Library Collection

Southern Counties Cyclists Camps in Shalford Park (1886-87)

By the 1880s cycling had become a very popular pursuit; Guildford had its own Cycling Club which met at the White Hart Hotel in the High Street – now Sainsbury’s.

In 1886, the Southern Counties Cyclist Camp committee agreed to stage their camp and race meeting in Guildford. The camp took place from 30 July to 5 August in Shalford Park, with races held at the cricket ground in Woodbridge Road. Many thousands went along to view the spectacle, and an array of additional entertainments and activities were provided to cater for them. The races consisted of six laps of the ground, with categories for tricycles, tandems and the “high ordinary bicycle” – better known as the Penny Farthing. The 1886 Guildford camp was so popular that it was repeated the following year on an even grander scale, and in 1888 a further camp was held at Busbridge Park in Godalming. Our collection comprises a scrapbook of early photographs of competitors and races, descriptions of the events, locations, and people, race results and reports, and programmes of race meetings and the associated ‘grand events’ and entertainments.