I must have missed a thread somewhere in the last day or two. What's all this, Michael about Doc Gren, Algurn, Jimmy Long, Morris and Pat Skeats? Were there some fancy lugs to be admired?
It's very coincidental that you mentioned Pat Skeats, because only yesterday I managed to locate and buy a 24" Skeats that was built for a friend of mine in 1953..from the original owner. I remember collecting the frame for him on one of my "window-shopping" trips down to London...by bus, when I was just a teenager. Apart from looking in all those wonderful frame-builder's shops I would then get on a London double-decker bus and go out to visit Jack Baguley's tiny emporium on the Crossway. That place was an Aladdin's cave of second-hand goodies.
It's been an interesting day today. This morning I had a long telephone conversation with Barrie Witcomb..then this afternoon an even longer one with his father who, at the ripe old age of 88 and nearly 57 years in the bike trade, sounded just as sprightly as when I first met him in 1981.
The purpose of my 'phone call was to locate a set of transfers that I had last seen on that 1981 visit! I was on my way by car from the north of England to Dover, then across the Channel by boat and on to Compiegne to watch the Paris-Roubaix. It was convenient in those days to drive through London and to call on the Witcomb shop at Tanners Hill, because there was a good fish-and-chip shop just across the road and it was a treat to eat fish-and-chips AND admire the Witcomb frames.
On that occasion I was in the middle of a renovation of a beautiful 1950s English classic frame made by E A Boult. I had lusted after one of these elegant frames in my teens but never could afford one.. Leaning on the counter in the Witcomb shop I chatted away to Mr Witcomb about this and that..and happened to mention the "Boult" His eyes lit up...He knew the marque..but even better still he had actually bought the brand in the early 50s. Turning to a shelf on the wall behind the counter he pulled open the drawer of a small cabinet. "You'll be needing some of these, then!" he said as he pulled from the drawer a full set of "E A Boult" transfers, respendent in old English script printed in gold and edged with black.
On Saturday morning I am going to pick up another 1950 E A Boult...one that really does need a good refurbishing. So in anticipation of this process and mindful of the splendid frame that had emerged from the same process in 1981. I decided to 'phone Witcomb's again in the off-chance that the little cabinet would still be on the wall..and that there would be at least one spare set of E A Boult decals in that drawer..
Young Barrie..now 62 years young..thought he had seen some somewhere.."..but dad will know,,he's due in this afternoon...give him a call.." And so it came to pass that I shall shortly be the proud owner of a full set of original transfers...and sometime not too far in the future..the even prouder owner of a fully refurbished and bedecalled "E A BOULT " frame.
It's just a pity that just like the other refurbished one it will be, at 24"...about 3" too large for me to rid.
Oh..and for very good measure I have also found..but not at Witcomb's,.. a full set of Pat Skeat's transfers as well. Now there's a pair of beautiful frames to admire in my advancing years !
Norris Lockley...somewhere down Nostalgia Street, Settle, UK