Cycling women, and charabancs, and more info appreciated

Women with bicycles, and horse-drawn charabancs behind, outside St William's College, early 20th century. (More information:

Women with bicycles, and horse-drawn charabancs behind, outside St William’s College, early 20th century. (More information:

While looking online for images of St William’s College for the December Daily a couple of days ago, I found this postcard image, on

It’s very striking — a large group of ‘lady cyclists’, as I guess they’d be called then — all in a line right across the road in front of St William’s College.

Behind them are two vehicles, apparently horse-drawn charabancs, with more ladies in hats. It seems to be an all-women outing, apart from the two men about to drive the charabancs.

Photos like these generally mark a day’s outing somewhere. Perhaps the bundles wrapped in cloth on the handlebars of many of the bicycles are a picnic lunch? I wonder where they were going, and exactly when it was (the info on suggests 1915).

I know women cycled back then, but was rather surprised to see so many women cyclists together.

Also worthy of comment is scaffolding on the Minster behind them, quite a construction. And to the right, St William’s College looks smarter than it did on one of the earlier images I included a couple of days ago, but it looks like the main doorway is still the same weathered structure, rather eroded and blackened.

I’d like to know more about this interesting image of the cycling women, and I know that many knowledgeable local historians and social historians read these pages, so if you have any observations or insights to add, comments are welcome below. (If you’d like to view a much larger version, use this link to the relevant image on, and click on/select the postcard, which should then open a higher-resolution image.)

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