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History of the Bromsgrove olympique 




Record of a conversation with Mike Crane.
Early 1970's

By Neville Billington- Longstanding club member.

In 1963  Pam and I bought our first house.  It was on Cloverdale, a then new small estate in Stoke Prior.  A gentleman named Mike Crane (who I did not know until moving to Cloverdale) also bought one.  Luckily we made friends and he told me he was at the very first meeting when the Bromsgrove Olympique was formed.  Fortunately  I made a number of handwritten notes which have survived, indeed they have been carefully kept in the club’s archives for many years.  Mike Armstrong has sent me a facsimile copy and below is a resume.  It tells the bare essentials about the club’s very beginning.  Unfortunately, Mike Crane passed away several years ago.  The handwritten record, as I say, is in the form of notes I made as Mike told it.  I am setting out below a summary of this most interesting narrative: 



The meeting where it all began was held in 1948, London Olympic Games year.

It was held in an outhouse of the Dog and Phesant public house in the town.  About a dozen local folk turned up. Mike stressed to me how Spartan the room was.  It had a window but there was no glass in it!  John Millingham was there, the licensee of the pub  was his father.  Mike said John was “instrumental” in the club’s foundation.  

Tony Speed chaired the meeting (Tony was the son of the founder of Speeds Cycles in Birmingham Road).  Other local young people present were Rupert Rea, Ted Wheeler, Ray Kings, Cliff Pugh, John Millingham (mentioned above).  Everyone  sat around a table and discussion surrounded aspects like club colours.  With the year being 1948 when the Olympic Games were being held in London, it was decided to call the club “The Bromsgrove Olympique”.  Mike stressed that club cyclists at that time tended to look upon the French as trendsetters in everything cycling and it was agreed the French spelling should be adopted!  Discussion surrounded such issues as club colours and evidently the meeting concluded with the Bromsgrove Olympique being born.            


It was not long alas, before a dispute of some sort occurred (Mike Crane could not recall what it was about) and the club almost failed to survive.  However, it blew over but the next problem was there were insufficient members to make hiring a room for club meetings possible.  At this stage, a gentleman named Albert Jones, who was a native of Crewe (and evidently was – or had been -  a member of Crewe Clarion Cycling Club, offered to allow the club to meet in his railway cottage (Albert was a driver of “Big Bertha”, the banking engine).  This kindness brought the club though its first crises.  It is not certain how long members met at the railway cottage but later, Mike Crane said, club-night meetings were held in a hayloft behind Jefferies ironmongers.  


Footnote: the railway cottages at Bromsgrove, which James McConnell, Locomotives Superintendant of the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway Company, had built in the 1840s, were demolished in 1960.  Fortunately a gentleman named John Cashmore made a drawing of one of them just prior to demolition. 

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