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Summary of Victorian Six Day Races

The search for forgotten Victorian achievements continues and the total number of cycle races in the British Isles - for men and women - raced over 6 days, and the variants that were raced over 5, 7, 11 and 12 days, continues to grow ....
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Newly discovered. There were an additional four races just outside the century, in 1901, that retained the 19th Century format. And two more women’s races in Newcastle at the end of 1895 [Thanks to Dag and eBay]

Recorded Races

These are all races that were reported as news in the mass-circulation publications of the day - within a day or two of the actual event.

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18 November 1878

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

William (Bill) CANN

reports

28 April 1879

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

George William WALLER

reports

1 September 1879

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

George William WALLER

reports

27 October 1879

Bingley Hall, Birmingham

Henry HIGHAM

reports

22 December 1879

Rifle Barracks, Kingston upon Hull

George William WALLER

reports

14 March 1880

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

Charles TERRONT

reports

26 April 1880

Molineux Grounds, Wolverhampton

Henry HIGHAM

reports

3 May 1880

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

Charles TERRONT

reports

17 May 1880

Cardigan Fields, Leeds

F J LEES

reports

31 May 1880

Rifle Barracks, Kingston upon Hull

Charles TERRONT

reports

14 June 1880

Burnbank Drill Hall, Glasgow

Henry HIGHAM

reports

21 June 1880

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

W PHILLIPS

reports

21 June 1880

Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne

G E EDLIN

reports

12 July 1880

Sands, Carlisle

J W LAMB

reports

9 August 1880

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

W PERRY

reports

9 August 1880

Earlsfort Rink, Dublin

T ANDREWS

reports

23 August 1880

Skating Rink, York

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

30 August 1880

Sunderland

R ROBERTS

reports

27 September 1880

Gilkes Street, Middlesbrough

F J LEES

reports

11 October 1880

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

R ROBERTS

reports

8 November 1880

Feethams, Darlington

J BATTENSBY

reports

15 November 1880

Drill Hall, Bristol

Robert JAMES

reports

15 November 1880

Drill Hall, Dundee

W PERRY

reports

27 December 1880

Cricket grounds, Newcastle-on-Tyne

George William WALLER

reports

9 May 1881

Queen Street South, Huddersfield

J W LAMB

reports

6 June 1881

Granby Row, Manchester

J W LAMB

reports

27 June 1881

Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne

F J LEES

reports

4 July 1881

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

Henry HIGHAM

reports

8 August 1881

Cricket Field, Bishop Auckland

W PARKES

reports

29 August 1881

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

George William WALLER

reports

19 September 1881

Cattle Market Ground, Middlesbrough

J W LAMB

reports

10 October 1881

Next to Baths, Stockton on Tees

abandoned through gales

reports

7 November 1881

Cricket Field, Sunderland

George William WALLER

reports

3 June 1882

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

J CLEMINSON

reports

14 August 1882

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

George William WALLER

reports

16 October 1882

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

George William WALLER

reports

 

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26 March 1883

Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

J W LAMB

reports

14 May 1883

Holmeside, Sunderland

W PARKES

reports

7 July 1883

Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

W PERRY

reports

4 August 1883

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

H O DUNCAN

reports

3 September 1883

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

F J LEES

reports

10 September 1883

Cricket Ground, North Shields

W PARKES

reports

8 October 1883

Albert Road, Middlesbrough

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

27 December 1883

St George’s Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

5 July 1884

Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

W TYRE

reports

15 December 1884

Westminster Aquarium, London

James BIRT

reports

13 June 1885

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

J W LAMB

reports

20 July 1885

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

30 August 1885

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

28 December 1885

Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

Sam CLARK

reports

22 May 1886

Bon Accord Recreation Hall, Aberdeen

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

19 June 1886

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

W TYRE

reports

5 July 1886

Cycling Grounds, North Shields

W Wood (Amateur)

reports

14 August 1886

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

F J LEES

reports

11 December 1886

Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

J YOUNG

reports

24 October 1887

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

John Dunlop LUMSDEN

reports

5 December 1887

Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

28 February 1888

Newcastle-on-Tyne

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

10 March 1888

Bon Accord Recreation Hall, Aberdeen

abandoned 14 March

reports

22 July 1889

Cycling Grounds, North Shields

R H ENGLISH

reports

2 November 1889

Skating Rink, Sunderland

Miss Lottie STANLEY

reports

11 November 1889

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

John Dunlop LUMSDEN

reports

18 November 1889

Skating Rink, Sunderland

Tom BATTENSBY

reports

24 December 1889

Drill Hall, Sheffield (5 Day)

