This summer, the historic City of London Corporation is to host a conference dedicated to a 200-year-old form of transport. The 29th annual International Cycle History Conference will be staged in the Grade-I listed Guildhall.
The first such conference was held in Glasgow in 1989, and has been hosted in a different city every year since, with events staged in Paris, Boston, Canberra, Lisbon, Toronto and Tokyo, among others.
The Guildhall – home to the City of London Corporation for over 800 years – has been a political powerhouse since the twelfth century. It is on the site of London’s Roman amphitheatre, parts of which can be seen in a below-ground-level gallery, complete with neon gladiators.
Delegates at the cycle history conference will take part in a hobby-horse-themed bike ride visiting places of historical significance for the "running machines" from which later sprang modern bicycles.
The first British bicycle was designed and made in 1819 by coach-builder Denis Johnson. Johnson’s workshop on Long Acre, Covent Garden, is now home to a Brompton Bicycle shop.
Brompton MD Will Butler-Adams will be giving an opening address at one of the afternoon sessions of the conference.
During the duration of the conference there will be a hobby-horse exhibition in Guildhall Yard.
A close-of-conference banquet is to be staged in the Worshipful Company of Cutlers Hall.
On the weekend immediately following the conference there will be a “Blessing of the bicycle/hobby horse” on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral by Rev. Parrott. There will also be a hobby horse re-enactment parade at Brompton’s shop on Long Acre.
The conference will be staged 10-16th June with the papers delivered at the event to be later published in Proceedings, a large-format book.