James Knight's family ran the Plough public house in Cosgrove, and Jimmy was born there, being baptised at Cosgrove Church on 24th November 1895. He is pictured as a young boy in front of the pub - his distinctive hairline appears throughout his photographs.
Jimmy Knight enlisted in the Army in 1914 and with the 7th Wiltshire Regiment served in Salonika, being demobbed in 1919. He afterwards joined the local branch of the Salonika Reunion Association and was its chairman for the remainder of his life.
He was employed as a fitter in the railway works at Wolverton until 1938.
Northern Whig 26 June 1924
CYCLING. Britain’s Olympic Team. The cycling team to represent Great Britain at the Olympic games has been selected as follows: Team Pursuit raceFour to ride and two reserves chosen from H. Pryor (Manchester Wheelers), O. Cavanagh (Imperial W. Q. Stewart (Kentish Wheelers), H. A. Franklin (Kent'sh Wheelers), H. H. (Kentish Wheelers), J. G. Knight (Wolverton C.C.). kilometresA. Alden (Kentish Wheelers) F. H. Wylde (Derby C.C.), White (Rover C’.C.) and H. Prior (Manchester Wheelers)
The photograph below shows the British Olympic team practising on the streets of Paris in 1924.
Jimmy was champion in several prestigious cycling events at around this time:
Berks, Bucks and Oxon champion 1923: London Polytechnic champion 1925:
Railway champion 1926:
Rudge-Whitworth and Lassoo cups for five miles:
Polytechnic Remembrance trophy (twice):
Three firsts and three thirds in 50-kilometres races, when he had other great cyclists like Harry Grant, Syd Cozens, and E. Higgins as partners:
Northants Centre champion many times at all distances.
Northampton Mercury - Friday 01 June 1928
Cycle-racing thrills were again the feature of the Wolverton Amateur Athletic Club’s annual sports, which attracted between three and four thousand spectators to the Park ground on Tuesday.
The outstanding feature was the form of J. G. Knight, the Cosgrove cyclist, who won the quarter-mile N.C.U. (Northants Centre) championship, and the half-mile scratch race.
Northampton Mercury - Friday 30 December 1927
Mr. J. G. Knight, a well known "crack cyclist” of the Wolverton A-.C. and Polytechnic C.C., was married at Cosgrove Parish Church on Boxing Day to Miss Annie Hurst. The Rev R. Stockton officiated, whilst Mr. C. Compton was at the organ. The bride, who was given away by her brother-in-law, Mr. H. Cockerill, wore a dress of ivory crepe de chine, carrying a bouquet of white chrysanthemums. Her bridesmaids, Miss D. Hurst and Miss I. M. Knight, wore dresses of bois de rose crepe de chine, and carried bouquets of bronze chrysanthemums, gifts of the bridegroom. Mr. C. Knight was best man.
Jimmy Knight was married at Cosgrove Church to Miss Annie Hurst. She had met Jimmy when she was a girl of 10 years old, and had always said from that time onwards that she would marry him one day.
Wolverton Express 11th September, 1931
Local Cyclist’s Great Performance
Mr. J G Knight, of the Wolverton Amateur Athletic Club, finished up the season on Saturday last week with an excellent performance, when in partnership with S. Cozens, he won the Grand Madison Race of 50 laps (14 ½ miles) at the National Cyclist’s Union’s meeting of champions at Herne Hill.
The chief prizes for this race are decided on points for a series of sprints which take place at every 10th lap, the first three receiving points in the ratio of 3, 2, and 1, with double points for the final sprint, whilst to make the race still more exciting, there are five primes or prizes for a kind of “unofficial” series of sprints which take place in the back straight at 3½ laps and every 10th lap thereafter, and also a prize for the leader of the most laps in the fall 50. It can be seen from these conditions that the race is a veritable slog from start to finish.
The partners in the race usually consist of a good stayer, who must also be capable of making a good sprint should the occasion arise and of a sprinter who must also be able to keep with the bunch after his sprint until relieved by his partner, which takes place in relay fashion by one rider drawing alongside the other.
Saturday’s race was competed for by 13 pairs which included the famous brothers F H and P Wyld, C W and D S Horn, J E Sibbit and E J Blackler, and the present sprint champion of Holland (J J van Egmond) in partnership with Roy Linke, of Cologne.
