The Classic Motorcycle

Hertfordsh­ire recollecti­ons

- Peter Johnson, Letchworth, Herts.

During 2021 you noted achieving 20 years of being associated with The Classic MotorCycle – I can’t believe the magazine has now been extant for over 40 years. All I can add is “That went quick!”

Like many, I’ve read and followed TCM for years, and always find something that appeals to me, but this last couple of years has had me reading more than the usual articles that I can relate to.

Firstly, your 40th celebratio­n in the July 2021 issue had me looking back through my old magazines and one seems to me to have a lady on the cover? See the smiling girl with Bob Fisher’s Golden Flash, on the August 1992 issue. That got me thinking, as only yesterday on my Sunday ride, I saw three female riders, so perhaps this is a bit under representa­tive? Just an observatio­n.

Your articles last year on Granville Bradshaw (JulyOctobe­r 2021 issues) also grabbed my attention. I knew him in his later years when he lived in Hitchen and he used to turn up at Morgans Motorcycle­s in Sun Street and talk to us young lads. Sadly we did not realise his importance relating to motorcycle­s and we just thought he was a likeable ‘old timer.’

Lastly, a couple of pictures you may find interestin­g. Not five minutes’ walk from me, lives a friend who has a restored Ascot Pullin Sports Utility, which he restored 20 years ago and on from that, another five minutes walking will take me to the Ascot works in Pixmore Avenue, which has been sympatheti­cally turned into apartments.

I also enclose a photograph of the Chater-Lea works in Icknied Way. I have been inside several times and it is almost unchanged since the time when they built motorcycle­s in there. People might think Letchworth is a quiet backwater, but over 100 years ago it was up there with the best, with pioneers such as Phoenix Motors, Lacre Motors, Chater-Lea, Fosters and Ascot. Oh, and not to forget my mate Roger’s grandfathe­r, Albert Edwin Bowyer-Lowe, who was a pioneer racer and engine designer for Jap, who designed their first V-twin and first ohv engine. Though he died some years ago, I was lucky enough to chat with him, and his story needs another page at least.

 ?? ?? The old Chater-Lea factory on Icknied Way.
The old Chater-Lea factory on Icknied Way.
 ?? ?? The Ascot works in Pixmore Avenue.
The Ascot works in Pixmore Avenue.

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