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Where: Leinster, Dublin City, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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A fascinating insight into the world of bicycle racing back in the late 1800's complete with tickets attached to the plate! In the early years of cycling such races were commonplace and attracted crowds and prize money. The obvious differences between then and now are the clothing being worn and the handlebars but the technology has changed enormously. It appears to be out forring but given the details of the Dillon's travels that we have uncovered it should be simple enough to establish where it was?

Photographers: Dillon Family

Contributors: Luke Gerald Dillon, Augusta Caroline Dillon

Collection: Clonbrock photographic Collection

Date: 26th March 1894

NLI Ref: CLON1780

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

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 4366
theclonbrockphotographiccollection lukegeralddillon baronclonbrock augustacarolinedillon baronessclonbrock dillonfamily nationallibraryofireland bikerace track bicycles cycling rds ballsbridge royaldublinsociety 1894 march1894

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  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 28/Oct/2021 07:44:11

    26 March 1894 was a Monday ...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 07:55:29

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I bet it was Easter Monday?

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:03:08

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] Correct

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:06:34

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland It was! 🚴 🚴🚴🚴 🚴 🚴

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:23:17

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia https://www.flickr.com/photos/cassidyphotography https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner I have a strange feeling it might be the Royal Dublin Society at Ballsbridge?

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    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:34:05

    I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be a Meldon photo rather than a Dillon photo. Louis Meldon was interested in both cycling and high speed photography, and I think I remember seeing references somewhere to him taking photos of cycling. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland There's an article in the Dublin Evening Mail of 27 March 1894 talking about the 10th Annual Cycling and Athletic tournament held the previous day in Ballsbridge.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:40:13

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet I am amazed, I am never right!

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:41:58

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland I think you could be right. The Irish Independent on the 27th has a lengthy report on the annual tournament of the ICA (Irish Cycling Association?) at Ballsbridge.

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    cargeofg

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:43:54

    On the perforated edging from a sheet of stamps I read can 1 mile 2class 1st heat and 94

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    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:46:42

    There's some info written on the label on the right - the date and "1 mile 2 class H__(?) 1st heat".

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    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 08:52:03

    Looking again at the Evening Mail article, I think it might be the 1 Mile Second Class Handicap. In which case, the competitors for the 1st heat were: G. Armstrong, AFC JA Healey O&NCC John Cullen WCC T Edwards NCC CC Williams WCC H Rourke, TRC JJ Keane, NCC RM Fletcher, NCC

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:04:07

    A couple of snippets from the Irish Independent report

    Simply celestial weather was associated with the annual meeting of the above at Ballsbridge yesterday. The attendance was something enormous. both the grand stand and, more particularly, the sixpenny place being packed.
    and our alliteration-loving writer later described the track:
    Perhaps, however. I am diving into technicalities precipitally, and I should say, prefaratorily, that the tracks were about good they always were, but that the bicycle one needs a great deal of improvement. The executive are now inevitably presented with the alternative of developing or extra banking the Masonic School corner or giving up scratch races altogether. There is no use in blinking or dodging this. The present procedure is drastically dangerous, and the spectacle of six or so men lying like bled butcher's meat about the track is not calculated to popularise the sport. Of course there was a great deal more innocuous blood than real mischief about the misadventures. but still they were bad enough. Such a sight of either Mr O’Brien or Mr Findlater presented after their accidents has been seldom seen, and their bicycles, resembling burst birdcages or broken "bustles" were no objects for competition afterwards.

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    Foxglove

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:18:30

    I presume that the tyres would have not been tubed ... painful !

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:23:02

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner I am sure the spills and thrills were a big attraction to those in the "sixpenny place" O'Brien and Findlater might have had too much wine on Easter Sunday!

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    Foxglove

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:31:42

    aha, Dunlop started making inner tubes in the mid 19th century

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    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:38:53

    The Irish Independent described the final, but not the heats.

