by Frank Allcorn (Originally written for the 40th Anniversary dinner in 1992, and reprinted for the 50th Anniversary dinner in 2002.)
Way back in the 1940s and 1950s, cycling was very popular. But cycling was, to almost the whole nation, the only way of getting around. I then worked on the railways at Bletchley Loco, and I knew of only one man who had a car. A few had motorcycles, and that was among a total of 600 men around Bletchley Station.
So if you worked, you walked, bussed, railed or cycled, and went by rail to your holidays in Llandudno. Young sporting types, we were off for rides. Soon, at about 17 and in wartime, I joined the Luton Wheelers. Charlie Cole was then “Master”, but they had many good cyclists. Most were in reserved occupations building tanks at Vauxhalls or aircraft at Hatfield.
Later, about 1949-1950, much enthusiasm was shown in the post-war period in Bletchley by its top men, councillors, businessmen etc to form a sports club, which was named the Bletchley Town Sports Club. This came about as follows: A field was purchased and manor Fields, Fenny Stratford, intending to have football, rugby, athletics, and even a swimming pool was proposed, certainly a headquarters building. Most of this came about due to the drive of these same men. Cyclists recruited from Luton were Jack Bromfield, Tom Sharp Bill Walpole, myself, and one or two others who's names at the moment slip, though i know them well. Dick Waldron came from Wolverton C&AC with a few others. Some, like Bob O'Dell, stayed with their clubs but we were still a group and Bob is even a founder member of the NBRC.
Well, things didn't work out for us cyclists, we had Toffie Tofield in charge, nice man but he had no wish to rise at 5 or 6 am on a Sunday morning to drive his van, full of half a dozen cyclists plus bikes, out to the F1. We were out on a limb! There was “in town” also another group, Row Jones, Clive Williamson etc, who used to ride out and so the obvious had to happen. A number of us met up at The Wheatsheaf in Bow Brickhill, to question whether to form a new club. “All in favour” said our chairman Dick Goodman, and most at that meeting formed a committee. So shortly afterwards a meeting was called inviting all cyclists in and around Bletchley and North Bucks to “join and form” this skeleton. A new cycling club meeting at the “Coffee Tavern” (some knew where that was – Bletchley Station), in an upstairs room, bringing a brilliant dawn to Bletchley Town's cyclists, even if it brought disappointment to the councillors ans businessmen who were shocked by our desertion. I don't think our Toffie Tofield ever got over it as the letters of resignation fell into his letterbox.
So that, in short, is how the NBRC was formed. If you want to know more,w e still have the original minute books (and very interesting they are too). In the early days some changes occurred which you would not expect now, such as members being “called up” to the colours – army, air force etc. I didn't have to go at any time as I was in a reserved occupation on the railway steam engines, trying hard to skip Sunday jobs so that I could get out cycling with this here new club, and be among my mates.
Derek Taylor has written and published a Club History. Contact him for details.