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Moped shops then and now

Adimar of London SW9

Adimar in 1960

Frank Adinolfi, proprietor of Adimar, was the UK concessionaire for Itom.  The shop was at 222 Brixton Road, London SW9 on the corner with Lorn Road.  Now occupied by a beauty salon the frontage (although hidden behind the steel shutters) has changed very little.

Adimar in 2012

Alford Brothers of Felixstowe

Alford Brothers in 2001

The most recent of our ‘then’ pictures is this one of Alford Brothers of Felixstowe.  The number plate sign would suggest that the picture was taken in 2001 … but it could be later as the same sign had not been changed in 2014, when our second picture was taken.

Before Alford Brothers, the shop was owned by Bradbeers, where you’ll find some older pictures.

We also have several interior views … enough for a separate page of photos.

Although it was still trading when we first put these pictures here, Alford Brothers closed on 20 February 2018.

Alford Brothers in 2014

Aplins of Bristol

Aplins in 1960

Of our collection of period pictures of moped shops, most are no longer there.  Some of the businesses are no longer trading, others have moved on to bigger things.  Well into the 21st century, Aplins of Bristol was one that was still in the business in its original premises.  The business was founded in 1959 and the picture (right) shows the shop in the following year.  The second picture shows the shop, little changed, in 2010.  However, at the age of 77, Brian Aplin decided to call time and closse the shop in 30 July 2021.

(Period picture supplied by Brian Aplin.  There are more period pictures of Aplins on the Aplins page of our Directory.)

Aplins in 2009

Artdean of Swindon

Artdean’s in 1967

This one almost made it …

This single story showroom was built in 1966 on the site of Artdean’s previous three-storey premises in Swindon.  The rebuild was triggered by the collapse of the house next door after some ‘over enthusiastic’ DIY work!  The new showroom is pictured in 1967, with a Raleigh Wisp prominent among the bikes displayed outside.  Artdean’s was a cycle shop and the father & son owners, Arthur and Harold Pullen, made their first foray into the moped market with four Auto-VAPs in 1960.

Artdean’s in 2014

Pictured in 2014, the shop is still there with a second storey added.  However, Artdean’s went into voluntary liquidation in January 2015.

Bickers of Ipswich

Dave Bickers’s in 1967
Dave Bickers’ss in Woodbridge Road

Dave Bickers opened his shop in Vernon Street, Ipswich in September 1960.  The first shop was so successful that, within six months, he had moved to premises in Woodbridge Road.  By 1967, the shop had been extended, covering the sites of four former shops: 73–83 Woodbridge Road.

The site of Dave Bickers’s in Woodbridge Road

No trace of this shop remains.

Dave Bickers’s shop at Barrack Corner

Dave Bickers moved to Barrack Corner in Ipswich to premises between Clarkson Street and London Road.  This had been the premises of Bolton Motor Cycles.

Dave Bickers’s former shop at Barrack Corner

The shop was taken over by Orwell Motorcycles, who later moved to larger premises.  Although it is now a supermarket, the building has hardly changed.

Blackley of London E1

Blackley’s in 1967

Bill Blackley opened his shop at 71 Cambridge Heath Road, London E1 in 1960, though the family business was much older than that.  Originally a cycle business, at the opening of this shop 25% of Blackley’s trade was mopeds.  By the time this picture was taken in 1967, all Blackley’s business was mopeds and under-125cc motor cycles.

Blackley’s in 2015

In 2015, the shop was empty.

Bradbeers of Felixstowe

Bradveers in 1952 Bradveers in 1952

These pictures are of Bradbeers Cycle & Motor Cycle Depot at 119 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.  Note the Hercules Corvette in the later picture.  Bradbeers opened in 1932 and lasted for thirty years.  There’s no ‘now’ picture here because, in 1962, the business was sold to Alford Brotheres, where the story continues…

Brockliss of Tunbridge Wells

Brockliss Motorcycles of Tunbridge Wells

This picture of Brockliss Motorcycles was taken when they opened a parts shop next door.  We’ve not yet worked out where in Tunbridge Wells the shop was; it must be one of the longer streets as the shops are at numbers 332 & 334.  However, we have found this story about the shop:

I was Parts manager at Sondels in the early ’70s, when it went from being a single dealership to being the blue eyed boys of Honda UK.  However, all that came crashing down around us when the boss ‘AJ’ died and it had become apparent to all that worked there that the person brought in to run the place was not up to the job.

