History of the Norwood Paragon Cycling Club

The objectives of the Club have changed little since its formation in 1904 and still hold true to this day: “to pursue the sport and pastime of cycling in all its facets, to encourage the sprit of good fellowship amongst its members and to promote both sporting and social events to attain those ends.”

The Norwood Paragon CC was formed in 1904, as the Norwood Postal CC and in 1911 adopted its present name and familiar “P” badge. The word ‘Paragon’ originated from the Croydon Paragon CC that amalgamated with the Norwood Postal CC in 1909. When the number of postal workers involved with the club decreased significantly the name was changed to the Norwood Paragon in 1911. As with so many clubs in the 1914-1918 war the Paragon suspended activities and was revived soon after the war ended.

Another club, the Streatham Rovers, was amalgamated with the Paragon during 1921 and with the Rovers came several keen riders. Today the Norwood Paragon has earned the reputation of being among the famous clubs in the country, not in word but in deed. The name of one member in particular stands out in the story of the club’s success; Frank Southall raised the club to International fame, representing England in the World Championships from 1925 to 1933, and in the Olympic Games of 1928 and 1932. He also won the BAR on a number of occasions.

Frank has not been the only International rider from the Club: in the Olympic Games of 1928 Monty Southall rode in the team pursuit and in 1932 Stan Butler competed in the road event. Alan Stubbs represented England in the World Sprint Championship in 1933. In 1952 Olympics Ron Stretton rode in the team pursuit that gained a bronze medal for Great Britain and so carried on the tradition of the Club. The 1960 Olympics saw Robin Buchan travel to Rome as reserve for the team pursuit and road team. Keith Butler represented Great Britain at World Championships during the 1960’s and England at the 1962 Commonwealth Games.

The 1950’s through to the 1970’s saw the club continue to flourish on the domestic scene with many National, Divisional and London championships on the track and road. Key names that featured during this period were Les Ingman, Wally Happy, John Dennis, John Sargeant and Ray Runham. Riders such as Harry Featherstone and Dave Worsfold kept the Paragon name to the fore during the 80’s and early 90’s by breaking many National Veteran and Trike records.

The Butler family tradition was continued by Gethin throughout the 90’s by becoming one of the country’s top time trialist and road racer. Ladies racing started to feature strongly in the late 80’s with Allison Butler being runner-up in the National Road Race Championship. The most recent success at national level was in 1998 when a club team won the National 24 Hour Championship Team race.

The Paragon continues to promote a full programme of events throughout the year and its spirit is still strong with riders successfully competing in all disciplines of cycle sport.

The story contiues…

The Club is currently compiling a detailed history of its activities, riders and promotions over the last 104 years. This is by no means complete and we would welcome any additional information, pictures, etc. concerning all aspects of our history. Please contact the General Secretary; Peter Ansell.