Classic British Frame Builders Mapped - New Website

netman

Über Member
*** Site address is https://cbfb.home.blog/greater-london-frame-builders-map/ for now... may buy it it's own domain in due course! ***


Hi All,

I'll start a new thread from the discussion in
Ebay and auction watch: let us know if you see something pages 321-322.

The idea is to create a website mapping all the amazing British frame builders we have had.

All local knowledge greatly appreciated - I'm happy to do the website and collate everything in a great new resource hopefully!

Thanks,
Al.

3 Ken Birds: A very tidy late 70's machine and another faster looking one with shot-in seat stays - both 54cm, heavily Campag'd and in Hampshire. The 3rd also about 54cm has a BIN of £150ono and looks a bit Holdsworth-ish to me, West Wickham.

1959? RO Harrison in near Dover. £85 start.

another bit of South London steel. This time a Witcomb - £60 start, Leigh-on-Sea
Was there something in the water I wonder? There seemed to be a disproportionate amount of quality frame building South of the river back in the heyday of clubman's sports bikes. Another very unlikely location, but on the North side, was in the City of London with Hobbs of Barbican, until they got bombed out in the war. Just imagine knocking out brazed & lugged 531 frames in a workshop sat right next door to some multi-billion banking institution now!.
@SkipdiverJohn It's amazing the volume of builders in London during that period. And you're right, a lot seem to based in South London - maybe as a result of former Holdsworth and CB builders setting up on their own? I wonder how many lightweights were built in London in say, 1953? An interesting project for somebody (i.e. not me!) would be building a custom google map with the sites of all the London (and beyond) classic frame builders former premise's pinned on.
That's a great idea... so a series of pages like this... https://cbfb.home.blog/geoffrey-butler/ and then a front page map with all locations on one map maybe? Looks like I've already started!
My H.E. Green was built in Fulham. 'Doc' Green started as a filer for Claud Butler and then became an apprentice frame builder for A.S. Gillott. In 1952 he opened his own shop at 171 Dawes Road Fulham S.W.6 - so he was building bikes in 1953.
Brilliant, keep up the good work.
@netman looks like you might be busy
People tend to forget that London was once an industrial manufacturing city the equal of anywhere in the Midlands or North, and there was a huge pool of metalworking skills that went with it, especially in the immediate years after WW2 when thousands of people who were previously employed making stuff for the war effort would have been looking for a civilian outlet with which to use the knowledge they had gained.
Kelly's Directory might help in identifying all the cycle shops in south London. Or you could go through these to find some of them: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders.html
 
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stalagmike

Enormous member
Location
Milton Keynes
Don't forget Rotrax in Southampton!
 

Kempstonian

Has the memory of a goldfish
Location
Bedford
Here's a bit about A.J Hodge, who built bikes in Luton from 1933 to 1966 (before that he had shops in Wood Green and Tottenham)

http://www.shuttleworth.org/collection/1938-a-j-hodge-tandem/

Also in Luton we had the shops of Ivor Holmes and B. Liddell who both had bikes in their name but I'm not sure who actually built them. I don't think Ivor Holmes did but Liddell's might have.
https://h-lloyd-cycles.myshopify.com/collections/liddell-luton

I suppose both shops might have bought frames from Pop Hodge?
 
I have discovered several makers that were close to me . I will try to find some information later. Northgate of Bath were featured some time ago in another thread.
Albion Cycles of Melksham originally started as Albion and Iron Foundry Works Melksham producing Penny Farthings in the late 1800's but went into receivership in 1900. I'm not sure how or when they restarted in the 70's.
There was a cycle company which had branches in Trowbridge and Froome who's name I have forgotten at the moment but had a catalogue of their own cycles from the 1900's to just before the Second World War.
I think Difazio of Froome also made cycles at one time .
 

Kempstonian

Has the memory of a goldfish
Location
Bedford
R O Harrison Cycles at 23 Queen's Road in Peckham, South London were making cyccles in 1953 (if we are concentrating on that year).
 
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nonowt

Senior Member
Location
London
Great work! And well done for taking it on - it's going to be quite a task but well worth it. The Google street view to show the former premises is a great idea. I wonder if it would be worth linking the map pins to the information on Classic Lightweights and Classic Rendezvous? That would save having write out information that's already available.
 

Kempstonian

Has the memory of a goldfish
Location
Bedford
Wally Green, the ex-speedway rider (for West Ham), made frames at 21 Vivian Avenue, Hendon Central N.W.4. He also built for other manufacturers, according to someone who worked for him:

"Some of the other trade names we built for:
Sid Mottram, Jackson of Leeds, Carter & Hall (Portsmouth), Shepherds of Poole, Hindes, Ernie Whitcombe, Fred Dean, Claud Butler, Dave Davey, Jensen of South Africa, Hobbs Brothers, Lomas of Oxford, Alan Shorter, Ivor Clark of Harrow, Mal Rees. There must have been many others that I can't remember off hand. We also built under our own name for a very large percentage of NW London racing cyclists.

We also did quite a lot of frame repairs. Mainly cutting or melting out corroded seat pillars, handlebar stems and what we called double tubers. These were where the rider had invariably gone into the back of a car or bus and bent the top and down tubes. These were cut out and completely replaced. The frames we built for Claud Butler were when his business was nearing its end (it was alleged that he was drinking all the profits of the firm!)."
 

nonowt

Senior Member
Location
London
I'll throw in a couple of makers local to me:

‘Ephgrave Lightweights Ltd.’ at the Aveley Works, Aveley Road Clapton, London. Aveley Road no longer exist on any maps but Ephgrave's is described as being behind Henley's Garage which is now a Shell Garage at 150 Upper Clapton Road, E5 9JZ. There are workshops behind the garage but they look to modern to have been Ephgrave's.

Saxon (of "twin tube" fame) seemed to move around. Starting at 123 Holloway Road (now home to a Gravestone Mason!) , then turning Holloway Road into the showroom with frames being made at 15-17-19 Arcola Street Dalston E8. Finally ending up at Sidney Road (now Kenworthy Road) E9 probably on the corner of Marsh Hill where some 80's council flats now stand.

FJ Sanders and then HR Morris were at 28 Orford Road Walthamstow E17 (now Eat 17 restaurant and deli).

F.A. Lipscombe Cycles and then Brian Wilkins were 185-7 Markhouse Road, Walthamstow, London E17 8AZ (which has now been flattened for Walthamstow Leisure Centre).
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
‘Ephgrave Lightweights Ltd.’ at the Aveley Works, Aveley Road Clapton, London. Aveley Road no longer exist on any maps but Ephgrave's is described as being behind Henley's Garage which is now a Shell Garage at 150 Upper Clapton Road, E5 9JZ. There are workshops behind the garage but they look to modern to have been Ephgrave's..
Aveley Rd ran North-South between Mount Pleasant Lane and Southwold Rd, crossing the railway at the Northern end. The alignment would intersect with the present western boundary of Detmold Rd. The street was still extant in 1954 at least.
 
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