Monday, 26 October 2009

Arthur Linton


Arthur Linton was born in 1872 in Somerset but grew up in Aberaman in South Wales. He held a great many British records at distances up to 200 miles and became one of the great cycling champions. In 1893 he signed as a professional cyclist to ride a under the tutelage of the amazingly named trainer ‘Choppy’ Warburton.

1894 saw him defeat the French Champion in Paris, lose out by a narrow margin to the Italian Champion, who thereafter refused to race him again. In spite of this he was given the title ‘Champion Cyclist of the World’.

While 1895 was an injury prone one for him, the following year saw him achieve celebrity status in France after victory in the 1896 Bordeaux to Paris race. Tragically, this race looks to have taken its toll on his body and Arthur Linton died in June 1896, just six weeks after the race. He was just 24 years old. Reports differ as to whether he succumbed eventually to Typhoid Fever or the possibility that he was the first athlete to have died as a result of drugs in sport. ‘Choppy’ was implicated in the deaths of Arthur’s brother Tom and Jimmy Michael as well. He was banned from the sport although his guilt or innocence was impossible to prove.

Arthur Linton has been recognised by the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Blue Plaque scheme and Arthur Linton is commemorated today for his achievements with a plaque mounted on the house where he lived in Aberaman.

According to Cllr Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Recreation: “Arthur Linton’s life was quite remarkable and I’m pleased to see that his many achievements are still being celebrated more than a century after his death. His rags to riches story will undoubtedly inspire all those who hear it.”

Arthur Linton was my great-great-uncle.


(Photos above: Arthur Linton on his bike circa 1896 and my father holding his blue plaque 113 years later.)

6 comments:

Tanya Jones said...

This is excellent. I wish I had ancestors like that!

Dave said...

Are you sure that you haven't?

Tanya Jones said...

As far as I'm aware, I come from a long line of unremarkable farm workers and miners. But yes, you never can be sure, I suppose...

jnicho02 said...

Hi Dave,

We've added you great-great-uncle to our online blue plaque collection http://openplaques.org/plaques/4856

Dave said...

Thanks. I'll see if I can sort you out a photo of the plaque in place the next time I'm in Aberaman.

Paul Boulton said...

Am i related to you in any way my dad said toe years ago that je had a great uncle like this my dads name was william kenneth boulton....