    The Second-class Mile Bicycle Handicap received thirty-one entries, and after getting through four heats the final fell to H G Wells off the scratch mark, who got home in front of Healy by a wheel. J Bowden, of Belfast, being half a wheel off third.
    H G Wells? Surely not the H G Wells? He would have been in his 20s at the time, and was a keen cyclist ...

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:47:03

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner It's H.E. Wells in the Evening Mail, from the VCC, but they just gave results, and no description.

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    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 09:48:37

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/foxglove As a footnote to the report in the Irish Independent there's what I suspect is an 1894 informercial - an advert purporting to be news

    Yesterday at Ballsbridge the '94 Dunlop Detatchable Racing Tyre scored all through; notably in the record made by Talbot, in which he lowered the track record to 2 22 3.5 for a mile on his Nelson Racing Safety; also first and second in the Agents Cup Race, won by Mr Hugh O'Neill taking it from Mr O'Callaghan, of Cork, holder for two years.
    The breakthrough for using pneumatics for racing came in 1891 when Charles Terront won the first Paris-Brest-Paris on Dunlops.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:01:29

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet On "The Time Machine? or "The Wheels of Chance" perhaps.

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    suckindeesel

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:05:28

    I wonder if it was held on the Jumping Grounds? Looks like the right shape. The 'Masonic School corner' must refer to the Masonic Female Orphan School (Bewleys Hotel in later times) On the 25" arcg.is/0m5iyq0

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    robinparkes

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:07:20

    I assume that is another competitor on the left of the leading rider. Banking on the corners would be essential. I wonder if the track still exists. The one at Orangefield in Belfast does. I wonder if there are any period photographs of racing there.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:14:47

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] It must be this Herbert George Wells 29 years old and a commercial traveller in cycles in the 1901 census. I cannot find him in the 1911 census.

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    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:15:53

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet He's H E Wells in the results bit of the Irish Independent, too, and there are a lot more matches for H E Wells in 1896 in the results of cycling races than for H G Wells. On the subject of literary figures and cycling, I once read that Samuel Beckett used to frequent a velodrome in Paris (as a spectator), and one of the leading riders there at that time was called Godeau.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 10:25:49

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner I hear what you say, I thought it was too much of a coincidence that he worked in cycles. I am also fascinated that he is Herbert George as well! What are the odds?

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    O Mac

    • 28/Oct/2021 11:12:03

    Fixed wheels and no brakes.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 13:22:45

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] How did they stop? Stop pedalling?

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    suckindeesel

    • 28/Oct/2021 13:27:04

    "every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind HG Wells Author of the 'Wheels of chance' thevictoriancyclist.wordpress.com/tag/h-g-wells/

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    John Spooner

    • 28/Oct/2021 13:43:05

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Fixed wheel and no brakes is still standard (and mandatory) in track racing. You can slow down on fixed wheel by applying less pressure on the pedals, or, if on a banked velodrome, by going up the banking. There's no freewheel, so just stopping pedalling isn't possible. If you ride fixed wheel for the first time, you instinctively try to stop pedalling. But only once. I've seen grass-track racing in the UK, fixed-wheels and no brakes, but on a flat sports field, with a 400-metre track marked out like an athletics track. No banking means positioning is very important, and it's very much a contact sport. Probably very similar to the lads at Ballsbridge. I'm about to nip out to the shops in my fixie (but with brakes).

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 15:16:18

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner Thank you!

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    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 19:40:24

    It only took me 6 years, but I finally have actual proof that at least one of the Clonbrock collection was taken by L. [ouis] Meldon. This photo from the catalogue is the original of this engraving from the Graphic of 16th June 1894, credit L. Meldon: [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51635063242] (Previous Meldon installments include Christmas, Hodder and Tennis.)

