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  • Tom Braysher frame- builder
    to complete the course Whatever Tom produced for Condor the frames were probably unremarkable and made little impact on a burgeoning company wanting to make a name for itself An example of a Condor road track frame made by Tom came to my attention some years ago and is now on CLs Readers Bikes image below where the owner had written under the bottom bracket built in 1954 by Vic Braysher Outwardly there was nothing to distinguish it from many others made at the time 1954 was an important year for Condor where the decision was made to take on Bill Hurlow as their ace frame builder whose reputation was well known and so raise the profile of the company and the rest as they say is history Condor s star rider Ted Gerrard had left about this time to start up his own business at 65 Woodhouse Road North Finchley and he seems to have had no hesitation in hiring Tom as his frame builder It is interesting to study the sort of frame being made for Gerrard which was very conventional and popular at the time Nervex Pro lugs plain or Campag ends and not unlike the early Condors A young Ted Gerrard in full flight Examples of these appeared in the Sporting Cyclist shown at bottom of page as part of Gerrard s advertising campaigns with the slogan Pay as You Ride However with a good order book and things looking up Tom had moved to open his own shop with his brother John at 520 Forest Road Walthamstow and their first advert appeared in the May 1957 issue of The Sporting Cyclist ERCC 25 September 1960 Tom Braysher pushes off Dave Broome Whilst Tom was engaged in frame making John built the wheels according to Dave Broome who contacted me with information when I first made enquiries in 2003 Both had a long association with the Essex Roads Cycle Club and Dave was also a member at the end of the 1950s He remembered the frame numbers of both Braysher frames he had owned which helped me form an opinion about dating that I will come to later An interesting aside is that John Braysher was responsible for bringing the talented rider Ian Moore from Belfast to London and introducing him to Jock Wadley who helped him experience a season of racing in France Ian Moore riding a Braysher These exploits were told by a racing companion Mel Davies in the Sporting Cyclist where there are pictures of Ian riding a Braysher shown here Dave also told me that Tom had made several frames for Barry Chick who was himself to become a frame builder for Shorter Rochford Gerrard s successor Although most Braysher frames reflect the fashion of the time for Nervex Pro lugs Nervex Legere lugs or in the case of the one that I own that is made with attractive Oscar Egg lugs Tom did make some frames with hand cut fancy lugs

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/braysher-clarke-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Classic Lightweights UK
    all made at that time with the ubiquitous Nervex Pro lugs no others with different lugs have so far come to light for the Harringay models and therefore they are difficult to identify without corroborating evidence A choice of brazings was clearly available to customers specification as well as chrome It is thought that the shop opened around c1951 until 1957 when it was sold to Dave Davey who had been the manager of the local Claud Butler branch since the 1940s see Dave Davey web page The old CB shop was taken over by W Hinds Sports Cycles Ltd who also acquired the Lewisham branch George re emerged as the proprietor of a new much larger shop at Downend near Bristol in April1958 where he apparently proved popular with members of the Bristol South CC and who also bought his frames This was certainly the case with one of their ace time triallists Chris Holloway who was runner up in the 1965 BAR see photo below However it is thought that this shop closed down sometime in the late1960s In the early 1980s Terry remembers talking about George with Terry Cronin who at that time ran the cycle shop Birds of Colindale and apparently George could still be seen at trade gatherings Speculation remains about who was responsible for building George Brooks frames and Les Ephgrave is a name mentioned regularly This is borne out by Neil Palmer via Stan Broome who apparently worked there However Roger Chamberlain whose family lived opposite Aveley Works and was a close friend to Les is adamant that he made frames only for Rory O Brien and carried out repairs for him and Dave Davey Bill Hurlow when asked suggested Vic Edwards and there is a likeness and build quality of a Rory O Brien that I own from the same period that may have been built by Vic The wrap over on frame number 1034 has something of Wally Green about it It is also interesting that George was an agent for the equally talented Pat Skeates whose frame building career appeared to be relatively short lived Examination of frames with numbers 742 and 1034 one from around 1954 and the other from around 1957 show consistencies suggesting that the same builder was employed for both although the lugs on 742 are better filed It is very similar to the one pictured being ridden by Terry which shares the same fork crown and top class forged Agrati ends It would seem that the gear hanger was cut off before chroming in the case of 742 but Terry who had a penchant for Simplex gears was happy to retain his He first rode with Simplex Tour de France gears and then progressed to Simplex Juy 51 moving from 4 speed 1 8 to 10 speed 3 32 later in 1955 after a shunt necessitated a replacement top tube His frame in keeping with the other frames also had pump pegs under the top

