. The make up of Father Christmas was remarkably good, every detail being carefully attended to. Then his little guest was a pretty little curly-headed mite of about three winters, dressed with great skill.
The second prize, a clock, was given to Mr. H. F. Swann, who as a Hospital nurse was an excellent representation.
The third prize, a walking stick, was won by Mr. Pratt, who as a Cobbler was strikingly characteristic.
The fourth prize (given by Mr. H. Kinnersley) was awarded to Mr. James, whose representation of a penny wooden doll came in for general commendation.

Behind these there were many excellent characters, and special prizes were given by Mr. A. Cockerill to Mr. Ben Romain, who got up splendidly as The Nun; Mr. Sindall gave a special prize to Mr. J. T. Field, whose representation of an Indian Chief was in the opinion of many deserving of higher mention. Then there was ‘Northampton’, a get-up by Mr. Howard which did him infinite credit, and drew forth a special prize from Mrs Becke. Mrs Becke also gave a special to Mr Geo, Perkins for his Our Back garden. A special was also given to Mr. Barwell, who, as the Birdcatcher, was deserving of it.

In addition to the above the following were also favourably commented upon:- English Sports (Mr. A. Dunham), Going to Market (Mr. W. Ellis), Little Lord Fauutleroy (the Master Grose), Mephistopheles (Mr F. C. Robinson), the Village Blacksmith (Mr. J. Dilley), Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday (Messrs. Langley and Perkins), the old farmer and son (Mr D. Deacon), Salvation Army girl (Mr. W Watson), detachable and adjustable cycle stretcher carrier (Messrs. Gardner and Ward), Labourer (Mr. F. Bazeley), Ching Chang (Mr. McKewan), Frank Read’s flying ship(Mr. G. Esau), an organ grinder (Mr.G. White), Hamlet (Mr F. J. Bassford), Court Juggler(Mr. W. H. Cautrell) Irishman and woman (Messrs. Holmes and Burman), Mrs. Penn (Mr.J.Billingham), Horse Guard (Mr. H. Barber), etc.

Mr. T. Ridgeeway was the first (barometer presented by Sir Philip Manfield) for the best florally decorated machine; Miss Lowe was second and obtained Mr. L. J. Sharman’s prize of a set of carvers; Miss Rose Gadsby was third, and had a biscuit jar; whilst Miss Katie Grose (as poppy) was given a special prize by the Mayoress. These machines looked very pretty, as did the lady riders.

The competition for the neatest equipped cyclist was not very keen. Mr H. Bosworth won the Gladstone bag given by Mr. A. Drucker; Mr. E. J. Facer was second (Umbrella, by Mr. A. Philips), and Mr. A. Robinson was third (brief bag).
The silver-plated bugle for the out of town club parading the most members was won by the Kettering Working-Men’s, who mustered no less than 54. Amongst those who witnessed the judging were:- Mr H. Labouchere, Mrs Labouchere, Miss Labouchere, Mr. A. Drucker, Mr. C. C. and Mrs Becke, Ald.H.E.Randall, Mr.S.S.Campion, Rev,W.B.Sleight, and Mr Pigott, C.B., Chief Constable of Norfolk.

It was nearly eight o’clock when Mr S.Brown, of Coventry (who visited the town at the invitation of Mr. A. Richardson Newland), led off on the Humber Eiffel machine, which is fifteen feet high, and which he rode throughout the parade without once dismounting – a performance requiring not a little nerve.

The route taken, which was lined throughout with on-lookers, was Wood-hill, Georg-row, the Drapery, Sheep-street, Barrack-road, Louise-road, Military-road, Claire-street, Hunter-street, Colwyn-road, Derby-road, Whitworth-road, Wellingborough-road, Palmerston-road, Billing-road, St.Giles-street, George-row, Gold-street, Marefair, Black Lion-hill, St.James-road, to Franklins Gardens.

There were 525 machines in the procession, and various clubs represented included the following:- Northampton Rovers, Northampton and Country A.A.C., Military, Trade, God Templars, St.James, Stanley, All Saints’, Working-Men’s Club, Whitworth road Conservative C.C.C., Kettering Working-Men’s Club, Wellingborough, Earl’s Barton, Wollaston, Kettering A.C., Daventry, Rugby, Banbury, Ambulance Cycling Sections.
The arrangements on the square were carried out by sub-marshalls under the direction of the Chief Constable (Mr.F.H.Mardlin), who also arranged for the placing of constables in various parts of the route: and it is most satisfactory to state that the whole was carried out without mishap. The collectors numbered something like 140, and it is satisfactory to state that upwards of £60 was taken-a most gratifying result.

On arriving at Franklin’s Gardens the distribution of prizes took place in the large hall, which was packed. The Mayor, who wore his chain of office, spoke of the great success of the parade, and the pleasure it gave the Mayoress and himself to take what part they had that evening. The Mayor, who wore his chain of office, spoke of the great success of the parade, and the pleasure it gave the Mayoress and himself to take what part they had that evening. The Mayoress then distributed the prizes, each of the recipients coming in for great cheering.

At the close of proposition of Mr.J.Porteous, hearty cheers were given to the Mayor and Mayoress, whose reply determined the proceedings. Along the line of the route the Trade and St.Paul’s Bands played selections. Mr.S.Frisby and Mr.W.G.Ward kindly supplied brakes for their use. It should be mentioned that several members of the Templars’ Club represented Knight Templars.





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