Whose blouse was not washed in OMO?

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1900

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This somewhat 'different' photograph from the Clonbrock collection is labelled fully as "Bicycle Gymkhana. Women's bicycle fun race. Competitors stopped to drink from cups. Women wearing white blouses and straw boater hats". It appears to show ladies with bicycles drinking/eating from cups likely as part of a fun race at a "Bicycle Gymkhana" day - perhaps at the Clonbrock estate. With lots of hats and early cycling fashions on display, we wondered if the community could help with extra context - and duly obliged.

Thanks especially today to John Spooner and beachcomberaustralia for providing extra context on the popularity of these types of events in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And how, while perhaps somewhat whimsical in themselves, marked a social trend towards independence in transport at the time....

Photographers: Dillon Family

Contributors: Luke Gerald Dillon, Augusta Caroline Dillon

Collection: Clonbrock Photographic Collection

Date: Circa 1900

NLI Ref: CLON882

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 33747
lukegeralddillon baronclonbrock augustacarolinedillon baronessclonbrock dillonfamily nationallibraryofireland bicycle bicyclegymkhana firstwavefeminism funrace tressle fashion cycling race clonbrockphotographiccollection

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    John Spooner

    • 27/Jan/2016 08:54:48

    I'd guess this was during an event -e.g. ride a certain distance, drink a cup of tea using only a spoon, complete the ride. The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Saturday, June 13, 1896 gives an idea of the events in a bicycle gymkhana ladiesbicyclegymkhana

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    • 27/Jan/2016 08:55:18

    Persil washes whiter, and it SHOWS! OMO and Persil are still produced, apparently.

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    • 27/Jan/2016 09:00:07

    The way they are tucking in I would say it was during the race. It looks like soup, Scotch Broth or Mulligitawny !

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    John Spooner

    • 27/Jan/2016 09:03:41

    If the print in the PIP article is too small, this is what the 5000 spectators, including royalty, saw at Barnes

    In the amusing "needle" race, ladies had to ride 100 yards, dismount, amd thread a needle at a table, remount, and return to the winning-post round a marked course with the threaded needle. Miss Florence Grenfell was the charming winner. In the bill-posting race competitors had to ride 50 yards, dismount, post abill on a hoarding, mount, and ride 150 yards to the winning-post. The hoop race, the egg-and-spoon race, the linked-hands-race, and the parasol race and also attracted much amused attention. Between two of the races ten young ladies performed a pretty musical ride, arranged and directed by Miss Stuart Snell and the Misses Moss, and were warmly applauded by the royal party.

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    John Spooner

    • 27/Jan/2016 09:51:56

    In April 1896 Freeman's Journal mentions the upcoming Barnes gymkhana in its 'London Correspondence' column, and lists the events as in the report above but also including a 200 yard side saddle race. Presumably this was dropped from the programme of events on the grounds of it being somewhere between impractical and impossible.

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    • 27/Jan/2016 11:19:45

    Hmmm ... what first appears to be 'jolly japes' had a much more serious side -

    ... The impact of the bicycle on female emancipation should not be underestimated. The safety bicycle gave women unprecedented mobility, contributing to their larger participation in the lives of Western nations. As bicycles became safer and cheaper, more women had access to the personal freedom they embodied, and so the bicycle came to symbolise the New Woman of the late nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States. Feminists and suffragists recognised its transformative power. Susan B. Anthony said, "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." In 1895 Frances Willard, the tightly laced president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, wrote a book called How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle (described in Bicycling magazine as "the greatest book ever written on learning to ride"[38]), in which she praised the bicycle she learned to ride late in life, and which she named "Gladys", for its "gladdening effect" on her health and political optimism. Willard used a cycling metaphor to urge other suffragists to action, proclaiming, "I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum."... ...
    From - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle#The_bicycle_...

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    O Mac

    • 27/Jan/2016 11:53:16

    Ah well ! Different spokes for different folks.............. "Don't scream if you meet a cow. If it sees you first it will run." and other "Don't do's" for lady cyclists- from the Newark Sunday Advocate 1895.

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    • 27/Jan/2016 18:03:11

    Wow [https://www.flickr.com/photos/91549360@N03] - some of those are super-weird. Bordering on parody:

    * Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?” * Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
    As described here, it is certainly equal parts amusing and appalling.

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    • 27/Jan/2016 18:12:49

    Where did this take place?

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    La Belle Province

    • 27/Jan/2016 18:54:41


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    John Spooner

    • 27/Jan/2016 20:26:52

    In August 1898 there was a bicycle gymkhana, part of a grand fete held in Lord Iveagh's grounds, near St Stephen's Green, in aid of the Police-aided Children's Clothing Society, and it was reported in detail in Freeman's Journal. It was a shilling to enter the fete, and an extra shilling to see the bicycle gymkhana, which caused some 'unpleasant incidents'. Of the competition itself:

    The first competition was in the decoration of bicycles. The floral decorations of some of them were marvels of beauty. The first prize, a pair of solid silver vases, presended by the Earl of Halsbury, was awarded to Miss Carty, whose bicycle was most artistically decked in a sunflower pattern, her personal attire being appropriately after a similar design. The four in hand (floral) competition was won by the team composed of Mr Tyrrell (driver), Miss Tyrrell, Miss Newcomen, Miss Plews and Miss Wheeler.
    The reason this last sentence caught my eye is that it explains a bizarre photograph I came across at the UK National Archives at Kew last week when looking for something entirely unrelated. IMG_2572

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 27/Jan/2016 22:11:33

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/132471332@N04], we believe it was taken on the Clonbrock Estate near Ahascragh, Co. Galway by the family of Lord Clonbrock. The Dillons (Clonbrocks) were keen photographers and their collection of glass plates is now in the hands of the NLI. [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner], that is bizarre - possibly even more so than the "don'ts" that [https://www.flickr.com/photos/91549360@N03] shared. Thankfully it seems as if that, as [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] points out, the "jolly japes", and dare we say it perhaps chauvinistic aspects of things ("driver"!?, "don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys"!?), didn't stymie the independence and social change that the use of the bicycle facilitated. Descriptions, date, etc all updated to try and summarise today's inputs (though haven't yet been brave enough to mark this on the map with the other Ahascragh images) ....

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    • 28/Jan/2016 00:32:46

    This piece written by Susan, Countess of Malmesbury, from The Badminton Magazine, 1896 is interesting in it's (firmly sarcastic) descriptions of how the "[p]rejudice against this kind of locomotion for women has raged acutely". I spotted this while looking for a piece called "A Bicycle Gymkhana" which appeared in an 1897 issue of "The Badminton" - which having read all the above inputs with interest - I'd now also very much to read. Not least as it was seemingly illustrated - but the copies of it found on Google Books are of the "Where's the rest of this book?" variety....

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    • 28/Jan/2016 03:07:03

    Very dangerous! "From beginning to end the impression cannot be banished from the mind that danger and risk to life and limb appear to be courted at every point" newspapers.library.wales/view/3463308/3463312/80

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    John Spooner

    • 28/Jan/2016 09:32:52

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/20727502@N00] If you really want a copy you can get a printout (at a price) of The Badminton Magazine Of Sports And Pastimes - July 1897 - Containing Chapters On: Solant Yacht Racing, A Golfing Melodrama, Bicycle Gymkhana And Albanian Sport here.

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    Karin Joy Passmore

    • 03/Feb/2016 13:25:29

    The spoon was for carrying an egg...