Westminster City Council is laying claim to the country’s earliest cycle training programme – unless anyone can prove otherwise.
While compiling a history of road safety events and collision information, the council’s archivist found an illustration of what Peter Wilson, Westminster’s commissioning officer road safety education, believes may be the first English cycle training programme in action.
The illustration, dating back to 1819, depicts Johnson’s Pedestrian Hobbyhorse Riding School, just one year after bicycles were introduced to London from Germany.
The text accompanying the illustration reads: “The first bicycle, invented in Germany in 1817, was introduced to London in 1818 by Denis Johnson, a coachmaker of Long Acre. Here can be seen some of the ‘dandies’ among whom it quickly became the fashion, at one of the riding schools set up by Johnson at 1819 at 377 Strand and 40 Brewer Street, Golden Square. The popularity of the hobbyhorse lasted until the end of the 1820s.”
For more information contact Peter Wilson on 0207 641 2016.