Monday, June 8, 2015

Pages iv - v: Brooks and James

Just sit down and look at these two adverts ...
and compare the fortunes of the two companies.

Brooks hardly needs an introduction. The business is still thriving, its high-quality saddles a worldwide success. Like its logo, the product has changed slightly, but it recognisably the same. Whereas its Birmingham neighbour the James Cycle Company, according to its minimal Wikipedia entry, "in 1966 ... became another British motorcycle industry casualty under the onslaught of Japanese imports".Which is a pity, artistically: their advert is far more striking than the rather cliched villagescape (including CTC flag!) used by Brooks.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pages ii - iii: Ferodo and Grose

Ferodo is still in business, although it's now owned by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, and is presumably no longer based in Chapel-en-le-Frith. It seems to sell only vehicle brakes these days.

James Grose returned to business after the war, as is evident from this advert from 1951 (taken from the Emancipation: Bicycling for Ladies site, which is well worth a look) but is long gone now.

Wartime Cycling Book of Maintenance

This book has no publication date shown, but it clearly comes from the later stages of the Second World War, when victory was considered to be just a matter of time. This front cover superbly represents that sense of hope and deliverance, with a huge sun shining over the peaceful, typically English countryside, and perhaps the book itself would not have been published if there had not been such confidence.
Inside the book, the most interesting pages are the advertisements. You can see the effects of wartime shortages, but also the survival of a cycle-building industry that has now virtually disappeared. I'll post selected images over the next few weeks.