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    BannerSix-1

    The Beginnings - in Victorian England

    The sheer size of the gap between the online race statistics and the reports in the contemporary 19th century press - means that this page needs to be completely rewritten. For example, the year 1880 had four British six-days recorded when this web site was started. Now we have 19 confirmed events for that year alone - amazing given the limited range of newspaper archives available online.

    Before 1878

    SIX-DAY cycle racing is generally thought to be of American origin but the first multi-competitor Six was, as far is known, held in England at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, London in November, 1878. This six was an individual affair, not a team race as now. But riding was limited to 18 hours per day.

    One French source claimed that Charles Terront won a Six in Birmingham in 1875 - so pre-dating any London races. But so far this has not been found as recorded elsewhere. Terront would have been just 18 in 1875 and, it seems, did not come to race in England until 1878.

    However in 1875 there was a six day solo ride by David Stanton - a cycling star of the time. And this feat was soon repeated, in England, by Frenchman Camille Thuillet. It was then followed by a challenge by Stanton to ride against Thuillet for six days. Stanton and Thuillet were regular opponents, racing in England over a range of distances throughout the year. But finding a report of this two-man six day race actually happening eludes me. The next nearest thing to a true Six was when Thuillet rode at the same time as Frank White over six days in September 1876 - but Thuillet was at the Molineux grounds and White was at the Walsall Arboretum. However this was soon followed, in October, by a two-man six day race where Thuillet covered the greatest distance but White won the wager - since he had been given a 40 mile start.

    1878

    In February 1878 David Stanton set out to cover 1,000 miles in six days at the Agricultural Hall. This report in the Edinburgh Evening News (4 Mar 1878) provides the evidence - David Stanton has successfully accomplished the feat of riding 1000 miles in six days with the stipulation that he should ride only 18 hours out of the 24. The amount at issue was 200, the backer of time laying half the sum on “Chivnos” and to vary the thing Frank White, of Wolverhampton, Mons. Terront, of Paris (the French champion) and W. Thomas of Hampshire in turn accompanied Stanton at the Agricultural Hall. The start was made at three minutes past six on Monday morning last. His task was steadily continued throughout until Saturday, and at 11h 8m 33s that night Stanton finished his 1000 miles, and was vociferously cheered.

    This time trial set the scene for the pioneer six day race held that November. As everyone will probably know this race was won by a Yorkshireman, William (Bill or Willie) Cann from Sheffield, riding a high wheeler or ordinary bicycle (penny-farthing) who covered some 1,060 miles. 1878 Report - London

    However there was some dispute about the November race being the first, since Velo Gotha, the Belgian cycling bible, stated that there were two Sixes in London in 1878 with the other won by a Mr. Smythe. Going through the press reports there was, indeed, another six day race at the Agricultural Hall, Islington in 1878. And it included a W H Smythe - but it was a pedestrian race. That is a foot race - not a slow cycle race. This may be the source of the confusion.

    And this month (Sep 2015) another six day race has been traced for 1878. A report in the Wrexham Advertiser (18 May 1878) states - A GREAT HORSE AND BICYCLE RACE is now in progress at the Agricultural Hall, London. The conditions are to ride eleven hours a day for six days. The leading competitors completed 500 miles on Wednesday, at the following times: Leon (horse), 8.47pm; Cann (Bicycle), 8.52.52; White (bicycle), 10.58.15. This is backed up by a report in the Aberdeen Journal (20 May 1878) that states - HORSE AND BICYCLE RACE. The six days’ competition between horsemen and bicyclists ended on Saturday night at the Agricultural Hall, London. The result was a victory for Leon, the Mexican rider, who in six days completed 969 miles 2 laps. Cann, the bicyclist, rode 910 miles, White 864 miles, Phillips 850 miles, Patrick 801 miles and Thomas 734 miles. These reports almost certainly refer to the Cann, Phillips and White that competed later that year in the first true Six. However Bicycle versus Horse (or anything else) races have, so far, not been considered as eligible events for inclusion amongst cycling records.

    1879

    George William Waller’s 1879 World Championship belt now at the

    WorldBelt2

    In the following year there were three more recognised Sixes - two in London (April and September) and one in Hull, Yorkshire. All three were won by George Waller from Tyneside. One or more was billed as the “Long Distance Championship of the World” with a prize of belt and 100 guineas (105). George Waller became a major player in the early six day races - and indeed cycling generally - first as a rider then as a promoter >>

    1879 Report - London Race 1 | 1879 Report - London Race 2 | 1879 Report - Hull

    Update 27-Aug-2011 - reports of a Birmingham Six Day, won by Henry Higham, have just been uncovered. These confirm that there were actually four sixes in 1879 but offer no explanation why Birmingham never received its place in the record books. Certainly Waller, Cann and Terront did not compete there - but others from the London races certainly did. More ...

