Historic Victorian-era cycling trophy to go on display when Tour of Britain reaches Sunderland

An historic cycling trophy from an 1884 penny-farthing race, possibly the oldest in the sport, is to go on display in Sunderland to coincide with the Tour of Britain stage the city hosts in September.

The Fans Museum on North Bridge Street will display the 1884 trophy throughout the month. On Tuesday, September 6, Tour of Britain cyclists will start in Durham, the pedal through Bishop Auckland, Hetton and Houghton before arriving at Sunderland’s City Hall.

The trophy was presented 138 years ago to the winner of a one-off, two-mile penny-farthing race.

The engraving tells us this was one E Nairn and that the prize was “Presented by the Borough members Col. Gourley & S. Storey Esq”.

Fans Museum founder Michael Ganley with the 138 year-old trophy.

In 1884 Samuel Storey was Sunderland’s MP and former mayor. He was also one of the seven founders of the Sunderland Echo in 1873.

The engraving further states that the trophy was provided by Sunderland AFC and Sunderland Cricket Club, based in Ashbrooke.

Museum officials believe it could be the oldest known trophy associated with the football club, from when SAFC was still an amateur organisation.

In 1884 the club needed revenue and raised funds by holding sports days, including cycle races, where the public paid to attend.

The beautiful 1884 trophy was presented to E Nairn, winner of a two-mile penny-farthing race.

Another trophy on display will be from an 1899 amateur Olympic style event at Roker Park to raise money for the club. It attracted 20,000 spectators.

Another exhibit is the Women’s Premier League Division Two trophy, won by Sunderland under manager Mick Mulhern in 2011, 2012 and 2013 when England’s Beth Mead was progressing at the club. A replica FA Cup will also be displayed.

Museum founder Michael Ganley said: “Sunderland has a huge representation in cycling. It’s important that all these cycling groups who have been around for a hundred-odd years are given more support and awareness.

“The Tour of Britain is something that will emphasise Sunderland’s cycling pedigree. Our city’s cycling and triathlon races are huge as well. I think the Tour of Britain can push what our city’s about.

Michael Ganley will display a number of historic sports trophies at the Fans Museum.

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“A trophy from 1884 is pretty unique. There’s also the fact that people can come and have their photograph taken with possible cycling’s oldest trophy.”