FW: Memories on a Monday: Pedal Power in Haringey (part 2) - sharing our heritage from Bruce Castle Museum & Archive

Joyce Rosser



From: Hedgecock Deborah On Behalf Of Museum Services
Sent: 15 June 2020 19:42
To: Museum Services <Museum.Services@...>
Subject: Memories on a Monday: Pedal Power in Haringey (part 2) - sharing our heritage from Bruce Castle Museum & Archive


Welcome to Memories on a Monday: Pedal Power in Haringey (part 2) - sharing our heritage from Bruce Castle Museum & Archive.


Many of us have been getting on our bikes for exercise and using them in avoiding public transport. Some may be seasoned cyclists, whilst others are just getting back on the saddle and giving cycling a go after a long time. So, as we get more into the cycling habit, today’s post returns to Pedal Power in Haringey Part 2, where we look at the borough’s extraordinary cycling connections and heritage – and includes a couple of short films too.


Did you know, there was a Victorian cycling champion from Tottenham? There have in fact been a number of Victorian and Edwardian cycling sportsmen in Haringey. These include members of the Finsbury Park Cycling Group (we will hear more about that group in a later post) and, from Tottenham, the Victorian amateur cycling champion, James Linzell (1831 – 1922).


James is known to have been the builder of the new Red Lion pub, which was rebuilt in 1869 to make way for the building of Lansdowne Road. This distinctive building, although no longer a pub, still survives today on the corner where it meets Tottenham High Road. James lived not far from the Red Lion, at 1 Lincoln Cottages, Lordship Lane (near to the High Road), with his wife Mary and eight children. In his building business, he employed 12 men. By 1881 the family had moved nearer to Tottenham Green, and lived at 8 Talbot Road, Tottenham until his death in 1922.

Postcard produced by Fred Fisk showing the old and new Red Lion pub, c.1890-1900

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

Sounds like a busy man, but in his spare time James won many cups for his cycling achievements – but all of this was on a penny farthing! (We actually have his penny farthing at the Museum. It causes quite a stir of interest when it comes out on display for exhibitions and educational workshops.) In 1878, at the age of 46, James rode his penny farthing in a long-distance race from Tottenham to Exeter.



From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

This splendid shop window display in the photograph above shows the cycle manufacturer George Matthews (1867 - 1932) standing outside his cycle manufacturing business. Matthews Brothers was a bicycle and sport accessories shop at 96 West Green Road, Tottenham, in c.1906. A local advert for Matthews said:

‘For ease, comfort and durability, ride Goodwin’s Cycles. Nothing better made. A marvel of cheapness, made only by Matthews Bros., at their steam works.’

Manufacturing all the Goodwin cycles on site, the firm also operated in Forest Gate. From 1909 they supplied rollerskates in response to the new ‘rinking’ or roller-skating craze. The Canadian Rink opened on Tottenham High Road  February 1910. At 6d. a session, this was beyond the reach of most children, who opted for skating on the streets.

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

Thomas W. Suter (1878 - 1949) ran a contemporary cycle business to Matthews Brothers, based in Bruce Grove. In 1911 the Census records him and his family at 103 Bruce Grove but at that time he was a postman. By 1916, the advert above shows he had changed career, and was now a cycle and motor engineer, including their own line in scooters.

From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

In 1926 Thomas was listed in the Middlesex Directory at both the Bruce Grove address and also 686 Tottenham High Road, where the business was described as the ‘Hotspur Garage’ (very good advertising!). By 1939, it would seem the Suter family and their business had moved altogether to number 686. Thomas died ten years later in May 1949, leaving his estate of £2,298 to his widow Elizabeth and son Stanley Thomas Suter. It would seem that the cycling business was very much a family concern as Stanley was also described as a cycle dealer. The photograph above, taken in c.1986, shows that Stanley continued the business on the High Road. It even has Thomas’ name still on the shop (at the time of the photograph, it looks empty). Does anyone have any memories of buying a bike or accessories from this shop?


The 1926 Middlesex Directory (above) lists 16 cycle makers and dealers in Tottenham, including the two firms we have already mentioned in this post - but strangely not Hetchins that we featured in our previous post. From 1922, we also know that Hetchins was at 780 Seven Sisters Road from 1922 (and later at number 782). The business does appear in other local directories, although not in this one here. Maybe not a complete list, but certainly shows there were a lot of cycle specialists to choose from in one area!


From the collections and © Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service)

These young cyclists in the photograph above are cycling across Green Lanes in Harringay. Maybe they have just visited the Harringay branch of another cycling great – Claud Butler at 71 Grand Parade in Green Lanes, one of five branches in London? That name can be counted amongst the best racing bikes made in this country, operating its shops from the 1920s and 30s until 1956/7 (the brand is still around today). There are a lot of memories shared (on different threads) on the Harringay Online website about this bicycle brand and shop. You can see a picture of the shop here, and more biking history here and further memories and details about the manager of the Claud Butler shop, Dave Davey.


You can also enjoy this delightful short film from the BFI ‘Tony buys a bike, made in 1942 and featuring the Harringay branch of Claud Butler.


There is another great little film on the BFI website that features road safety and cycling proficiency lessons in 1950 – Safe or Sorry. It was produced by the BBC film unit working with two London councils, one of which was Tottenham Borough Council. Towards the end of the film you can see a young boy cycling in Chesnut Road, N17 where the road meets the High Road, by the police station. He is urged to get his bike repaired and goes into a bike shop – does anyone know which shop this is? Do let us know!


Finally, you may recall our last Pedal Power post, where we featured Pat Hanlon who, unusual for the cycling world, ran her own bike shop in Tottenham and was rated Britain’s top wheel builder. We have recently added to the collections a Pat Hanlon cycling ‘bonk bag’ or ‘musette’, all thanks to Richard and Joanna who have very kindly donated it. If, like us, you have never heard of such a thing, then here’s a little insight into cycling vernacular and the meaning: all self-respecting cycling clubs offered members a printed ‘bonk bag’ or ‘musette’ so that riders could show their club fellowship (or loyalty to a bike shop even – great advertising!) while jauntily carrying a few essentials in a lightweight bag.


So, there you go, that’s the answer! Please do get in touch if you think you might have anything else that we can add to our cycling heritage from around the borough - we would love to know more. We will be coming back to the topic of cycling again soon, as there is even more to tell on Pedal Power from other places around the borough. So do look out for that.


Another topic tomorrow,

Take care, keep well

Best wishes from us all at Bruce Castle  



Deborah Hedgecock



Haringey Council

Haringey Archive and Museum Service, Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane, London N17 8NU


T. 020 8808 8772

E. deborah.hedgecock@...






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