    Also 1879 saw six day riders such as David Stanton, Bill Cann and Charles Terront export the event to the USA with races in Boston and Chicago - during a very cold November more...

    1880

    Charles Terront in 1891 - winner of the 1st Paris-Brest-Paris

    Frenchman Charles Terront won all three of the officially recorded Sixes that year - at London (Race Report), Hull (Race Report) and Edinburgh (Race Report). There is also a Newcastle Six reported on “Memoir du cyclisme” as won by Bill Cann. The existence of this race is confirmed by a press cutting from the Daily News (Saturday 26-Jun-1880) stating that George Waller fell while riding in the Six Days’ Bicycle Contest at Newcastle-on-Tyne and was found to have a broken collar bone.

    However research by .uk shows that there were more British Six-Day races that year.

    The Hull Six report mentions that Terront had previously won at Edinburgh with a distance of 920 miles and also that Lees had won at Leeds with a distance of 1,020 miles. This was the first reference to a Leeds Six Day. A search of the Leeds press found more - Leeds Six Day Race 1880

    Further clues lead to the discovery of press reports for a Wolverhampton Six Day in 1880. The next found was a second Six Day in Edinburgh followed by another in Dundee. Then the Bristol Mercury reported a Six Day in Bristol as well as a reference to an earlier one in Dublin. And checking the Dublin press then found - the Dublin Six Day Race 1880.

    So that made a total of 10 Sixes in Britain during 1880 - but the numbers keep increasing ... so that now there are 19!

    1881

    Then there is a gap in the official race records for the UK until the Newcastle Six Day of 1883. However reports in the Northern Echo describe a Six Days’ Professional race at Middlesbrough in September 1881. Also the description of this race clearly shows that idea that all these early races were “24 hours in the saddle” affairs is wrong. The race programme has the “Six” running from 2:30pm until 10:30pm each day - and, somehow, to also have a separate six-hour amateur race. More digging in press reports has found more - a Newcastle Six Day and another Six in Bishop Auckland. That was three “new” Sixes in 1881 - but more press reports keep turning up new events at new venues.

    So this is the current summary of British Six Day Cycle Races, confirmed or suspected, up to the end of 1881; in date order. Almost all are backed up by full press reports but a few are simply a list of results or a lone paragraph. It is still possible that there are more waiting to be re-discovered even though the calendar is starting to fill-up!

    LabelDate-140

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    18 to 23 November 1878

    Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

    William (Bill) CANN

    reports

    28 April to 3 May 1879

    Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

    George William WALLER

    reports

    1 to 6 September 1879

    Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

    George William WALLER

    reports

    27 October to 1 November 1879

    Bingley Hall, Birmingham

    Henry HIGHAM

    reports

    22 to 27 December 1879

    Rifle Barracks, Kingston upon Hull

    George William WALLER

    reports

    14 to 20 March 1880

    Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

    Charles TERRONT

    reports

    26 April to 1 May 1880

    Molineux Grounds, Wolverhampton

    Henry HIGHAM

    reports

    3 to 8 May 1880

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    Charles TERRONT

    reports

    17 to 22 May 1880

    Cardigan Fields, Leeds

    F J LEES

    reports

    31 May to 5 June 1880

    Rifle Barracks, Kingston upon Hull

    Charles TERRONT

    reports

    14 to 19 June 1880

    Burnbank Drill Hall, Glasgow

    Henry HIGHAM

    reports

    21 to 26 June 1880

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    W PHILLIPS

    reports

    21 to 26 June 1880

    Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    G E EDLIN

    reports

    12 to 17 July 1880

    Sands, Carlisle

    J W LAMB

    reports

    9 to 14 August 1880

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    W PERRY

    reports

    9 to 14 August 1880

    Earlsfort Rink, Dublin

    T ANDREWS

    reports

    23 to 28 August 1880

    Skating Rink, York

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    30 August to 4 September 1880

