[CR]My Bill Hurlow-built HOBBS (of Barbicon)


From: Norris Lockley <norris.lockley@talktalk.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 16:01:05 +0100
Subject: [CR]My Bill Hurlow-built HOBBS (of Barbicon)

Some weeks ago I mentioned to the List that I had bought a very attracti ve late 1930s frame that appeared to have Hurlow No1 lugs built into a fram e bearing the "HOBBS" but not Hobbs of Barbicon name.

Having read up extensively on both Bill's work and the Hobbs' company I found it very difficult to reconcile that information with the frame that I was studying. At the time the frame was built, I was told it was a 1937 on e, Bill would be aged about 17 or 18, and was probably be working for Claud Butler..having just left Fred Grubbs'.. However the address given on the t ransfers bore no relationship to any known address that Hobbs had used...an d there was no mention of "..of Barbicon"

I would like to thanks all the Listers and other folk who contacted me, and in particular those who suggested that I should contact Bill himself..a nd the eagle-eyed Lou Deeter to came up with a fascinating pice of informat ion.

Lou, by means of his list of all the bike shops/factories etc in the wor ld, found out that the Romford Road address on the Hobbs frame was the one that Arhtur Duckett's bike business had occupied until it was destroyed by fire in the early 30s. The CR entry about Duckett confirms this fact.

Two very long conversations with Bill before and after despatching a num ber of photos, confirmed the fact that Bill HAD done some building for Hobb s..but it seems it was on the "black economy"...but he is adamant that my f rame is not one of those he built, as his lugs would have been cut far more accurately and finished to a better standard. I pointed out that he would have been little more than an inexperienced, but nevertheless skilled teen-ager at the time, but he was having nothing of it!

He accepted that Hobbs had made some attractive frames, but could not qu ite place this particular one. He admitted to having no knowledge of t he Romford Road address whatsoever, and appeared to be puzzled by it. Of th e elaborate finish, he thought that it probably cost more than the frame it self.

I now have feelers out among the membership of the Veteran Cycle Club , and Mervyn Cook in particular in an attempt to clarify the fine detail.

However, from my conversations with Bill, it appears that I might have the only known "HOBBS" frame, manufactured before the company moved into Lo ndo n and the Barbicon area, to become "Hobbs of Barbicon".

I know that Bill is held in very high esteem by many members of the List and he asked to me to convey his best wishes to CR. He is amused by the re nown tand reputation that many of his frames enjoy these days. He is howeve r not in the best of health following a couple of falls, but hopes to get b ack on his bike very soon. Meanwhile he is still doing a few alterations an d repairs.

I will attempt to post a few pictures of the "HOBBS" on a site somewhere .

Norris Lockley, Settle UK

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