The Classic Motorcycle
Now it’s your turn
Last Saturday, long-time friend Gordon Hallett, whose machines have featured in
TCM over the past 20 years, gave me an envelope of superb, period photos, including the accompanying image. Gordon confirmed it was taken – possibly by a local newspaper photographer – outside the Cromwell Hotel, in Stevenage Old Town.
Dress and the machines suggest the scene was snapped 1949-51 and the riders’ sports jackets or light coats and the young ladies’ headscarves imply they were to enjoy a pleasant spring or early summer ride out with one of the local clubs.
Best known of these is the Stevenage and District Motor
Cycle Club, which continues to thrive today and counts/ counted among its members the world renowned sprinter George Brown – who worked locally for Vincent before opening his motorcycle shop in the town – his brother Cliff and George’s son Tony.
The two HRDs (VincentHRD) spanned the Second World War, with the older model, either a 499cc Comet or Meteor, wearing its Manchester registration FNC 54 plate, dating from 1939, while the post Second World War example,
nearest the camera, is a Series B Rapide, registered in London late 1947 or early 1948. As one would expect, both have Brampton girder front fork.
Also along the line-up are two Bedfordshire registered machines (GMJ 635 and GMJ 249), a BSA A7 (two exhaust pipes) and a Matchless single. Two trials machines are present and a postwar Triumph, or perhaps two. Oldest machine in the row is WN 7108, which dates from the early 1930s and had found its way up to Stevenage from Swansea during its life.
Now it’s your turn to add further identification (specifically of riders) of this happy bunch, who look delighted to have enough fuel (still on ration) to enjoy a ride through the Hertfordshire countryside and perhaps a blast up (or down, or both!) the A1.