I was head hunted by Brockliss and arrived at the small original shop where he had just been given the Yamaha parts agency and my first few weeks were occupied getting the parts out of clumps on the floor, into boxes, labelled correctly, and put onto shelves.  At this time, Brockliss was really a bicycle shop with a war-time corrugated steel shack out the back, complete with pot-bellied stove, as a workshop.  The bicycles were moved to the first floor as fewer and fewer of them were sold and, as the spares sales increased, the spares department took over every nook and cranny.  It became apparent that we needed more space and, conveniently the shoe shop next door, came up for sale.  This required a lot of modifying, especially in the basement which had a spring under it.  Still sales boomed, so we opened up a daily van delivery over the whole south coast and took on a pair of ‘old boys’ to do the packing … and still the business increased.  I had always tuned RDs at Sondels, so continued the service at Brockliss.  We modified literally thousands of bikes!  I had three people working full time cutting cylinders and pistons up.  We than built a new workshop out at the back, complete with a rolling road.  And still the business increased.  My wife and I flew to California and signed a deal to import big bore kits, four-into-one exhausts, turbo kits, supercharger kits, you name it; we were years ahead of anyone else!  I also got a direct link to Mikuni Carbs so bought those direct as well.  I can remember the first delivery of 50 Mikuni smoothbores , they were sold out in a week!  From the profits of the parts department, we bought Raceways on Evelyn Street, and Clares of woolwich.  The boss had bought 20-odd acres of prime real estate near Sevenoaks; things were going swimmingly.  However, despite all that I had done for the business, the boss would not offer me a directorship, which left a taste in ones mouth.  We then bought the old bus garage in Tunbridge Wells but, although the price was right, the turnover wasn’t there; it was too big.  At this time the boss would come in maybe one day a week, everything was arranged between the various departments and the accountant, which suited everyone fine.  Everything worked smoothly except when he was around, so we all tried to convince him to get TW off the floor.  So, in 6 short years, Brockliss had gone from a company selling £600 worth of parts a week to a company with a serious turnover.  Yes a lot of it was supported by the bank, but that’s what they were there for.

And then, one day, when my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child, the boss made one of his visits.  It ended up with me telling him literally to shove my job where the sun didn’t shine; I handed in my notice and washed my hands of the affair.  I Passed on the two-stroke tuning and tooling to a nice builder called Stan Stephens, and started job hunting.

At this time, I used to have the odd drink next door in the working men’s club with our bank manager, something the boss never did; he had not been told I was leaving—the boss was summoned to the bank.  This was the start of the end for Brockliss.  I started a new part of my life selling Jaguar car parts around the world (the bike game was always poorly paid in comparison to the car boys), got my flying licence, bought an aeroplane, and then started my own business with my wife.

Nigel Porter

Bungay Motors

Bungay Motors in 1967

This picture, taken in 1967, shows George Smith of Bungay Motors in the door of his shop at 32–34 Earsham Street, Bungay, Suffolk.  Mr Smith had just taken over the permises, which had already been a cycle & motor cycle business for 60 years, owned by R Charlish Ltd.  George Smith sold Lambretta, Suzuki, Mobylette, and Motobi machines while, on the pedal cycle side of his business, he stocked the Raleigh range in addition to the local make, Rival, from Johnson, Burton, & Theobald.  Today, the premises are occupied by New Beginnings florists.  However, the original owner, R Charlish Ltd, is still trading in Bungay as a garage.

New Beginnings florists in 2014

Cheyne of Aberdeen

Cheyne Cycles in 1967

Cheyne (Cycles) Ltd was at 147 Holburn Street, Aberdeen and this picture was taken in 1966.  Fast-forward 59 years to April 2015 and 147 Holburn Street is occupied by a dentist … except … it’s not the same building!  The premises in the 1966 picture is now a tanning salon with an address of 133 Holburn Street.  We can tell that this is the right building because of the ‘Hollybank Place’ street sign on the wall.  147, on the other hand, is a block further along, on the corner of Howbank Place and Holburn Street.

133 Holburn Street in 2014

Ed Fowler tells us:

It seems that Cheyne had three shops (perhaps Bicycles, Scooters & Motor Bikes?)  The shop at 147–149 Holburn Street and Willowbank Road corner is illustrated below.

Cheyne Cycles in 1960

The three shops seems to explain the mystery: our original picture shows another of Cheyne’s shops.  However, the picture Ed has sent isn’t at 147–149 Holburn Street either—it’s at 117–121!  Cheyne’s shop now houses ‘Decidely Dogs’.

