A CHAT WITH MISS MABEL LOVE
and her Elswick Cross Truss Bicycle
As I sat over the cosy fire, waiting for my little hostess to come in, my eyes wandered round the room, and I noticed the many charming objects which surrounded me; hooks, engravings, pretty Chippendale chairs, photographs, and a dainty basket of flowers, tied with white ribbon, which stood on a low tambour of Benares work. Presently in came Miss Mabel Love, in a fascinating red cloak and hat, with many apologies for keeping me waiting, and we chatted over topics of the wheel.
“I love my little cycle, I don’t know what I should do without it. I am not a great rider, you know, because I am generally so busy, but even when I am playing every night, beside working hard, and have sometimes only an hour to spare, I go for a spin, and it always does me good. That is the advantage of a bicycle, it tempts one out of doors as a walk never does. I should often stay indoors if I was without my bike.”
“I hear you taught yourself to ride, is that so?”
“Well, not exactly. It was in this way. I went twice to Battersea Park and had lessons, and on the following Sunday I wanted to ride again, but they don’t teach on Sundays, you know. So I hired a bike and mounted somehow, and went off by myself. Presently the instructor who had given me my two lessons came along, and he was so surprised to see me going alone! After that I had no more lessons. I find my bike very useful in helping me to keep my business appointments. Sometimes I have as many as four in one morning, and could hardly manage to fit them in if I couldn’t ride.”
“Please tell me one thing. Complaints have reached us lately that cycling affects dancing. Now you are a great authority (I remembered the marvellous Tarantella in La Mascottel) do you find it interferes with yours?”
“Not in the least. I dance all the better for it, and never get stiff from the effects of riding. Of course I would not ride a very long distance if I were playing the same night, on account of getting over fatigued.”
“What are your favourite parts, Miss Love?”
“I liked my late part of Nurse Phoebe, in Lord Tom Noddy, best.”
“What have you played in besides?”
“Oh, among others, La Cigale, Modern Don Quixote, La Mascotte, Little Christopher Columbus, and His Excellency.”
Miss Mabel Love, with her beautiful Elswick machine and neat dark green coat and skirt to match, is quite one of the notable features of the park cycling community, and we shall miss her bright little face when she goes away in about ten days to Birmingham to rehearse for Cinderella at the Prince of Wales’ Theatre there.
– ‘The Wheelwoman’ magazine 5th December, 1896
1903 The Lady’s Elswick
Cross Truss Model
Pattison Hygienic ‘Model A’ Saddle
Eadie Coaster Brake
Frame No 14110
When he owned a 1900 Elswick, Ray Miller researched the Elswick marque, and found a relevant article in a 1901 edition of CTC Gazette magazine. In his Encyclopaedia he reported: ‘The CTC Gazette January 1901, page 41, refers to a lady’s No.11,231, and a gentleman’s No.12,256 placing them not later than 1900’. The frame number of this 1903 example is 14110.
1908 ELSWICK CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
Mabel Love (16 October 1874 – 15 May 1953), was a British dancer and stage actress. She was considered to be one of the great stage beauties of her age, and her career spanned the late Victorian era and the Edwardian period.
Some of the top cycle companies sponsored famous actresses to ride (and be photographed riding) their bicycles. Rudge-Whitworth, Raleigh and Elswick were the main contenders, the latter two promoting their X Frames. Phyllis Dare rode a Raleigh. Mabel Love rode an Elswick…
Phyllis Dare rode a Raleigh X Frame…
Rudge-Whitworth didn’t have an X frame, but they went one better and employed six actresses to ride their top-selling bicycles!
THE PATTISON HYGIENIC ‘MODEL A’ LADIES SADDLE
1903 ELSWICK GENT’S CROSS TRUSS