    Sunderland

    R ROBERTS

    reports

    27 September to 2 October 1880

    Gilkes Street, Middlesbrough

    F J LEES

    reports

    11 to 16 October 1880

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    R ROBERTS

    reports

    8 to 13 November 1880

    Feethams, Darlington

    J BATTENSBY

    reports

    15 to 20 November 1880

    Drill Hall, Bristol

    Robert JAMES

    reports

    15 to 20 November 1880

    Drill Hall, Dundee

    W PERRY

    reports

    27 December 1880 to 1 January 1881

    Cricket grounds, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    George William WALLER

    reports

    9 to 14 May 1881

    Queen Street South, Huddersfield

    J W LAMB

    reports

    6 to 11 June 1881

    Granby Row, Manchester

    J W LAMB

    reports

    27 June to 2 July 1881

    Town Moor, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    F J LEES

    reports

    4 to 9 July 1881

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    Henry HIGHAM

    reports

    8 to 13 August 1881

    Cricket Field, Bishop Auckland

    W PARKES

    reports

    29 August to 3 September 1881

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    George William WALLER

    reports

    19 to 24 September 1881

    Cattle Market Ground, Middlesbrough

    J W LAMB

    reports

    10 to 15 October 1881

    Next to Baths, Stockton on Tees

    abandoned through gales

    reports

    7 to 12 November 1881

    Cricket Field, Sunderland

    George William WALLER

    reports

    As can be seen from this growing list a “Six Day Circus” had been established - driven mainly by George Waller and concentrated in the North East of England. It was equipped to set-up a board track within a marquee where a town did not have a large enough hall. And there was also “The Bicycle Racing 鸿运彩票是正规平台吗” promoting similar races - but with a different team of riders in Scotland and Ireland.

    1882

    No entries in the record books - but there was a Six reported in the Aberdeen press; won by G W Waller from H O Duncan of Paris. This result is repeated in the review of the career of Herbert Osbaldeston Duncan - which also states “In Edinburgh he took part in a six day race from October 14 to 22 [1882], the race lasted 26 hours, at 4 hours per day on average. He was warmly congratulated by his friends, because without the serious accident which befell him (his machine slipped on the asphalt) Duncan would have come first, because at that time had a lead of two laps. So it was Waller who won first prize after a journey of 386 miles and 5 laps (622 km). Duncan was second with a delay of 800 meters.” translated from the French website. [not traced]

    1883

    The 1883 Newcastle Six Day was officially listed as being won by a Mr. Battemsby. However Battemsby is not a known surname and based on the latest press cutting searches it seems the surname should really be spelt with an “n” - and, most likely, the entries refer to Tom Battensby of Cramlington, Northumberland. But other possibilities have been discovered - as some race reports list a “J Battensby” and others a “Battersby” . Some could be typos, but there one or two reports of Sixes where both J and T Battensby were competing.

    And also George Waller is listed as reappearing that year to win six in Aberdeen. However the initial press cuttings give Lees winning from Waller when the race ended on Saturday 8-Sep-1883. This race was unusual in that it seemed to be a “Seven Day” race; starting and ending on a Saturday (with no Sunday racing). But as more press reports have been discovered there is now clear documentation that Aberdeen had more Sixes from 1880 onwards - with two or three in a single summer season. [In 1886 Aberdeen had three sixes plus another in December]

    In 1883 there was another Six at Middlesbrough and also one at North Shields, just a week after the Aberdeen race, that ended on Saturday 15-Sep-1883; won by Parkes.

    1884-99

    Here the official records diverge from the press cuttings. Three Six Days were listed on recognised web sites when we started but where no corresponding press reports were found. However there were press reports that describe Six Day races that were not mentioned elsewhere online. Just more encouragement to dig further ...

     

    CodyFournierGabyDuring this period sportsmen and entertainers came to Europe from the USA; one of the most famous shows being William Cody’s “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”. It came to England in 1887 in time for Queen Victoria’s jubilee. A spin-off was a number of “Cowboys v. Bicyclists” Six Day races.

    Three have been spotted in the British press but there may have been more. They were popular - It is claimed that the first Islington race attracted 15,000 spectators. The horses versus cyclists six day races found are listed below.

    Buffalo Bill organised various other horse-versus-cyclist races around Europe during the early 1890s - most were over three days; including one in Liverpool in 1892. These 3 and 6 day races are not listed in the conventional Sixes. The Buffalo Velodrome was a legacy on the Wild West show ground in Paris.

    However another US showman, S F Cody, also came to Europe and copied not only the name but also the shows of Buffalo Bill (W F) Cody - including the horse versus cyclist races shown on this poster. No records of these race happening in Britain have been found, but “S F” did stay and become a British citizen before his death in an aeroplane accident in 1913.

