September 1947. The long hot summer
was turning to autumn and the Thanet
section of the East Kent District
Association of the C.T.C arrived at
a tea rooms at River near Dover. The
time would have been around 4 o'clock
on a Sunday afternoon. The cyclists,
having left Margate at about nine
that morning, were looking forward
to their tea and cakes.
Once the tea was over all the riders
were given a set of rules laying down
the expected behaviour on club runs.
As is the usual reaction of young
people, when what looks like constraints
being placed on their freedom, a number
of riders rebelled and decided to
go their own way. Some of these riders
had started cycling a year previously
with the Margate Cycling Club and
when the Margate CC folded had joined
the C.T.C. Looking back the introduction
of these rules were in the safety
interest of the young riders. However
it was this event that led to the
formation of the Thanet Road Club.
The name Thanet was chosen because
it was thought necessary to unite
the towns of Broadstairs, Margate
and Ramsgate. This, of course, was
a long while before boundary changes
made the name Thanet more widely known.
Now the club draws its members from
over a thirty mile radius of Thanet
The original club rules are reproduced
below. It is interesting to note the
annual subscription of 8 shillings
(40p) and the power given to the committee
in rule 9.
That the Club be called the THANET
Membership is open to all cyclists.
Male and Female, for racing and touring.
The entrance fee is to be 1/-; the
annual subscription of 8/- to be paid
by March 31st. of the current year.
Subscriptions of members joining after
this date to be decided by the Committee.
The officials of the Club shall consist
of a President, Chairman, General
Secretary, Racing Secretary, Treasurer
and a Committee of six.
The Seasons Club Fixtures to be decided
by the Committee, and a notification
of events sent to each member.
Any member not paying his or her subscriptions
by March 31st. shall cease to be a
member, unless otherwise determined
by the Committee
General Meetings to be held Annually;
Special General Meetings may be held
at any time providing the General
Secretary gives 7 days notice
The Committee shall have power to
expel any member guilty of conduct
detrimental to the Club.
The Committee have power to make bye-laws,
and decide disputes not provided for
in these rules.
The Start Of Racing
It was when Neville Hodges and George
King, both ex members of the pre war
Ramsgate and District Road Club, joined
the Thanet that the racing got off
the ground. The experience of these
elder riders, and their knowledge
of the local courses, was invaluable
to the younger cyclists.
Beside George and Neville two other
ex Ramsgate club members, Bill Barnes
and Charlie King also joined the club
and carried out most of the time keeping
for the club events. Apart from this
quartet most of the other members
were under twenty years of age.
Because of the young age of most of
the riders, the club B.A.R. in 1948
and 1949 was based on selected club
events over 10,25 and 30 miles. All
of these events started and finished
near Philpots Garage at the eastern
end of Canterbury Road East, Ramsgate.
The ten miles course was straight
out to the turn at Monkton roundabout
and retrace. The 25 followed the same
route to Monkton and then carried
on via Sarre and Upstreet to Sturry
where a "U-turn was made just
short of the level crossing.
On the 30 course the riders started
on the Sandwich side of Lord of the
Manor (which was then a cross roads
with no traffic lights) and executed
a "U" turn at the milestone
1 mile from Sandwich. On reaching
Lord of the Manor the riders were
faced with a "Halt at Major Road
Ahead" sign and were expected
to place one foot on the ground in
order to keep within the law.
Here they turned left and followed
the 25 course towards Sturry where
another "U" turn was made
but this time at the top of Staines
Hill avoiding the climb back as in
the 25. The riders then retraced to
Lord of the Manor and the finish at
In June of this first year of racing
Frank Gillete, a 17 year old from
Minster, set a club course record
of 1 hour 4 minutes 40 seconds. This
was to stand until August 1949 when
Frank Randell of Margate recorded
1-03-22 on what was considered a hard
morning beating the second rider Ron
Allen by nearly four minutes. Allen
was no slouch having set a new Ramsgate
to Deal and back record of 1-0-56
a couple of weeks previously.
To return to 1948. Only a few riders
took part in open or association events
in this first year and so on most
Sunday mornings there was an event
on a local course. Beside time trials
the 1948 club champion Frank Gillette
broke two of the old Ramsgate club's
place to place records. The Ramsgate
Canterbury and back, set by George
Holmes in 1935, fell to Frank with
a time of 1-24-44. The other record
was that held by Nelson Standon for
the Ramsgate Ashford and back. Frank
broke this by over nine minutes when
he recorded 2 hrs 46 mins 49 secs.
Both of these events reached the pages
of the Isle of Thanet Gazette together
with another report of a certain founder
member clocked by a police car doing
30 mph along Margate sea front. Neville
Hodges maintained that the speedometer
in the car must have been faulty as
Neville reckoned that the cyclist
concerned could not have reached that
speed even if he had been dropped
out of an aeroplane. Nevertheless
the court decided a £1 fine
should be imposed.
What is believed to be the clubs
first venture into open events took
place in June of this year. The event
was the Sittingbourne C.C. 25 on the
Q8 at Chilham, which attracted a full
field of 120 entries.
can see a history of the kit used
by club members here >>>
can see a history of the trophies
can see the current club records here >>>