South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Bill Hammond

Profile: Bill Hammond - (Jan/Feb 2002)

The Midweek Wayfarers members list contains the names of many who deserve recognition for their loyalty. Bill Hammond should be amongst those at the top of that list, being an award not only for loyalty to the Section but to the CTC, to his longstanding friends, to his bike and to cycling generally. His membership of the CTC spans the 55 years since 1946. He has also held long term membership of other Clubs - the Rough Stuff Fellowship since 1960 or thereabouts, the Veteran Cycle Club since 1988 and - most appropriately -the Fellowship of Cycling Old Timers, also since 1988.

Bill is out most Wednesdays with the Wayfarers and on the Monday Rides with the Monday Club. This is an informal group of friends formed about thirty years ago by the late H.H. (Chater) Willis who encouraged Bill to join the Group with a first ride on the Monday of his first week of retirement. Bill's loyalty as a consistent rider and member extends to his bike, a Raleigh Record Ace. Bill explains that the frame and finish is original but the accessories and fittings are modem replacements, to be expected for a bike of venerable age, Bill. Your Editor used to drool over the page in the Raleigh catalogues of the late 1940s which featured the Record Ace as the ultimate bike to own.

Raleigh should also recognise Bill for his loyalty to the marque. The first bicycle he owned was a Golden Arrow with no variable gears, just a fixed and freewheel. The Arrow was purchased after he was taught to ride by his eldest brother in 1935. The money was from savings earned from working on a newspaper round and he recalls riding locally in his Peckham home area on this first machine.

His first big ride was to Epsom. "I had to walk most of the way from the town to the Downs", Bill confesses. In later years he was touring. The early tours were in Scotland during the 1950s, there were several in Portugal and the Pyrenees during the decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s. In 1963 it was along the Costa del Sol in Spain visiting Granada and Ronda "before tourism spoilt them".

The bicycle was for many the way to get to your place of work and Bill cycled from Peckham to Central London where he was a Photo Engraver and Lithographer in the printing trades.

He recalls "I cycled to and from work every day regardless of the weather. It was quite an experience on a wet windy night crossing the Elephant and Castle when the trams were still running".

It was this work that led to Bill providing special services to the CTC. He took up classes in Calligraphy as a hobby in his retirement, continuing his work experiences in lettering. It was on the recommendation of 'Chater' Willis that he took over the work of producing Certificates of Merit and Service awarded to members by the CTC. Some of us will have admired the high standard of Bill's craft in the Certificates he has produced. Today, Bill continues at 80 years of age to enjoy his rides with the SW London Midweek Wayfarers. This requires a long journey by train from Peckham to reach the start at elevenses. "I enjoy the riding and the chit-chat with friends", he says. That's a further tribute to Bill's devotion to cycling.

Picture of Bill Hammond