Humber Bicycle 1926
In a small museum like ours space is limited and so reluctantly these two bikes have been transferred to the Coventry Transport Museum. This frees up space for us and enables visitors to see them in context along many other bikes.
Let Donald Box tell the story.
The bicycle belonged to my father, Sid Box, who was born in 1902 and lived in Malmesbury until he moved to Chippenham to join the Great Western Railway (GWR God’s Wonderful Railway) in 1920. He purchased the bicycle in 1926, for £5 8s 0d from George Brewer, whose cycle shop was then in the Market Place, Chippenham, and who had just become his father-in-law. The illustration shows the shop at about the time the bicycle was bought, George Brewer being the left facing of the two men stood outside.
My father used the bicycle continuously for the rest of his life until his death in 1983, principally to get to and from work at the engine sheds in Chippenham and latterly Swindon, but also to visit his parents etc. in Malmesbury.
I believe the bicycle to have been manufactured by the Humber Co., which, as I understand it was reputed to be one of the better makers of the day.
One or two modifications have been made to the bicycle over the years – the ‘ three speed’ was fitted after the war and the saddle and handle bar grips are not original. Doubtless the brake-blocks and tyres have been replaced many times over! A carbide lamp is really needed to complete the picture. I recall seeing one in my father’s possession many, many years ago but it has long been replaced by the present lamp.
George Brewer charged 2d to store a bicycle and 2d to recharge its carbide lamp when customers left their machines with him while indulging in an evening’s entertainment in Chippenham. Punctures were repaired for 4d. Bicycles were hired out at the rate of 3d or 4d an hour or 2s for a day and sold by installments – so much down and then weekly installments.