Miss Lottie STANLEY

reports

? December 1889

Newcastle-on-Tyne

Tom ENGLISH

reports

16 August 1890

Victoria Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

Tom ENGLISH

reports

18 April 1892

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

A H ROBB

reports

2 May 1892

Central Hall, Holborn, London

J W LAMB

reports

5 December 1892

Waverley Market, Edinburgh

W PARKES

reports

30 January 1893

Burnbank Drill Hall, Glasgow

John Dunlop LUMSDEN

reports

18 November 1895

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Monica HARWOOD

reports

3 December 1895

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle CANNAC

reports

9 December 1895

Drill Hall, Sheffield

Mdlle SOLANGE

reports

16 December 1895

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle PALLIARDE

reports

17 December 1895

Bingley Hall, Birmingham

Mrs GRACE

reports

?? December 1895

Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

Mdlle SOLANGE ?

reports

30 December 1895

Westminster Aquarium, London

L DAVIS

reports

? January 1896

Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

Mdlle SOLANGE ?

reports

6 January 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mrs GRACE

reports

23 March 1896

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

Arthur V LINTON

reports

27 April 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle Lisette MARTON

reports

4 May 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

??

reports

20 July 1896

Eastbourne (Lloyd’s Weekly 26-Apr-1896)

-

proposal

16 November 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle Helene DUTRIEU

reports

30 November 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlles DEVERNEUIL,
Marcelle VAUTRO,
Beany VAUTRO

reports

7 December 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss PATTISON

reports

28 December 1896

Westminster Aquarium, London

??

programme

4 January 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle EGLEE

reports

11 January 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Rosa BLACKBURN

reports

18 January 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Rosa BLACKBURN

reports

24 May 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Rosa BLACKBURN

reports

7 June 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

F J MEDDINGS
Miss ANDERSON

reports

27 December 1897

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle L ROGER

reports

10 January 1898

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mdlle Marcelle VAUTRO

reports

17 January 1898

Westminster Aquarium, London

Mlle DEDAELE

reports

3 June 1901

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Rosa BLACKBURN

reports

10 June 1901

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Monica HARWOOD

reports

17 June 1901

Westminster Aquarium, London

??

programme

24 June 1901

Westminster Aquarium, London

Miss Monica HARWOOD

programme

.

The next UK Six was a little reported race for two man teams held in 1903. Then no further Six Days have been found until 1923 as the sporting side of cycling retreats into strict amateurism - to the exclusion of anything involving commerce, payments or even contact with professionals. The 1890’s saw the start of the British cycling’s dark ages - and the dawn of the European classics. How different things could have been ......

However this was very much a self-inflicted injury .. as this cyclist writing a touring report illustrates; “How much more sense there is in amusing one’s self in this way [a touring holiday in Hungary] than in competing in such a useless performance as the late French ride from Paris to Brest and back! The tourist, even the scorching tourist, would never pretend to emulate the pace of Terront or Laval; it would be against reason. ... No, road-races are but vanity and vexation of spirit, even if an entire population, as in that part of France between Paris and Brest, hails them with delight and present palm branches and makes pretty speeches of welcome to the winning competitors.” Penny Illustrated Paper (London) Saturday 18-Sep-1891

And this was another, much later and rather overblown, explanation -  1900 - The Union Cycliste Internationale [UCI] was formed without Britain so as to end the England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Dominions domination Cycling 25-Jan-1951
.

The initial starting point for these Victorian pages came from Velo Gotha, in my case the edition published in 1984 at Brussel (Bruxelles), Belgium. But it has been the British Library’s 19th Century Newspapers archive and recently the British Newspaper Archive that have provided the bulk of the detailed information. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s Gallica web site providing access to Le Veloce-Sport sports newspaper archive. A few clippings have also been found at the Paperspast web site of the National Library of New Zealand and new archives are being added at the Trove web site of the National Library of Australia.

For US races then Six-Day Bicycle Races by Peter Nye is ideal. It is an homage to velodrome bicycle racing in the United States and includes much new material - some obtained directly from the families of the riders.

Clearly facts about these early races are hard to come by - and the published info is sometimes wrong or contradictory. I know it’s unlikely but ... does anyone have any original records, photographs or press reports?

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