There have been many gifted cycling pen and ink artists: Frank Patterson, George Moore, and Percy Kemp are names that spring to mind. What is remarkable about Charlie Chadwick is that the drawings are of the same standard but were never intended for publication, being for a private diary.
In 1931 Charlie won an article competition in Cycling and when published it was illustrated with a Patterson sketch!
The drawings and the diary are a valuable record of cycle touring and club life from the 1920’s and 30’s. The countryside is seen from the cyclists’ point of view and express the sheer joy of cycle touring, being at one with the countryside, and in like-minded company.
The accompanying diary extract illustrates just how hard riding tourists were. 100 miles a day, often with early starts, and 30 miles home after a high tea. Being based in Bolton, Lancashire, several classic touring areas were in reach, north to the Trough of Bowland, an area of high moorland just out of reach of industrial Lancashire. North Wales and the Peak District also figure regularly in rides. Charlie was not just a gifted artist but also a talented prose writer able to describe, often with an element of humour, days out awheel.
This book is only possible thanks to the foresight of David Warner who after Charlie’s death ensured the series of diaries was preserved. Given the wealth of material I would hope that this is the first of a series of books.
Rough Stuff Fellowship