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Swaledale Museum Photograph of a 1920s lady motorcyclist
At last Saturday's Christmas bash at St John's Chapel I showed a selection of images from the Swaledale Museum Archive. Image top left: was a photo of an unknown lady motorcyclist in Reeth. After the meeting it was suggested to me that this may be Margery Cottle, the first lady to finish the Scott Trial. Margery’s greatest success was in the 1927 International Six Day Trial (ISDT), when the British Ladies Team won the International Silver Vase. In August 1927, the News of the World carried a picture of Cottle, Edith Foley, Miss Louise MacLean and two other leading female motorcyclists, Mrs M Grenfell and the appropriately named Mrs Spokes. The five were described as "the British ladies who triumphed in the International Trials" on 20 August 1927.

In 1928 Cottle was the only female rider to complete the Scott Trial which was held in the Skipton area around that time. She finished in all of the subsequent Scott Trials that she entered. In 1939, the ISDT was held in Nazi-controlled Austria in the last few days before England declared war on Germany. That year, Britain sent both a civilian and a military team to compete. After four days, when it seemed that war could break out at any minute, British officials told the civilian team to return to England immediately. Cottle refused to leave and competed on the fifth day alongside the British Army team. When they too were ordered to abandon competition, Cottle and the Army team rode their motorcycles to neutral territory in Switzerland. Cottle was sponsored by Raleigh Motorcycles.

Ken, the Scott Trial secretary kindly searched the Scott Trial archives for Margery Cottle using #86 when competing. He quickly replied: "I have all the entry lists for the Scott trial and I can only find Marjorie riding as: No 110 in 1927, No3 in 1928, No36 in 1930, No95 in 1931, No12 in 1932 and No50 in 1933".

He also searched for number #86 being a lady competitor, again without success. So, although I had already ‘Googled’ Google Images without success, I tried again. This time lady luck was on my shoulder when I came across this image top right:

The caption then revealed their identities: Photo Britain’s ‘A’ Silver Vase Women’s Team ISDT at Harrogate (left) Miss Marjorie Cottle (348cc Raleigh) [HF3383] #46 Mrs Louise Mclean (348cc Douglas) and #86 Miss Edith Foley (494cc Triumph). So, it was Edith Foley. But the image could be from either 1927 or 1928 during the International Six Day Motorcycle Trial which was based in Harrogate in both years.

The route on one of the six days was through Reeth see map below left:

Edith Foley was sponsored by Triumph and competed in many International events alongside Cottle and the other ladies in the British team from the mid-1920s into the 1930s.

Many thanks for for use of their photograph and the map, and to Wikipedia for the background information on Margery Cottle.

Stephen Eastmead 12/12/2018
#86 the mystery lady motorcyclist in Reeth , Swaledale. ©Swaledaale Museum #86 found on a Google image search.
Click Images to Enlarge
1927 International Six Day Trial route map.
News Record: 45     Updated: 18-12-2018 10:36:10

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