A Right Royal Occasion – 1935 Style
During the early part of the last century the Cross Foxes Inn, Flint was a favoured watering hole for cyclists. Bearing the CTC Winged Wheel above its entrance as a welcoming sign of excellence, it was an auspicious occasion that brought a posse of cyclists to town on Tuesday, 30th April 1935, to be welcomed and breakfasted by the town mayor, Alderman FB Edwards
It was a ‘reet royal’ occasion to be sure. Riders bearing an unctuous message to King George V, congratulating him on keeping the throne gently warmed for all of twenty-five years. The idea of this Jubilee wheeze came from CTC Head Office in London - to have five hundred riders, each wearing an arm band with the words ‘CTC Royal Silver Jubilee Relay Ride’, carrying a scroll around the country for signing by the Mayors and Provosts of a hundred of the main towns and cities
The start was from the Mansion House, London with the dropping of a flag by Earl Cottenham on Easter Monday, 22nd April. The relaying riders headed up the eastern counties to Dundee, did a shimmy over to Glasgow, and then percolated down the western counties to Bristol before heading back to London and Buckingham Palace
With a one-day diversion into North Wales, local members collected from Chester the black waterproof portfolio of vellum sheets for signature, together with a case of gold-mounted Waterman pens, and a bottle of special permanent black ink, before setting off for Flint. The previous day this precious cargo had travelled 133 miles in various saddle bags from Lancaster to Chester - including the seven and a half minutes it took to cycle between Liverpool and Birkenhead town halls via the Mersey Tunnel.
During breakfast at the Cross Foxes the mayor was presented with a gold embossed CTC year book in exchange for his signature. Curiously this disappeared from public gaze for seventy years, but in a special ceremony in 2006 after it was re-discovered, it was presented to Flint Town Council archive – but that’s a yarn for another day.
On full stomachs the riders set off from Flint to Colwyn Bay, where they were welcomed by Town Mayor Alderman D Edwards JP. As the riders departed for the next rendezvous at Conwy , a telegram was sent to CTC Headquarters – WEDI CYRRAEDD 11/45 BAE-COLWYN WEDI GADAEL 12 – DAVID EDWARDS MAER. There was much consternation at the other end until a staff member was found to speak Welsh.
At Conwy, town mayor EE Buckland JP added his signature to the scroll and presented the riders with silver and enamel Jubilee matchboxes. Where are these gems now, we may ask. Soon Bangor fell to the riders, with a crowd on the steps of the Masonic Hall and a welcome from Alderman Richard Thomas. Thereafter the relay headed for Shrewsbury, via the Nant Ffrancon pass, Cerrig y Druidion and Llangollen, with a police escort into Shrewsbury over the last stretch, completing in all 150 miles in precisely 12 hours.
And so the relay teams continued through the English counties, arriving at the Palace to coincide with Royal Jubilee Day on Monday, 6th May 1935: 2215 miles in fifteen days – and many stories to tell, no doubt, but no opportunity to press flesh with the big man at the palace - just a handing over of the illuminated scroll to an aide, followed by light banter about bottom brackets, sprockets and the like if we know anything about cyclists. Disappointed riders? Not on your life. Cyclists will use any old excuse to go for a spin!
Cross Foxes Inn, Flint. Early 20th century. Note the CTC Winged Wheel Sign. Photo: Flintshire Records Office