In addition to winning the race proper, Mr. Knight also won one of the special primes at the end of 13½ laps and was also leading at 34 laps 2½ laps from the finish, when 24 riders were on the track together. Knight cleverly worked through the bunch to place his partner in a splendid position for the final burst.
This is Knight’s third win in this particular kind of race and he has also been placed third, twice last year in partnership with Cousins, and his previous partner being H Grant, the famous rider, behind pacemakers.
Mr. B F Tapp of Wolverton, was an umpire at the meeting.
Wolverton Express 22nd July, 1938
Mr. “Jimmy” Knight Former Crack Cyclist Enters Business
Mr. J Knight, formerly of Cosgrove and York Road, Stony Stratford, has left the employ of the LMS railway company at Wolverton in order to take over the business of Mr. H Woodman, corn and meal merchant, of High St, Stony Stratford, which he has acquired.
Mr. Knight left his railway employment on Friday last, when the whole of the members of the fitting-shop assembled to bid farewell to a popular workmates, and at this informal gathering Mr. W Wood, shop steward, introduced a presentation, and Mr W. Neale, a charge hand tool-maker, handed to him a pen and pencil. Mr. Knight suitably acknowledged.
Mr. Knight, who is 42 years of age, was apprenticed in the Wolverton Railway Works to fitting, and after a short period away following the completion of his apprenticeship he returned to Wolverton.
James Knight was noted in the town for helping several other small businesses to expand and prosper. Incidents like this were often performed anonymously and known only to his close friends and family.
Mercury & Herald December 31st 1954
The name Jimmy Knight is well-known to Stony Stratford’s older cycling fans. In the 1920’s, it was on everybody’s lips- and rightly so- for this daring rider won national and international honours.
Nowadays, Mr. Knight travels by more sober means-bus and car. He owns a corn merchant’s business in Stony Stratford, but still retains close contact with the club to whom he brought so much credit- Wolverton A.A.C.
A native of nearby Cosgrove, he served throughout the first world war and did not take up cycle racing until 1921.
He soon soared to championship heights and was selected for the British Olympic team that raced in Paris in 1924.
Amongst his many notable successes were: Berks , Bucks and Oxon champion 1923: London Polytechnic champion 1925: railway champion 1926: Rudge-Whitworth and Lassoo cups for five miles: Polytechnic Remembrance trophy (twice): three firsts and three thirds in 50-kilometres races, when he had other great cyclists like Harry Grant, Syd Cozens, and E. Higgins as partners: and Northants Centre champion many times at all distances.
HIS GREATEST RACE
Mr. Knight raced for 14 years. Then he had to retire owing to an injury received at work. He considers his greatest race was winning the Danish Cup against representatives of four European countries. His key to success: “Hard work and plenty of training.”
Besides his sporting activities, he has held many offices in the district. He has been chairman of Wolverton branch of the Salonika Re-union since the first war. In the last war, he was a major in command in the Stratford Home Guard.
Wolverton Express 2 February 1973
Rode in 1924 Paris Olympics
‘Mr. Jimmy’ KNIGHT
Mr James Knight “Jimmy” Knight of Stony Stratford, who represented England as a pursuit cyclist in the 1924 Olympics, died in Northampton General Hospital on Saturday. He was 77.
A native of Cosgrove, where his father was a licensee. Mr Knight had lived at 20 Wolverton Road, Stony Stratford, for many years. He was employed as a fitter in the railway works at Wolverton until 1938 when he left to take over a corn and seed merchants’ business in Stony Stratford High Street. He retired seven years ago.
Mr, Knight enlisted in the Army in 1914 and with the 7th Wiltshire Regiment served in Salonika, being demobbed in 1919. He afterwards joined the local branch of the Salonika Reunion Association and was its chairman.
It was in 1921 that Jimmy Knight started on a sporting career that won him many trophies and a place in the England team in the Paris Olympics of 1924.
He became a track cyclist and was soon a firm favourite not only on his home circuit at Wolverton Park but at tracks throughout the country. His best performance was perhaps at Herne Hill where he beat the reigning English champion to collect the Danish cup.
He was still racing in 1936 but then had to give up the sport because of a knee-cap injury.
In the 1940s in partnership with his brother Charles he ran a bookmakers’ business in Stony Stratford for over twenty years.
Mr. Knight who had been ill for some time, leaves a widow, a son and a daughter.