Tuesday, 11 March 2008

#024 Work at the shop

Dad was taken ill in March 1947, he had been in and out of Derby Royal Infirmary, finally being diagnosed as having cancer of the gall bladder, it had progressed too far and was now inoperable. Dad, now too ill to play an active part was missed terribly in the business, he was the driving force – always up-to-date with new ideas. Ernie and I had to get stuck in, I had to learn wheel-building in double quick time as we were getting orders from all over the country for both motorcycle and specialist light weght, we had some very good suppliers, especially Claud Butler and Tabucchi Tyre Co and Dunlop. We paid every supplier in 7 days which gave us privilaged trading and enabled us to purchase short supply items.

My grandad who worked and lived at Main Street shop died in August 1948, and the shop was taken over by my dads brother Uncle Norman, who eventually built frames under his own name. (dads 2 brothers, Norman and Arthur were in charge of the motorcycle engine and frame repair depots at the Chilwell Ordanace Works from 1939 – 1947) Uncle Norman was also a good muscician, able to build organs and occassionally played at the ‘Ritz’ Cinema in Nottingham – now the Odeon. The Main Street shop had been opened by my grandad in 1898, he had been a wheelwright in Little Harowden, near Northampton and had arrived in Long Eaton to work for a bike firm – Wallis & Longden in Cross Street. Unfortunatly this firm went into liquidation and so grandad started up on his own.

We were still going to Birmingham and Coventry for parts, usually on a Friday, my sporting activities having to take a back seat although we still rode in the track league at Nottingham. We had excellent staff in Les Thompson at Tamworth Road and Reubin Hutchins at College Street, in the office we were fortunate to have Syd Huckle who had been a school pal of mine. We had been over-enthusiastic in early 1948 and bought too many cycles, Syd did an advertising campaign and got rid of the lot! Unable to fulfill his ambitions, he eventually went to Cox & Moore as secretary. We did miss him, and in hindsight lost a lot of money doing our own H.P. and without full time qualified office staff.

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