    Date

    Venue

    Cowboys on “mustang ponies”

    Bicyclists

    November 1887

    Agricultural Hall, Islington

    Marve Beardsley
    Broncho Charley [Bronco Charlie]

    Richard HOWELL (Manchester)
    William M WOODSIDE (Philadelphia)

    Christmas 1887

    Bingley Hall, Birmingham

    Marve Beardsley
    Broncho Charley

    Richard HOWELL
    Charles TERRONT
    William M WOODSIDE

    March 1888

    Agricultural Hall, Islington

    Marve Beardsley
    Broncho Charley

    J[ules?] DUBOIS (France)
    William M WOODSIDE
    J YOUNG (Scotland?)

    A recently updated (2004), short children’s book Bronco Charlie and the Pony Express gives the simplified life story for this Charlie - who despite everything lived to be over 100. In contrast William Woodside died of yellow fever on 18-May-1890 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aged just 30.

    The final two official British Six Days were listed as being at Wolverhampton in 1890 were H. Higham won and at Edinburgh in 1891 when John Dunlop Lumsden was the victor; neither have been traced. Another source says Lumsden also won Sixes at Edinburgh in 1887 and Glasgow in 1893 - and this has now been confirmed. And the same John Lumsden did certainly come 3rd in the . And other reports state - Mr. English won in Newcastle in 1890 (traced); C Terront won in London in 1891 (not found); W Parkes won in Edinburgh in 1892 (now traced).

    And this is the current summary of races traced, and still outstanding, for 1882 onwards -

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    3 to 10 June 1882

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    J CLEMINSON

    reports

    14 to 19 August 1882

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    George William WALLER

    reports

    14 to 22 October 1882

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    George William WALLER

    reports

    26 to 31 March 1883

    Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    J W LAMB

    reports

    14 to 19 May 1883

    Holmeside, Sunderland

    W PARKES

    reports

    7 to 14 July 1883

    Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

    W PERRY

    reports

    4 to 11 August 1883

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    H O DUNCAN

    reports

    3 to 8 September 1883

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    F J LEES

    reports

    10 to 15 September 1883

    Cricket Ground, North Shields

    W PARKES

    reports

    8 to 13 October 1883

    Albert Road, Middlesbrough

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    27 December 1883 to 1 January 1884

    St George’s Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    5 to 12 July 1884

    Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

    W TYRE

    reports

    15 to 20 December 1884

    Westminster Aquarium, London

    James BIRT

    reports

    13 to 20 June 1885

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    J W LAMB

    reports

    20 to 27 July 1885

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    30 Aug to 5 Sept 1885

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    28 Dec 1885 to 4 Jan 1886

    Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

    Sam CLARK

    reports

    22 to 29 May 1886

    Bon Accord Recreation Hall, Aberdeen

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    19 to 26 June 1886

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    W TYRE

    reports

    5 to 10 July 1886

    Cycling Grounds, North Shields

    W WOOD (Amateur)

    reports

    14 to 21 August 1886

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    F J LEES

    reports

    11 to 18 December 1886

    Recreation Grounds, Inches, Aberdeen

    J YOUNG

    reports

    24 to 29 October 1887

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    John Dunlop LUMSDEN

    reports

    5 to 10 December 1887

    Drill Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    28 February to 3 March 1888

    Newcastle-on-Tyne

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    10 to 17 March 1888

    Bon Accord Recreation Hall, Aberdeen

    abandoned 14 March

    reports

    22 to 27 July 1889

    Cycling Grounds, North Shields

    R H English

    reports

    11 to 16 November 1889

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    John Dunlop LUMSDEN

    reports

    18 to 23 November 1889

    Skating Rink, Sunderland

    Tom BATTENSBY

    reports

    ? December 1889 to ? January 1890

    Newcastle-on-Tyne

    Tom ENGLISH

    reports

    16 to 23 August 1890

    Victoria Recreation Grounds, Aberdeen

    Tom ENGLISH

    reports

    ?? 1890

    Wolverhampton
    Since Higham won at Wolverhampton
    in 1880 and moved to the USA
    about 1884 this looks like a date error.

    Henry HIGHAM

    no reports

    ?? 1890

    London
    most likely a date error for 1880

    Charles TERRONT

    no reports

    ?? 1891

    Edinburgh
    possibly a date error for 1889 even
    though Lumsden is reported has having
    won a 3rd Edinburgh Six before 1892
    .

