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Royal Silver Jubilee 1935

Cyclists’ Touring Club UK Relay Ride

As 2012 draws to a close, we draw pleasure from memories of a year in which the United Kingdom celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in all manner of ways and also of a nation-wide torch carrying relay, which served as a worthy prelude to the London Olympics.

But in 1935 there was another a Royal Jubilee and to celebrate that auspicious occasion the CTC organised a round Britain relay ride: a ‘reet royal’ occasion to be sure. Riders bore an unctuous message to King George the Fifth congratulating him on keeping the throne gently warmed for all of twenty-five years.

The idea for this Jubilee wheeze came from CTC’s Head Office in London. There was to be a relay of five hundred riders, each wearing an arm band bearing the words ‘CTC Royal Silver Jubilee Relay Ride’ and carrying a scroll around the country for signing by the Mayors and Provosts at a hundred of the main towns and cities.

The start was from the Mansion House, London, on Easter Monday, 22nd April 1935 and began with the dropping of a union jack by the Earl of Cottenham.


The relay riders headed up the eastern counties to Dundee, did a shimmy over to Glasgow, and then percolated down the western counties to Exeter, before heading back to London and Buckingham Palace to coincide with Royal Jubilee Day on Monday, 6th May 1935: 2215 miles in fifteen days – and many a story to tell, no doubt.

We know there was no opportunity to press flesh with the big man at the palace - just a handing over of the illuminated scroll to an aide. Their conversation is not recorded, but knowing cyclists we may safely assume there was light banter about bottom brackets, sprockets and the like, and how these had not always performed as they should during the epic ride.

Were the riders disappointed at not meeting their monarch in person? Not on your life. Cyclists will use any old excuse to go for a spin. The late cycling journalist Rex Coley, aka ‘Ragged Staff’, once rode 200 miles to return an empty milk bottle.

As a memory of a different age and that different world of 77 years ago, we include below photos of the ride taken from the CTC Gazette of that year.

Start of the Royal Jubilee Ride at the Mansion House, London, on Easter Monday. The Earl of Cottenham (with flag) is about to start the first C.T.C. team led by Mr. C. W. Knight to whom Mr. G.H. Stancer, The Club Secretary, is handing the vellum scroll.


The Derby team with the Deputy Mayor of Derby, Alderman H Slaney, and the Leicester team




Teeside D.A. members leaving Stockton for Durham


Many congratulations on the great C.T.C. Relay Ride having reached Headquarters, and it is evident that much credit accrued to the club as a result of the effort. In this photograph the Mid-Yorkshire D.A. riders are seen at the civic hall, Leeds.




The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sir Crawford McCullagh, signs during the 185 mile relay in Northern Ireland. The scroll was passed to the mainland riders at Glasgow



The responsibility of the Glasgow team ends when the mayor of Carlisle, Mr J. G. Studholme, hands the greeting to the North West Lancashire members.


The North Lancashire D.A. team leaving Burnley for Bolton with J. H. Heap, mayor of Burnley, speeding them on their way.



Alderman of Liverpool, F.T. Richardson, at Liverpool Town Hall. On the right Messrs. Elias, Cook and Brazendale.







The mayor of Southampton, Mr. G. A. Waller, handing the signed greetings to A. A. Watts, who led the Portsmouth team.


Caption reads: The Club's loyal greeting to the King having been delivered, the three C.T.C. representatives, Messrs. A.J. Leakey (Councillor), G Herbert Stancer (Secretary) and Leonard Ellis (Assistant Secretary), ride away from Buckingham Palace on Jubilee Day.



CTC Gazette May 1927 - the following year was the CTC' s Silver Jubilee


An interesting photographic reminiscence of the C.T.C. relay ride which finished at Buckingham Palace on June 2nd 1923. The riders are shown leaving the palace after delivering the Council's loyal congratulations on the occasion of the King's 50th birthday.