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    O Mac

    • 28/Oct/2021 20:53:29

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ You took your time. :) Did we ever find out what the L Meldon Dillon connection was? There's no question but a lot of Clonbrock photographs were taken by Meldon.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 20:54:15

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Hi Sharon, we need to get all of this in the one place, we could post the original of the Tennis photo (in a few weeks) and it would give you the opportunity to make as many comments as needed to explain your theory, your process and we could tie in with the other Meldon photos. What do you think?

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    sharon.corbet

    • 28/Oct/2021 21:15:25

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I don’t think we managed to find the connection yet, other than the fact that both Louis Meldon’s father and his wife came from the Galway area. And, yeah, there’s quite a lot that seem to be by Meldon rather than Dillon. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland That would be perfect, as it’d give me a chance to finish my current line of investigation (mostly newspaper photos) and summarise the information that we’d already come up with over the past couple of years.

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    O Mac

    • 28/Oct/2021 21:33:38

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ Besides Clonbrock Meldon also knew Hargrave.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 21:36:08

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I never knew that!

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    O Mac

    • 28/Oct/2021 21:44:09

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ They both raced Waterwag boats in DunLaoghaire.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Oct/2021 22:01:17

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] OK. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/22215004250

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 29/Oct/2021 16:28:11

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Hi Sharon, I have the tennis photo to hand. Let me know when you want us to post it. Have a great weekend, Mary

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 29/Oct/2021 19:44:05

    Sorry to interrupt this scholarly discussion; those handlebars remind me of moustaches - https://www.flickr.com/photos/truch/5187778381/via https://www.flickr.com/photos/truch/

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 30/Oct/2021 08:31:58

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Were there no handlebar moustaches before cycles?

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 30/Oct/2021 09:27:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland, https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner/ will know!

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Oct/2021 18:39:06

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] I no longer have access to the OED *shakes fist at Hampshire Libraries* but the earliest newspaper mention of "handlebar moustache" I can find is from 22nd May 1937 in the Dundee Courier, in a serialisation of She got what she wanted by *Reita Lambert: " She has just broken a date with me, left me flat for a tall, dark chap with a handlebar moustache. " Handlebar moustaches existed before bicycles, but the phrase didn't come into use until long after Michaux, Starley etc did their thing. The moustache handlebar is also a thing. First newspaper mention is from 1948, but very simlar to some of the ones in use at Ballsbridge. *Ms Lambert was an American novelist, so perhaps the term was imported across the Atlantic.

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    John Spooner

    • 30/Oct/2021 19:19:09

    Given that six of the eight riders in the heat are in the picture, I venture to suggest that it was taken near the end of the race. I have seen handicap races at the Good Friday meeting at Herne Hill outdoor velodrome in south London, which was held from 1903 to 2017. If the handicapper has done his job well, the 'scratch' riders arrive at the finish at the same time as those who were given starts of various distances. Of course this never happened, but it was often touch and go as to whether the scratch riders would catch the slower riders who had started ahead of them. The Herne Hill handicapper dressed in a similar but slightly more flamboyant manner to his Victorian predecessors (including a bowler hat). The handicaps for 'our' race were: G Armstrong 15 yards J A Healy scratch John Cullen 20 yards G Edwards 20 yards C C Williams 30 yards H Rourke 50 yards J J Keane 70 yards R M Fletcher 90 yards

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 31/Oct/2021 09:57:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner Thanks, John.

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 31/Oct/2021 11:03:09

    Health & Safety 1894 - when only the race officials wore helments.

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    Raku Crackle

    • 07/Nov/2021 03:29:00

    Has the location and race been i-d? "...Given that six of the eight riders in the heat are in the picture..." "...The handicaps for 'our' race were..." John Spooner Or is that about another race?

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 07/Nov/2021 17:45:26

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yes, a combination of the date and the note on the right side of the photo leads us to believe that it was the 1st Heat of the 1 Mile Second Class Handicap race at the 10th Annual Cycling and Athletic tournament in Ballsbridge, Dublin. (You may need to click “View previous comments” at the top to see the bit where that was identified.)