121 Holburn Street in 2019

Cliftonville Cycle & Moped Shop, Margate

Cliftonville Cycle & Moped Shop in 1969

Cliftonville Cycle & Moped Shop was at 252 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, Margate.  This picture dates from 1969.  In the 1970s, the business had moved away from pedal cycles towards full-size motor cycles, and was called Jack Dodwell’s.  It remained a motor cycle shop well into the 21st century, becoming a branch of Kent Motorcycles Ltd.

However, by 2018, the shop had become the ‘R & Z’ supermarket with nextdoor (No 250) being the ‘R & Z’ café-bar; Number 254 has been demolished.

252 Northdown Road in 2019

H O Cox of Ipswich

H O Cox’s shop in 1962

A delivery of 50 Raleigh mopeds was being made when this picture was taken in 1962.  As well as selling direct to the public, H O Cox would also supply the machines to smaller retailers in the town.  David Denny, Raleigh’s Sales Manager (and who supplied several of the period pictures on this page), is among those in the picture, as is Mr H O Cox himself.  The picture’s not too clear and it’s difficult to indentify who’s who.  However, judging by height, David is on the extreme left.

In 2013, the scene hasn’t changed much.  The buildings have had a lick of paint, the trolleybus wires have gone and the Thames Trader has been replaced by a 4×4.  Cox’s showroom has becone a Coffee Lounge but Cox Motorcycles is still trading on the site as the sign on the end wall shows.

H O Cox’s shop in 2008

Crosland of Nottingham

Croslands in 1956

This picture of Dan Crosland’s shop in Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham was taken in 1956, after a fire in the shop.

The fire started in the afternoon of April 26 when the shop was shut for half-day closing.  Outside are bikes that have been dragged from the burning shop.  Nearest the camera, a Mercury scooter lies on its side.  Several Power Paks can be seen in the stack of bicycles.

The area looks rather run down fifty years later (second picture) and Crosland’s bike shop has gone.  (There is, however, still a shop selling bridal gowns, though it’s moved a couple of doors down the street.)

Croslands in 2008

Davey Brothers of Ipswich

Davey Brothers in 1964

Davey Brothers’ Shop in Alan Road, Ipswich.  The picture was taken in 1964 after a delivery of new Honda bikes.

Fifty years later and not a lot appears to have changed; it’s still Davey Brothers and they are still trading.  The shop window has gone though … because what you can't see from this angle are the changes ‘round the back’.  Go down the access road at the side of their old shop and there’s a newer, much bigger, showroom.

Davey Brothers in 2014

Harry Fairbairn of Irvine

Harry Fairbairn’s in 1965

Harry Fairbairn started as a small cycle shop in Irvine, Ayrshire, and expanded … and expanded … and is now a major BMW car dealership.  Our picture shows a delivery of Raleigh Ultramatics in May 1965.  As the business grew, more premises were added; we think the picture is of a shop in Fullarton Street.

As for now, Harry Fairbairn’s showrooms are further out of town, but we have no ‘now’ picture of the old shop.  All we know is that it’s not there any more: the entire area was flattened and redeveloped.

Ferry Motors of Harwich

Ferry Motors in 1966

Ferry Motors at 66 West Street, Harwich.  When this picture was taken in 1966, the business had been running for two years.

And, after fifty years, it’s stil there.  It’s had a few coats of paint over the years but, apart from that, externally it’s just the same.

Ferry Motors in 2014

A Gatto of London SW18

A Gatto’s shop in 1959

In 1959, A Gatto claimed to have the largest selection of Scooters and Mopeds in London.  In 2012, not only is the shop still standing, but it is still trading as A Gatto, but now dealing in tools rather than mopeds.

A Gatto’s shop in 2012



Gray’s was a big retailer with several shops around Birmingham and the West Midlands … but which branch is this?

W C Green of Sudbury

W C Green’s, about 1960

W C Green’s was at 98 North Street, Sudbury.  Several letters have fallen off the windows on the right; they should say ‘Agents for The Famous James Cycles & Motor Cycles’.  On the far left, the rear end of a 1954 Cyclemaster is just visible.  The moped on the right is a Hercules Corvette.

In 2009, although the structure of the shop is still there, the doors, windows, and frontage have changed enough to make it doubtful if this really is the same place.  However, the edge of the White Horse on the left of the pictures shows that this is the same place.

W C Green’s shop in 2009

F Harris & Co

F Harris & Co in 1928

We’re not sure where this one is—though we’ve narrowed it down to Hampshire and are wondering if it’s in Liphook.  There aren’t any of our sort of machines in the picture, but it was taken at the end od the 1920s, which is too late for the post-WW1 cyclemotors and too early for the start of autocycles.  The rightmost machine, a BSA B28, maybe the smallest there.  F Harris & Co seem to be agents for everything they could get so, were the picture taken a few years earlier or later, there would have been something there … whereever that is.

