A Fresh Start

In June 1912 the differences between the NCU and AAA were resolved and the Wanderers and Unity amalgamated to form the Maidenhead Cycling and Athletic Club.

The oldest minute book available begins with the Annual General Meeting of 1914 and the club was in some distress. Maybe matters of national concern-were more pressing to Maidonians than cycling but club President E. Gardner M,P. opened the meeting attended by

"a remarkably small attendance for an athletic club meeting".

Clearly the cycling presence was in the minority. In the secretary's report he sadly intoned,

"It is with great regret that. I have to maintain that there has been a great falling-off in the member's subscriptions out of about 130 members only about 66 paid."

2s. 6d. was still the annual subscriptions, perhaps illustrating the remarkable stability of the cost of living, since the subscription had remained at this level since the days of the Wanderers formation in 1881!

In this vein the clubroom cost the club £2 2s. 0d. per annum in 1913. Nowadays the cost is something like 5 times that amount per month.

In 1913 the August Bank Holiday meeting made a loss and Mr. Bradley "who has been connected with the club many years" complained that a profit on the meeting had not been made for the past seven years. He also said that "at the time of the split there was £84 at the bank, but that had dwindled down to £30 which means that the club lost £50 in two seasons". Mr. Bradley was not Treasurer of the Club and such losses, due to member's apathy according to him, must have been a very sad blow to this faithful servant of the club.

Mr. Adaway was again appointed to lead the cyclists and although the Timberlake connection was gone, W. Hutchings was on the committee to continue a link with the trade.

A curious minute from the April 29th 1914 Committee meeting reports that Mr. Bradley proposed "that upon Mr. Matthews clearing up all matters in connection with the club, the attache case lately used by him but belonging to the club be made a present him". There seems to be no reference to the "matters with the club" or Mr, Matthews part in them.

In early 1914 the RAC Journal reported that

"Bridge Road, Maidenhead is the best road in England"

and goes on to say that

"Berkshire has the reputation for possessing some of the best roads in England."

Modern wheelmen might feel that the same roads have seen little maintenance since then!

It was in 1914 too that club Chairman E. Tyler donated a cup for the August Bank Holiday sports for the "1 mile Cycle Handicap". It was won by Vic Burgess, of whom more later and was put back into use in 1981 as a trophy for the junior 25-mile championship - there being no 1-mile cycle handicap in the club's programme.

The Advertiser report of the sports states however, that this meeting, once reckoned to be among the most prestigious in the country, was in decline, probably, the reporter said, as a result of the reduction in the value of the prizes. This reduction had become necessary as a result of losses on previous meetings which were dogged by bad weather.

It was stated at the Annual General Meeting that club members had won all of the National Cyclists' Union Bucks, Berks and South Oxon Centre Championships. In September 1914, the Advertiser also carried the obituary of H. J. Timberlake, the brother of Tom Timberlake.

The name Owen Hildreth now appears on the club committee role but he was able to attend only one of the two committee meetings before the club became dormant awaiting cessation of the First World War. Hildreth was one of the Timberlake workforce originally but who opened a shop in Market Street which was held by the family until 1988.

It is sad to think that possibly the last time many of the Maidenhead clubmen would have ridden their machines was to the Recruitment Office.