Finding inspiration in the archives…

A nice part of my job is when I feel inspired by an archive collection that I am working on. This happened most recently when I was cataloguing the Ebor Cycling Club collection (ECC), and what a gem their archive collection turned out to be! I have enjoyed cycling ever since I was a child- but this collection has inspired me to get back into it, and here’s why…

Ebor Cycling Club badges and logos (ECC/4/3)
Ebor Cycling Club badges and logos (ECC/4/3)

The Ebor Cycling Club collection contains the usual club minutes, finances and correspondence that most community group collections include, but what stood out to me were the operational and publicity records of the Club. They include runs cards that detail where the Club cycled to and from on various days; record cards showing who cycled where and in what time, and descriptions of trophies and prizes awarded to members for exceptional rides during competitive races. But it seems that the Club was not just serious about cycling, but enjoyed a thriving social life as well.

The collection offers a glimpse of their annual dinner dances and weekly social nights, and shows a club that fostered strong friendships and provided plenty of good times. What a fun club to be a part of!

I imagine Ebor Cycling Club members wearing their badges with pride as they competed in events, or even when they were out for their regular Wednesday night rides. I have visions of them celebrating their successes, and rallying around one another to offer support during competitive events. It seems that there was a real camaraderie amongst the members of the Ebor Cycling Club, and it only took me a day’s worth of work organising the collection for me to want to have been a part of it.

Lawrence Street Sunday School Cycling Club in about 1890 ( law_gre_42).
Lawrence Street Sunday School Cycling Club in about 1890 ( law_gre_42).

York is undoubtedly a cycling city, and has been for many years. These records offer an exciting glimpse of York’s cycling history, and really bring to life the joy that the sport has given to people throughout the years. It is for that reason that the Ebor Cycling Club collection (ECC) has quickly become one of my favourite community group collections, and I urge you all to come and take a look at it, and feel as inspired by it as I am!

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