Jacobi of Ipswich

A Jacobi in 1961
Jacobi's in 1965

Mr A Jacobi is pictured moving a new deliver of Mobylettes into his shop in 1961.  In 1965 Alexander Jacobi bought the entire Mobylette stand from the Brighton Show; he and his son, Francis, are pictured with the Mobylettes from the show.  The shop was at 74–76 Norwich Road, Ipswich.

By 2012, the shop is completely gone.  Although all the other shops in the row are still standing, the one that used to be occupied by Jacobi’s has been demolished.

Site of Jacobis in 2012

Kenistons of Romford

Kenistons in 1962

The picture (right) shows Kenistons of 5–6 Station Chambers, Victoria Road, Romford in July 1962 having just received a delivery of Raleigh RM4 Automatic mopeds.

This picture was taken by David Denny, sales manager at Raleigh.  Kenistons remainind in business into the 21st Century but, by 2007 when the second picture was taken, the premises were occupied by an estate agency.

Kenistons in 2007

Ladeveze of Paris

Ladeveze in 1966

Ladeveze in the avenue de Clichy, in Paris’s 17th arrondisement out near the Porte de Clichy, claimed to have the biggest motor cycle showroom in France with over 1,000 mopeds, motor cycles, scooters, three-wheelers and sidecars on display.  This picture comes from a 1967 advertisement, though the photo was taken at least a year before that.  On the left, lined up down the avenue de Clichy are mopeds and vélomoteurs with larger motor cycles and a lone scooter on the right in the rue Berzélius

In 2014 the building is unsurprisingly little changed (this is Paris, after all) but the motor cycles have gone to be replaced by a Chinese restaurant: the Cascade de Chine.

Ladeveze in 2014

Manning’s of Stowmarket

Manning’s of Stowmarket in 1977

Manning’s of Stowmarket in 1977
The shop in 2021

Our pictures show Manning’s in Bury Street, Stowmarket in January 1977.  In the same family for three generations, Manning’s was founded in the 1880s as a hardward store but moved to specialising in cycles and gramophones.  Kenneth Manning, grandson of the founder, took over the business in 1953 and began selling mopeds as well as cycles.  A Mobylette can be seen in the window in our photos, which were taken in January 1977.  The business closed when Kenneth and Millie Manning retired on 3 August 1985.

Kenneth and Millie Manning on their last day in the shop

In 2021, the shop is largly unaltered but now sells fabric and upholstery.

The shop in 2021

Miles (Hull) Ltd

Miles (Hull) Ltd in 1965

Boulevard Terrace on Hull’s Anlaby Road filled the gap between the Boulevard and the railway line; the buildings were damaged during World War Two but part remained as the premises of Miles (Hull) Ltd, motor cycle dealers.  The picture shows a new extension to the showroom, opened in 1965.  The Miles family occupied this site from the 1930s until 1980.

The site of Miles (Hull) Ltd

No trace of the shop remains.

Myers & Marshall

Myers & Marshall in the 1970s

Myers & Marshall were at 151 Spring Bank in Hull.  The picture shows the shop in the 1970s.

The site of Myers & Marshall in 2018

The second picture shows the shop in 2018: it's a café and takeaway now.  However, the ‘Myers & Marshall’ name lives on as Hull Auto Club holds the Myers & Marshall Trophy Trial every October.

Osborne of Colchester

Osbornes in 1964

Another picture from David Denny, this one shows D Osborne’s shop at 53 North Station Road, Colchester in May 1964.  Again, the picture was taken at the time of a delivery though, this time, the bikes are Hondas.

By 2013 the scene has changed and Osbourne’s shop has become a Pizza take-away, the old Service Café is now the Ocean Supermarket and Ind Coope’s Railway Tavern has been converted to shops and flats.

Osbornes in 2013

H V Powell of Birmingham

H V Powells in 1962

H V Powell’s cycle shop was at 96 Birchfield Road, Birmingham 19.  Mr Powell built his own mopeds, called the Joybike.  Joybikes were available in 75cc and 50cc versions.  A Joybike can be seen in the right-hand window in the picture.

The shop has gone now.  Birchfield Road is about three times wider than it was in the 1960s and all the even-numbered premises were swept away by the road widening.  As far as we can tell, the shop used to be where the car is in the present day photo.

Our third picture dates from 1960 and shows Mr Powell himself (on the left) outside the shop along with one of his Joybikes.

