IN his attic and dotted around his home in Middleton Tyas, Maurice Bartle has about 140 vintage bicycles, and a Darlington Wednesday Cycling Club trophy.

The club, which was founded in 1893, was mentioned in Memories 382, and perhaps the last surviving member is 98-year-old Maurice Sprensall, who still lives in Darlington.

“According to Maurice,” says Mr Bartle who, at 86, must be known as “young Maurice”, “the club was formed by shopkeepers because of half day closing on a Wednesday, and when the Second World War started they had a meeting and they disbanded the club and Maurice got to keep the trophy.”

Older Maurice has passed the trophy on to younger Maurice.

It is the CU Peat Challenge Cup and the Wednesday club awarded it to their best all rounder. He had to ride 25, 50 and 100 miles, and his times were averaged out.

The cup was presented to the club by Darlington’s Conservative MP, Charles Urie Peat, whose father founded the famous accountancy firm and whose descendants still live in Teesdale.

The badges on the cup show it was awarded on three occasions, 1933, 1934 and 1935, and it was won by one man, Harold Lynch, who recorded speeds of 21.4mph, 21.609mph and 21.997mph.

“When I was a teenager,” says young Maurice, who has been racing bikes for most of his 86 years, “we knew him as Pop, and I remember him very distinctly beside Joe Clemmy’s bike shop at the top of Garden Street. He was very small, and he had a Carpenter bike which was all chrome. We all admired it very much at the time.”

Timings were very strict and were verified by the Road Time Trials Council – which is why the unfortunate Harold in 1935 missed out by 0.003mph in breaking the 22mph barrier. It is likely that the Wednesday’s 25 mile time trial was carried out on the council’s Skerneside route. On the A167 south of Darlington, there used to be a bench near what is now the entrance to the water treatment works. From that bench to the Battle of the Standard monument on the outskirts of Northallerton was 12.5 miles.

Cycling may be enjoying a burst of popularity today, but in Darlington before the war, there was the Spartan Wheelers, the Darlington North-Eastern Cycling Club and the Darlington Bicycle Club as well as the Wednesday club.

Bikes in those days were usually locally made by hand. In his attic, young Maurice has machines made by almost legendary Teesside names like Jack Taylor, Lance Bell, Bill Beattie and WJ Tillston.

And, of course, he has an Anelay No 1 Record made in a yard off Parkgate by Darlington’s only cycle-maker. He was Ernest Anelay, who arrived in 1897 from Nottingham having just finished his apprenticeship as a penny farthing maker. He started work with Milo Cycles and a year later, having saved £50, started his own business.

From 1914, he was based in old tannery buildings in Bulmer’s Yard, behind St Hilda’s Church, which became Anelay’s No 1 Record Cycleworks. The Anelay No 1 Record was a global success, exporting to Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The business closed in 1955 when Ernest died, as his son, another Maurice, had predeceased him. Ernest’s grandson, Richard, was educated in Darlington, and is now a High Court judge and barrister, and his wife, Dame Joyce Anelay, was a Brexit minister in Theresa May’s government until an ankle injury she sustained getting out of a Black Hawk helicopter forced her retirement last October.

Of course, if she’d gone on an Anelay’s No 1 Record, she wouldn’t have had any problems with her dismount.