Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tour of Britain or Milk Race 1990

Hyde's Annual Cycle Race was called the Tour of Britain or "Milk Race"
The Tour of Britain, known for many years as the Milk Race, has its origins in a dispute between cyclists during the Second World War. The British administrative body, the National Cyclists Union (NCU), had feared since the 19th century that massed racing on the roads would endanger all racing, including early-morning time -trials and, originally, the very place of cyclists on the road.
A race organised from Llangollen to Wolverhampton on 7 June 1942, in defiance of the NCU, led to its organisers and riders being banned. They formed a new body, the British League of Racing Cyclists (BLRC), which wanted not only massed racing but a British version of the   
"Tour De France".


The cyclists are just going past what used to be Redferns Rubber Works on Stockport Road. James North can be seen in the background.


The sponsor of this stage of the Race was David Tuson who used to have a car showroom on Chapel Street.

Milk Race ?

The Cyclists are seen riding up Stockport Road over the railway bridge near the Clarkes Arms.


Photobucket Photobucket

Why it was known as the "Milk Race"

The Milk Marketing Board (MMB) was a sales monopoly for dairy farmers in England and Wales. A semi-professional cyclist from Derby, Dave Orford, asked the MMB to pay for "Drink more milk" to be embroidered on the jersey of every semi-professional, or independent, rider in the country. The MMB could then advertise that races had been won because of the properties of milk and the winner would receive a £10 bonus as a result.

Orford met the MMB's publicity officer, Reg Pugh, at the board's headquarters in Thames Ditton, west of London. Orford said: "At the end of the discussion he stated that the MMB would prefer to sponsor a major international marathon. So the Milk Race, the Tour of Britain, was born, starting in 1958 and lasting for 35 years, the longest cycle sponsorship in the UK ever.

The first two races were open to semi-professionals but from 1960 until 1984 it was open only to amateurs. From 1985 until 1993 the Milk Race was open to both amateurs and professionals. After 1993 the Milk Race ended as the MMB was wound up because of European monopoly laws.

Milk Race going up Lilly Street.
Milk Race going up Stockport Road near Smithy Fold.

Thanks to Eric for sending us these lastest two photos !


Tom said...

Very interesting post Nancy.... I recall seeing a few of these races.... or sections of them. Did any of Hyde's cyclist ride in them?

I recall the M.M.B. Blue Tankers coming through Hyde, going between the many Dairy Farms Hyde once had... I think the only Dairy Herd kept in Hyde now is Cheethams.. I think there might also be one on off Matley Lane...

When I worked at UCD Dairies on Broadway Industrial Estate these tankers were still going... I recall walking down Dowson Road on my way to work with my UCD overalls on (tan overalls with a red collar) and one of the tankers pulling up and the driver giving me a lift..)

The Pilgrim said...

Haha, you can see in the top photo the sign for Hyde Hospital has been vandalised, the "Ho" and "al" have been spray painted out so the sign reads "Hyde spit". That was done by a very naughty boy who was nicknamed "Spit"

If you went to Hyde High school in the 80s you will know him.

Tom said...

As the one who turned the 'Royal Two' into Royal Tom.. I had a little snigger at Spits handy work...