The site of H V Powells shop

H V Powell in 1960

Mal Rees

Mal Rees’s shop in 1952

Maldwyn ‘Mal’ Rees founded Mal Rees Cycles at 83 Coldharbour Lane, Hayes in 1946.  Our picture dates from 1952 when Ken Lingard was manager; Ken is the man in the white coat in the photo.  As well as his own cycles, Mal Rees was an agent for Phillips.  On the right of the picture there are three Cyclemasters in the special Phillips cyclemotor bicycle.

Mal regularly advertised in the cycling press and his adverts were drawn by Johnny Helms.

Mal sold the business in 1967 and the new owners moved the shop up the road: from No.83 to No.13.  The orignal shop is now a nail bar.

The site of Mal Rees’s shop

H V Powell in 1960

Revett’s of Norwich Road, Ipswich

Revett’s on Norwich Road in 1962

Revett’s of Stowmarket in 1955

Geoff Revett in 1964

Val Revett opened a cycle shop in Berners Street, Ipswich in 1907.  In 1935 the business expanded in to the motor cycle market when it acquired Marrow and Angel in St Margaret’s Green, Ipswich.  The business did so well that it was able to acquire a site to build a new motor cycle showroom.  This was at 53–67 Norwich Road and opened in August 1962.

The end of Revett’s in Norwich Road

After it closed, various shops occupied the premises but the building has now been completely refurbished to provide several shop units and flats.

The Revetts building in 2022

Revett’s of Stowmarket

Revett’s of Stowmarket

Revett’s of Stowmarket in 1955

Revett’s of Stowmarket in 1955

Revett’s of Stowmarket in 1955

Revett’s Ltd had shops in Ipswich and Stowmarket; the Stowmarket branch in Ipswich Street was opened in 1955.  The black & white picture were taken when the shop opened.  One shows one of the shop’s five employees at work in the workshop.  Geoffrey Revett is pictures outside the shop along with George Savage, Home Sales Manager for BSA Motor Cycles.  In 1967, a separate company—Revetts (Stowmarket) Ltd—was formed to run the shop.

Revett’s of Stowmarket

When Revetts ceased trading, the shop was taken on by some of Revetts’ staff and renamed Motorcycle Technics.  Motorcycle Technics moved out of town to Tot Hill, where they still trade as MotoTekniks.  Revetts’ old shop became a Chinese restaurant.

Schwieso Brothers of Dartford

Schwieso Brothers

Schwieso Brothers are probably most famous for employing Colin Seeley; the picture shows the shop in the early 1960s, judging from the Triumph Tina outside.

Schwieso liquidation Schwieso Brothers went into liquidation at the end of 1973, when their address was given as 177  Lowfield Road, Dartford, matching the 177 painted on the shop sign.  That should make the site easy to find … except there isn’t a Lowfield Road in Dartford—however, there is a Lowfield Street.  The buildings aren’t there anymore.

The site of Schwieso Brothers

Tinkler & Co of Norwich

Tinklers in 1964

Tinkler & Co had their shop at 6670 Dereham Road, Norwich.  The photo shows a display of brand-new Raleigh RM6 Runabouts on the forecourt.  Other period features are the hoardings in Douro Place advertising Players cigarettes (that wouldn’t be allowed today) and Bullards & Tolly beers (Bullards were brewed in Norwich, Tolly in Ipswich, neither is still in business).  The other poster is for Hovis bread—although Hovis is still with us, they no longer give a ‘serving suggestion’ of frying a slice with bacon.

When David Denny took this picture, he would have been standing outside The Eldorado Coffee Bar on the other side of the road.  David took a close-up (bottom picture) of Tinkler’s window display showing another RM6 with legshields fitted, and an RM8 Automatic Mark II.

By 2008, Tinkler’s shop had become a Blockbuster, a tree has grown large enough to obscure the church tower that can be seen in the 1960s’ picture, but there are still advertising hoardings on the corner

Tinklers in 2008

Tinklers window in 1964

G Turner of Alresford

Turner’s in 1938

This is a quite well-known photo of G Turner’s Cycle shop at 13 West Street, Alresford, taken in 1938.  The occasion was a visit by Billie Dovey, the ‘Keep Fit Girl’ of the 1930s.  Throughout 1938, Billie Dovey rode every single day of the year setting a record annual mileage of 29,603.7 miles.  Now take a look at the right-hand side of the photo and you’ll see where our interest lies: a Model C Cyc-Auto leaning against the shop.

Turner’s was in business until the 1960s but nowadays (2014) the shop is occupied by a branch of Heidi’s Swiss Patisserie.

Turner’s in 2012

July 2022

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