Islington Cycling Club recreates team photo taken in Hazellville Road in 1909
PUBLISHED: 18:35 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 18:49 11 April 2017
A century-old photo of Islington Cycling Club has provided some unlikely inspiration for the refurbishment of a shop in Hornsey Rise, writes David Child.
History spills out of the front door at Aladdin’s antiques store in Hazellville Road. But a piece of Islington’s own heritage has been gathering dust out the back.
Deep in the shop’s warehouse, a photo of the Hazellville Road Cycling Club from 1909 has been lying forgotten in a folder.
Discovered during the recent Aladdin’s restoration, it shows the historic façade of the store then called Hudson’s, with riders from the borough front and centre.
And on Sunday a new crop of cyclists returned to the same spot to recreate the original image as a publicity stunt for the shop – and a chance for the club to reconnect with Islington’s cycling history.
"The photo is absolutely fascinating – I loved seeing the membership badges on their caps and seeing how incredibly smart they all were. That’s something that’s not gone away. We want to look stylish on the bikes too"
David Padadac, 36, lives just round the corner from Aladdin’s. A creative advertising director by trade, he’s rebranding and refurbishing it as a coffee shop-cum-furniture store. He’s hoping it might help bring Hornsey Rise to life.
“There are some interesting things happening around the area at the moment,” he told the Gazette.
“All the shop fronts seem to have been taken over and turned into flats – which is killing the street.
“Aladdin’s might set the precedent to give the place a little bit more life again. It’s great that the local cycling club is getting involved because the identity of the area is quite weak at the moment.”
In furnishing for the future he’s peered back into the past.
“When thinking about the shop’s branding, I was looking for some inspiration to keep it true to the original shop front,” he said.
‘My wife found it’
Cengiz Koc, 52, has owned Aladdin’s for 24 years.
“It used to be a paint shop before I had it,” he said, “and 100 years ago Hudson’s was a coffee shop.
“The new shop front resembles the old shop front. It’s all completed now but the work carries on inside – it’s a big place.”
Cengiz’s wife Gillian found the photo. “We had the picture in the warehouse of the Hazellville Road cycling club,” he said. “It was a really nice thing to find. We approached the Islington Cycling Club and they were willing to work with us to bring the photo back to life.”
They now plan to display a copy of the picture alongside the new version for customers to enjoy.
“I thought: ‘Maybe I can take some inspiration from the sort of format they had there [in the original photograph]’. It’s great to re-create the original image involving the modern day cycling club.”
Much like the building itself, cycling in the borough has had a varied history.
The original Islington Cycling Club, a successor to the Hazellville Road group, existed in the years leading up to the Second World War, before it disbanded due to the conflict. In the 1950s, CC Islington emerged, only to fade too before the turn of the millennium.
Its latest incarnation may well be the greatest. Formed in April 2013 with six founding members, the club has grown in size and stature ever since – and now boasts more than 600 members. At its current rate of growth it is on track to be the largest cycling club in London by the end of next year.
Secretary David Shannon was one of the first to get things moving.
“In 2012 we had all the Olympic golds and a first British winner of the Tour de France. It seemed the perfect time [for us] so I took the dive,” he said.
“Now we have more than 600 members, and we are the only inner city club offering youth coaching. We just started our weekly sessions for eight- to 15-year-olds in March. It’s massive news for young people in the area as there are very few clubs in London that offer this.
“We identified a real gap – people want rides that start on their doorstep and a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. We attract a huge number of new members and people who want to try cycling for the first time – 20 per cent of our members are female, which may not seem earth-shattering but if you look at most cycling clubs they struggle to get even 5pc.”
But he added: “We like the fact that there is a heritage and history here. Cyclists are quite nostalgic.
“The photo is absolutely fascinating – I loved seeing the membership badges on their caps and seeing how incredibly smart they all were.
“That’s something that’s not gone away. We want to look stylish on the bikes too. Hopefully we can match them.”