South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Celebrating Fifty Years


There were certainly more than one hundred people assembled at Brockham Green on Sunday 26th July, fifty of whom had cycled from Farthing Downs where, at the Welcome Tea Rooms, the South West London DA was born fifty years ago. Bill Quemby was South London DA Secretary at that time and he and wife Dorothy had founded the North Cheam Section in 1939. By 1948 it had several Sub-Sections and was too large to remain a part of South London DA. The meeting of the South London DA had been tense at times. Voting was 88 in favour and 83 against the new DA and five children present possibly swung the balance! Four of these children were present at the celebration.

After lunch at Brockham Green, DA President, Colin Quemby, welcomed everyone including past and present CTC Councillors. Bill Stead then told the reasons for the creation of DAs at the end of the last century and brought the history of the 1940s alive. He referred particularly to the contribution of Ted Burt, Gerald's father, and explained the importance of the decision being made then. Ted was the first DA Secretary and Gerald himself held this position for many years.

Bobbie Barnard and Ruth Tuffen provided memories of cycling with growing families in the days when tandems and sidecars were common on the roads. Ruth's husband, the late Frank Coker, had led the Family Section for many years. Bobbie's enthusiasm filled her report of cycling during the wartime blackout and the start in 1949 of the Saturday Afternoon Section which welcomed riders from all other Sections including Don Francis, the DA's first President, now commemorated by the trophies we award each year.

Len Steel, now riding with East Sussex DA, was a DA official and CTC Councillor for many years and contributed memories of North Cheam Section activities. Tom Fish followed with more thanks to the many past Club leaders.

Representation of past and present Sections included North Cheam/Cheam & Morden, Family/Downland, Intermediate, Kingston, Mitcham & Tooting, Saturday Afternoon, Youth, Midweek Wayfarers and the 2½ year old Beginners led by Ian Burt. Members of the South Western Road Club and the East Surrey DA were also present.

Thanks for a memorable and successful day are due to Clive Oxx; all the speakers; the Brockham Parochial Church Council; Jonathan Spearman Oxx for design for the programme; Bill Stead and Tim Cox for the celebration ride routes; members and friends from far and wide who were present.

Photographs taken on this historic day will be displayed at the DA AGM when copies may be ordered. For the A5 souvenir programme, route sheet and summary of speeches, please contact Clive Oxx.