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/george-brooks.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Jim Broome (1916-1981) Frame builder, Salford, Lancs., UK
    production process with brazing hearths and complex jigs and fixtures Frames were assembled from Reynolds 531 with the aid of an acetylene torch for brazing It seems that about 200 frames were his total output mine is No 191 In later years Jim gave up his day job and opened larger premises at 169 171 Regent Road Salford These were close enough to the Coronation Street TV set to require some of Jim s stock in trade as props His interest in amateur dramatics drew him in with a non speaking part in the popular soap and another TV production The shop closed in the late 1960 s and the area was subsequently comprehensively redeveloped Below is the scan of an advert for Jim Broome of Salford at his Regent Road address as published in Sporting Cyclist of June 1964 It lists his 531 Special with Campag front and rear ends at 16 Gns 16 16s Vertical drop outs are 1 3s 6d extra Jim Broome had been a member of the Stretford Wheelers from the 1930 s and was highly regarded eventually becoming an official of the Manchester District Time Trial Association Many of his machines bore conventional head

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/jimbroome.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Carpenter Cycles (F. H. Carpenter)
    ultra close clearances which came into fashion preferring slim elegant seat and chain stays His perfectionist tendencies led him to examine each pair of Reynolds forks minutely usually complaining how they were now made by machines and the blades no longer came in identical matching pairs Frank was also an ace wheel builder which set him apart from others At this time we time trialists wanted 7 ounce wood insert sprint rims built with 24 or 28 spokes and fitted with 5 ounce tyres we then rode them over potholed roads Any defective wheel with a shake of more that about 5mm was declared trueable but needs a new rim really It is said that Frank supplied wheels to many leading competition cyclists of that time including Reg Harris Catalogue details 1920s 1930s 1950 60s click on pages for larger version Sporting Successes Some of the successful riders who used Carpenter frames Mike Gambrill A well known rider of the 1950s and a member of the Clarence Wheelers One of Mike s best races was the Epic Dresden Madison of 1959 in which he was paired with Norman Sheil Fresh from their success of a few days earlier in Leipzig the pair faced stiff opposition from riders from Berlin and the local Dresden Matadors team Mikes younger brother Robin was paired with Ken Craven At half distance a new 20km track record time of 25min 31sec was set The British pair took first place with 21points and a track record of 40km in 51 41 2 29 5mph Mike rode a 26 inch Carpenter track frame in this event Jack Manning rode frame nos 4146 4215 Notorious for racing anything anywhere Jack was a superb rider whose racing career was severely curtailed by the outbreak of WW 11 He was the last man to win a cycle race at Brooklands on the Campbell circuit He worked as a toolmaker with an aircraft company After the war he took part in many top class events using his Carpenter frames He was invited to join the first Milk Race team but declined due to his wife s concern about him attending the race Johnny Vaughan During the period 1959 63 Johnny worked as a frame builder with Carpenters He was also a keen competition cyclist and rode Time Trials during this period Freddie Smeeth Freddie worked at the Carpenter shop as wheel builder and mechanic Harry Grey Worked with H Carpenter at the Penton Rd address as a frame builder reputed to have slept in the shop cellar for a period when digs were not available Bill Inder rode frame no 5279 Bill with two other founder members had brought touring cycling to Woking in 1922 and by 1928 had formed the West Surrey D A A rider of no mean ability who told tales of daily mileages of more than 100 miles whilst carrying camping kit on dreadnaught cycles with 28 x 1 5 wheels and tyres in the early years

