The Dressing Gown Era
Posted: Sunday 16th August 2020
Whilst recently researching for my book on the Thirties track cyclist Dennis Horn I read at one early stage that he envied the dressing gowns which top riders had in that decade. Going through the photographs in Dennis’s son’s collection, I found one of him, obviously taken at a later date as he was resplendent in a striped dressing gown. The first signed image shows him outside his home holding a cup.
The second image is of Dennis receiving both the Muratti and Vi-Tonica Gold Cups at Fallowfield. Notice the constable in attendance to make sure no ne’er-do-well slopes off with the trophies. More relevent to this piece, also notice the be-suited gentleman to the left with Dennis’s dressing gown under his arm ready to slip on as soon as the prizes were presented. The man in plus fours looks as if he “lost a fiver and found a pound”.
Slight difference in styles below as the striped gown (centre) has buttons as well as a fancy cord. Nearest camera has the conventional cross-over with cord. Both have cycling shoes on, indicating that they are ready to compete. The rider on the left in the plain robe is Bill Bailey – he is talking to Sir Walter De Freece in the hat. De Freece was a Conservative MP. His father owned the Gaiety Theatre and Walter was a member of the Gaiety CC along with Tilly Ball, “Principal Boy” at the Gaiety, better known as Vesta Tilley, both very active cyclists in their day. The photo was taken at a Herne Hill Good Friday Southern Counties Meeting. It has to be prior to 1936 – Image Mick Butler