The Handlebar ( moustache ) Club
Picture Archive 1947

The Founding of the Handlebar Club

The first public announcement of the Handlebar Club was on April 17 1947, when an item appeared in the "News Revue" under the heading "The Smashers' Club".   It was based on a press release produced by Jimmy Edwards, and included the photograph below:-

bbc photo
Handlebar Club's Edwards, Muir, Hooper

Note the old BBC microphone!
There was also an item in the "Evening News" which included a different photograph, but unfortunately this fifty-plus year old cutting is too faded to copy.   It included the statement that:-

"Jimmy Edwards own moustache has had an interesting history; it is the fourth of its line.  The first was posted "missing" after an R.A.F. mess party.  The second was removed for security reasons just before D-Day (F/Lt. Edwards, Pilot of a Transport Command aircraft, was deemed to look too English with such an appendage).   The third was burnt off when its owner's Dakota was shot down on the way back from Arnhem.  A  D.F.C. was hardly adequate compensation."

The full text of the press release can be found here.

And the report on the inaugural meeting is here.

On April 21st the "Daily Herald"reported that the Club had been launched.

picture from herald

"Herald" Reporter

NOW I know the bitter truth - this moustache of mine is really a puny thing.
  When I first grew it seven years ago in the Royal Armoured Corps, I thought it was a smasher.
  Until last night, when I went to the first meeting of the Handlebar Club in London, and saw magnificent moustaches like those in the picture.
  Gerald Lanyon's (second from left) - it's at least a six-incher.
  "I did it in five and a half months," he told me proudly.


  And there is George Hoffman (right), nearly seven inches from tip to tip. Jeep Ormsby (second from right), another six-incher, said: "I had to come. Couldn't let the old handlebar down y'know."
  Raymond Glendenning (centre), B.B.C. commentator and first President of the Club, added "I am all for bigger and better moustaches."
  The Handlebar Club is the idea of Windmill Theatre comic, Jimmy Edwards. Last night he got together 18 of the owners of the biggest

moustaches in England to form the nucleus of what he hopes will become a nation-wide movement.


  As for admitting men with famous false moustaches like Flying Officer Kite, of radio and television fame, Vice-President Edwards said: "We only want the real thing."
  But Kite (extreme left) was made an honorary member.
  The club will meet once a month in a London pub to drink beer and discuss their moustaches.

And on April 30th "The Sketch" had a feature:-

picture from The Sketch

THE MEMBERS OF THE HANDLEBAR CLUB,  for their determined co-operative self-denial in the use of the razor.

The Handlebar Club was inaugurated on April 21 by Windmill Theatre comedian Jimmy Edwards.  Its flowing moustachio appeal is directed primarily to serving and ex-members of the Forces, particularly those of the Prune school.  Readers will remember his loose brushlike appendage.  Many of the founder members are former R.A.F. men; including famous personalities.  The President is Raymond Glendenning, B.B.C. commentator.  Bill Hooper created the wartime character Percy Prune.   Captain Hare sits below in the front;  second row,  l. to r.: Allan Edwards: Raymond Glendenning; George Hoffman;  next row, above:  Baron de Bere; Anita d'Ray; Bill Hooper; H. Lestocq (F/O Kite); with Jimmy Edwards behind him;   directly above is Russ Allen;  and finally Founder Frank Muir, of the B.B.C.

The First President  -  Raymond Glendenning
Raymond Glendenning

The first Vice-President  -  Jimmy Edwards
Jimmy Edwards

Some early publicity
in American Life

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