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/carpenter.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Carlton cycles
    village of Carlton in Lindrick in Nottinghamshire UK by Fred Hanstock For a while the company concentrated mainly on car and motor cycle repairs which were more profitable In 1934 the company moved to nearby Worksop and gradually started to manufacture more cycles In 1936 they were producing a range of machines including The Flyer Massed Start Massed Start Special Super Python Continental and Silver Clubman which they started to sell through a network of dealers around the UK In 1939 the company was taken over by the O Donovan family just before the outbreak of WWII Sales would have dropped at this time but Carlton Cycles were able to work at servicing existing cycles and no doubt had to diversify into war work as did all the other cycle builders in the UK When the war finished in 1945 there was a great boom in the sale of lightweight machines as thousands of military personel returned to civvie street and eagerly took up the sport again this trend carried on into the early 50s In 1958 Gerald O Donovan left the RAF and joined the company where he became an influential figure but by then the boom was receding and in 1960 the company was taken over by Raleigh Cycles the largest mass produced manufacturer of cycles in the UK who wanted to be able to offer high quality hand made machines to their more discerning customers Soon after this they transferred the manufacture of their Sun Cycles to the Worksop site In 1974 Gerald O Donovan set up the Specialist Bicycle Development Unit for Raleigh at Ilkeston Derbyshire From 1967 onwards there were several racing teams sponsored under various names by both Carlton and Raleigh and Gerald O Donovan was at the forefront of the design and manufacture

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/carlton.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Geoff Clark cyclist and frame builder
    Geoff s occupation is listed as Motor Auto Electrician By 1951 the same programme now quoted his occupation as Electrician and Cycle builder At first when trying to fathom out actually when Geoff had started to put his name to a frame I was confused as to how this juxtaposed to his cycling activities which clearly required extensive training programmes and travel to actual events both in the UK and internationally The frame which first kick started my quest for knowledge about the man and his career is a superb but simple example of a circa 1950 first generation Nervex Pro lugged frame built with such fine detail and finishing it suggested that it simply couldn t have been built by a novice frame builder Yet here was a frame built at a time when Geoff was winning races I have since learnt that although it bears along with a known earlier extant frame the name of Geoff Clark it was in fact built by an ex Ellis Briggs builder by the name of Sunter Christian name unknown who in turn was taught by Jack Briggs My frame has all the hall marks of Briggs detailing it would seem and copied by Sunter s building technique There is still some confusion as to when frame building commenced as Richard Hoddinott owns the earliest known frame numbered 9 purchased it from its original owner who claimed he watched it being built in 1947 My frame numbered 107 is clearly a circa 1950 frame judging by its frame build features and braze ons etc Above Derek Athey s 1950 Geoff Clark frame No 107 The numbering at this time appears to be unique for GC But I will expand on this a little later Frame building in around 1950 1 was undertaken in Geoff s auto electrical premises which was as a shed come garage at Newall Street Bradford For frames to have climbed from 9 to 107 by 1950 there must have been a period of a year or so when frame building took place So it is quite likely that the earliest frames were built here in the late forties although it was not generally known that Geoff was having frames built with his name on at this time Ken Russell seems certain that he didn t start until around 1950 But if my frame which still bears its original livery is No 107 clearly he must have had building done some time earlier than this in my view Derek Browne s Clark frame numbered 142 is dated to 1953 as it too was purchased from its original owner Phil Ellison Derek s cycle can be seen on the CL website It would appear that Geoff Clark moved premises quite frequently throughout his retailing career for a small business and although I have yet to establish exactly when Sunter and he parted company I have been advised that Sunter did give Clark some tuition in frame building along with a

