SPEED MERCHANTS - REVIEWS
ALAN MCRAE - BOURNEMOUTH ARROW C.C.
Thank you so much for the book, I can’t stop reading it.
I find it a fascinating insight into a period of local history that people I knew lived through. My Nan was born in 1876 and lived all her life locally.
She worked “below stairs” as a cook in a number of big houses in Parkstone and Bournemouth. She would have been in her teens and 20’s when a lot of this was going on. The conurbation was fairly small then so did she know anyone (who maybe knew someone) involved?
Absolutely fascinated by the use of cricket pitches for a track. I was brought up in Maxwell Road Charminster across the road from Winton Rec. in a house built in 1908. The cycle track around the cricket pitch was built a couple of years later so what bikes were they riding, how fast could they go, on what gears?
The Constitution Hill Climb is incredible. In the mid 60’s I trained specifically for the end of season hill climbs.
I would ride from Maxwell Road, along Alder Road doing mini sprints up the hills to warm up. Then repeat climbs of Constitution Hill.
I know every inch of that road!!!
Absolutely great. Thank you so much.
Your splendid book arrived safely yesterday, for which many thanks indeed. I have not yet had an opportunity to do any more than skim through the pages, but the immediate reaction is that I am one of those guilty of complete ignorance of this forgotten world of cycling, and what a lot I have obviously missed. I am most impressed with the extent of your research, and the amount you have been able to discover. Undoubtedly this was well worth doing to fill a gap in our local history.
I really should have been more aware. When researching and publishing the history of my maternal line, particularly two generations of 19c clergy at Hampton-in-Arden with 67 years service between them, the local paper reports on "cycling gymkhanas" held in the vicarage grounds in the 1880s & 90s. One held in 1899 in aid of church funds attracted over 100 spectators, and I have a copy of a photo dated 1877 entitled "Hampton Cycling Club". Their clothes are wonderful!
Many thanks for sending me a copy, and I look forward to reading it in more detail.
I duly started reading the parts you recommended, and finished up having read virtually everything! Not that I am the least interested in cycling, but because your anthology shone a fresh light on a part of Poole's local history about which I knew virtually nothing. Thank you; I found it fascinating.
Sincerely, Jeremy Waters.