Time has wheely moved on

With Great Britain still celebrating the success of our Olympic cyclists, here’s a reminder of two local associations with the sport.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 19th August 2012, 4:39 pm

The larger photo shows the workshop behind Church Street of one of Dunstable’s earliest cycling businesses, run by Sam Priest and (later) by John and Tom Powell and Tom’s son Baden.

The bicycles were assembled here and then sold at Mr Priest’s shop at number 13 Church Street, which was on the northern side of the road, quite close to the crossroads, about six doors down from the old Red Lion Hotel.

Customers entered the shop by climbing up three stone steps.

Next door was a baker’s shop owned by Bob Smith whose horse-drawn baker’s cart was a familiar sight in the town.

Mr Smith’s son, Hartley, later opened a radio and electrical shop next door to his dad’s business.

Tom Powell lived in Eaton Bray and gave this photo to the village historian, Peter Mayne. The penny-farthing cycle was a landmark in Dunstable for many years, advertising the cycle shop owned by Charlie Cole. This was in High Street North, where the Nationwide Building Society is today.

Charlie was a famous racing cyclist with Luton Wheelers.

His greatest successes were in the 1930s and 40s, when thousands of spectators cheered him on, and he also won many veterans’ races in later years.

His shop was a fixture in the high street between 1925 and 1985.

A collection of Tudor wall paintings were uncovered when the shop was substantially rebuilt after 1985 and these are now displayed in the Priory House Heritage Centre.

The Friends of Priory House are currently in the process of applying for a lottery grant to pay for conservation work on the paintings.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society