    John Dunlop LUMSDEN

    no reports

    18 to 23 April 1892

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    A H ROBB

    reports

    2 to 7 May 1892

    Central Hall, Holborn, London

    J W LAMB

    reports

    5 to 10 December 1892

    Waverley Market, Edinburgh

    W PARKES

    reports

    30 January to 4 February 1893

    Burnbank Drill Hall, Glasgow

    John Dunlop LUMSDEN

    reports

    30 December 1895 to 4 January 1896

    Westminster Aquarium, London

    L DAVIS

    reports

    23 to 28 March 1896

    Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

    Arthur V LINTON

    reports

    This final 1896 Six Day race was run as 4 hours per day amongst other racing and had some notable riders from the USA amongst the field. “Fourth stage of Twenty-four hours’ scratch race - Total distances run:- A V Linton, 333 miles 7 laps 165 yards; G Baraquin, 333 miles 7 laps 149 yds; E Hale*, 333 miles 4 laps 129 yards; F Waller*, 333 miles 3 laps 134 yards; G A Nelson, 333 miles 3 laps 78 yards; G A Paterson, 332 miles 3 laps 74 yards; T Jones, 324 miles 5 laps 131 yards; E O Perry, 324 miles 4 lpas 195 yards.” The Standard (London, England) Friday 27-Mar-1896. *These riders are thought to be; Teddy Hale - the winner of 1896 New York Six - and Frank Waller the winner at Washington and Pittsburgh in 1894.

    Clearly there is more that needs to be done to confirm - or otherwise - these sketchy race results.

    Brief notes about the 19th Century Male Riders are available here...

    Women’s Six Day Races

    In 2009-10 the in Novi Ligure, Italy featured an exhibition about the history of women's cycling. The introduction to the exhibition stated that women's racing began in London with a six day event in 1895.

    Despite being a cycling fan for decades, I knew nothing about the women’s races - but now the information collected has grown to the point where they need some web pages of their own. These Ladies Six Day races - and even some “twelves” - only ran for a few years but there were plenty of them. You can read more starting from Women’s Races onwards. And note that there was men v. women six day in 1897.

    There is a summary of all the British Six Day races - and their variants - for the 19th Century here....

    William “Plugger” Martin - winner of the 1891 New York Six Day. He later moved to Australia.

    Racing Starts in the USA

    After Billy Cann's London success in 1878 he went to the States with Charles Terront and Harry Etherington (plus others). And at Chicago in 1879 he, possibly, won the first Six in the USA. Shortly after Charles Terront won the first Boston Six and, perhaps, a second one at Chicago. No more US Sixes were reported until 1885 when Albert Schock won for the USA at Chicago. He, reportedly, went on to win at Minneapolis (1887, 1893) at New York (1893 x 2, 1894, 1895) and at Washington (1896).
    However after some very limited research it has emerged that there has been under reporting of early US six day races. So even though it is mostly correct that the star riders were Irish-American William (Bill) Martin at Minneapolis (1890, 1891, 1892) and New York (1891) - and Charlie Ashinger winner at New York (1892). This is not the full story. Irishman Teddy Hale covered 1,920 miles when winning the 1896 Six at New York but there were lots more great individual performances during the 1880s and 90s.
    And riders from the British Isles rode in many of these early US Sixes - with Lamb, Lumsden, Stage, Wood, etc appearing in the fields. Some stayed on and became US citizens - and this accounts for why some names (Higham, Prince, ...) disappeared from the British results. Similarly US riders competed in Britain and some British Sixes were promoted by US managers.

    A start has been made on collating the sources of 19th century six day race results here....

    The first race using the modern format was held in New York in 1899. It was won by the team of Charles Miller and Frank Waller (both of German origin) who covered 2,745 miles, finishing two laps ahead of the field. Miller had previously won the Sixes at New York (1897, 1898) and Houston (1898). These races at New York’s Madison Square Garden developed the team-riding format that became the race now called a "Madison" in English or “l’Americaine” in French..

    Six Day Races Start in Australia

    In 1881 Jack Rolfe won the first two Australian Sixes - in Melbourne and Adelaide - he also won two of the next three. According to an Australian researcher / relative “Jack Rolfe came out from Birmingham, England in 1879 and started (or was at least involved with) the "Sydney Bicycle Works" in 1894. Newspapers at the time proclaimed him "world champion cyclist" as he challenged riders from Scotland and America. I believe he moved to Ballarat and later Bendigo in Victoria and set up shop there and started making Rolfe Cycles. His son Herbert, was also a champion rider.”

    Six Day races in Australia would later overtake those in Britain ... but that’s another story .....

    For the overall look back over the great Victorian period of cycle racing see the Summary here ...

     

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    鸿运彩票是正规平台吗

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