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/clark-builders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Claud Butler - King of Lightweights
    amalgamated or simply packing up for good Claud s finances were in a poor state and a large sum owing to the taxman put the final nail in the coffin Claud Butler s business was declared bankrupt The Clapham Manor Street works closed in 1956 and so ended the Claud Butler empire and production of real Claud Butler cycles Claud Butler was a showman entrepreneur who had grasped every available opportunity to promote and develop a successful business For instance how many other quality lightweight manufacturers promoted an annual do with a dance band and cabaret acts or produced a pin badge or were active sponsors of well known international riders or placed regular display advertising in Cycling or used their proprietor s personality in the form of a cartoon caricature or marked their jubilee with special models or claimed to be both The King of Lightweights and Just one of the boys Nobody else in the trade was able to equal the zest or flamboyance of Claud Butler Each aspect of Claud Butler s business was closely overseen by the proprietor in person Frames were produced to a high standard with originality and a distinct flair as well as offering good value for money Claud Butler was certainly the premier and most prolific marque amongst British lightweight cycles in the heyday of British club cycling in the middle of the last century The sad fate that has befallen the Claud Butler name ever since 1957 has put an undeserved tarnish on what really should be celebrated as a shining example of quality flair self promotion and business acumen Claud Butler established an important and endearing legacy Some of Britain s most celebrated artisan frame builders either began their careers or spent time sweating over a gas torch and firebricks at Claud s Clapham Manor Street workshop just either side of the war That roll of honour includes such exalted names as Purves Ephgrave Morris Skeates and Hurlow The Claud Butler marque continues to this day but ever since the sale of the Claud Butler name in 1957 the marque has simply been a valuable label for the shameless re branding of generic and characterless products by a succession of exploitative trade mark owners Had the marque been allowed to end with the bankruptcy then Claud Butler would surely be celebrated today as an equal to the most sought after names within our interest After a couple of failed attempts to return to business in the lightweight cycle trade a chronic illness finally claimed Claud Butler s life in 1978 See additions by Mick Butler below which has extracts from Cycling and Mopeds showing that Claud Butler re opened a new business in 1959 after selling the original business to Holdsworth 1958 9 The author currently owns three original Claud Butler cycles including the grey and red 1937 Anglo Continental shown in Readers Bikes A classic Claud Butler track machine as advertised in Cycling for the Wembley 6 day Cycle

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/claudbutler.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Claud Butler bilaminates
    frame with these partial bi lams but whether these were also used on the first production machines is not known Despite the 1947 Cycling feature the Avant Coureur model was absent from the 1948 brochure so it is not known whether it had the partial bi lams on its introduction that year What we do know is that for the 1949 model year it had the full axe head bi lams which are described as an improved version of the CB Bi laminated principle The partial bi lams however were a feature of the 1949 Sport Anglais model and also for the Deluxe Tourer of that year It has been reported that a CB frame with partial bi laminated construction was made as early as 1940 although it is probable that any such frames were one offs or prototypes as there is no mention of this type of construction in sales brochures of the period It would seem that the partial bi lam design was not used after about 1950 Axe Head The axe head design dates way back to the late 1930s with the Anglo Continental model although this was a lugged frame The same attractive and distinctive design was introduced using the bi laminated principle on the Avant Coureur model from the 1948 model year it is thought until 1951 when frames with this design became known as the New Allrounder Meanwhile the top of the range Avant Coureur model became the Avant Coureur Spécial for 1951 with entirely different long spearpoint bi lams see below The Axe Head design continued with the New Allrounder frame until the closure of the Clapham works in October 1956 The Axe Head bi lams were also a feature of the Olympic Path model of 1949 Classic Axe Head bi lams shown on a 53 New Allrounder Initially this design was reserved for the Olympic Path and Avant Coureur De Luxe Long Spearpoint This type of bi lam was used initially for certain CB path or track models from about 1950 presumably because it resulted in particularly strong joints The design was also taken up for the new Avant Coureur Spécial Long spearpoint bi lams were used for the following models 1951 Championnat d Olympique track 1951 52 Avant Coureur Spécial 1951 55 Olympic Sprint track The elegant Long Spearpoint bi lams were popular with CB track riders in the early 50s The design was adopted for the Avant Coureur Spécial for a short period Short Spearpoint This was a feature of the following models 1953 A C 53 1954 55 Avant Coureur Spécial 1955 6 Avant Coureur Short Spearpoint bi lams on the author s 1955 Avant Coureur Spécial Like many CB bi lam frames this one has an oversize top tube A striking feature of the new for 1953 de luxe short spearpoint bi laminations is the resemblence to the very much in vogue Nervex Professional lugset However it is only in the head tube profile where this resemblence exists

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/builders/cb-bilam-vincent.html (2016-02-09)
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