Friends of the Dickens Forum,

The thread begun by  Michael Allen (see below) has mutated somewhat so that the bicycling
aspect has been changed and the notion of a Pickwick Club introduced.   Robert Davis
<[log in to unmask]> makes his claim for the Dorchester Pickwick Club, founded in                        
1855:                                                                                                                (pjm)

[log in to unmask]" type="cite">

Dear Patrick:

I take note of Bob Tracy's fascinating note on the Pickwick Cycling Club,
but would like to add a correction to the claim that it was the first
organization to celebrate our great author, having been founded in 1870. I
have in my possession a small archive of the Dorchester (Massachusetts)
Pickwick Club from the late 19th Century. Dorchester was the earliest,
largest and most successful Pilgrim settlement in America, dating to 1630,
one month before the founding of Boston. It was an independent town until
1870, when it was annexed by Boston. There was an argument over who annexed
whom. It was also on Dorchester Heights on Boston Harbor, that George
Washington, on March 17, 1776, watched the British Army and Navy leave the
Boston area (celebrated as Evacuation Day). It was also, incidentally, my
home from age 3 till age 16, when I went off to college, the beneficiary of
the Stoughton Scholarship of 1720 for residents of Dorchester, a very
different place in 1929-43 than in 1720. My ties are thus close to the
lower middle class town in which I grew up.

I hasten to point out proudly that the Dorchester Pickwick club was founded
before the American Civil war, on December 6, 1855, by a group of literary
men, mostly men of business fond of literature and debate, and limited to
50 members. Of those 50, 22 served in the Civil War and many were killed
(see Wil
liam Dana Orcutt, "Glorious Dorchester, A Narrative History", University
Press, Cambridge, 1893, pp. 422–426; also, The New England Historical and
Genealogical Register, Vol. 22). Moreover, after the Civil War, the members
of the Dorchester Pickwick Club raised the funds to erect the Dorchester
Soldiers' Monument, completed and dedicated in 1867 on Old Meeting-House
Hill., a monument dedicated to the soldiers who had fallen, to patriotism
and to defense of religious liberty. This noble literary society, inspired
by Dickens and Samuel Pickwick lasted into the early twentieth century.

A further aside is the "The All Around Dickens Club" was founded in Boston
in 1895 by a group of literary women, with many prominent British
Dickensians as Honorary Members. Both organizations may have, in part,
inspired the formation of the Dickens Fellowship. The Dorchester Pickwick
Club, however, long preceded the Pickwick Cycling Club.

Bob Davis

On Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 2:19 PM, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]

Friends of the Dickens Forum,

    Robert Tracy <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> has looked
into the Pickwick Bicycling Club
for us:

Dear Friends:

See Wikipedia for the Pickwick Bicycling Club, founded in
Hackney on 22 June 1870, 13 days after Dickens's death. It is indeed the
oldest cycling club in the world, and also the oldest organization to be
named after Dickens.There is a photo of the six founders with their
"Penny-farthings." Like the Pickwickians, members had and still have a club
uniform which has changed over the years: currently they wear straw
boaters, black and yellow striped blazers, and a black and yellow striped
tie. Each member chooses a name from among the characters in PP, and the
president is alway called Samuel Pickwick. The badge shows a large P, with
a smaller B and C on either side.
Robert Tracy

Friends of the Dickens Forum,

    The book Michael Allen refers to was first published in 1891 and is
described as "Personal Reminisces of
the'Inimitable Boz' with More than a Hundred Illustrations by F.G. Kitton
and Other Artists."  It is one of those books
we came across early in our lives, glanced at, and dismissed as trivia.
Leave it to Michael Allen to look at it carefully
and find an interesting and fresh detail:<[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>

Dear Patrick,

I was recently looking through a rather obscure item, a newspaper report
from the Birmingham Daily Mail in 1887, reporting on the collection of the
Dickens enthusiast William R. Hughes, who wrote the book "A week's tramp in
Dickens-land".  Hughes collected all manner of material but the following
reference particularly caught my eye:

"Does a new work on cycling appear, it passes at once into Mr Hughes'
possession, because of a two line reference to the person who taught Dickens
to use a bicycle, and a mention of the fact that the first bicycling
organisation formed was called the Pickwick Club".

I can't recollect seeing any other reference to Dickens riding a bicycle.
Indeed, I find it difficult to envisage Dickens on a bike.  Can the vast
experience of Dickens-Listers add anything more to this brief encounter?

Best wishes, Michael Allen.