…..welcome to this website dedicated to 50 years of bike building by Henry and Frank Carpenter. If you have anything to add, just get in touch!
Special Notices: The next Carpenter marque ride will be on Sunday August 13, 2017, starting from Shepperton. Contact email@example.com Other makes more than welcome.
When Henry Carpenter was born ‘Ordinary’ (‘Penny-Farthing’) bicycles were playthings of the rich, the Ferraris of their day. As a child Henry saw them swept aside by the diamond-framed, steel-tubed, ‘Safety’ cycles we recognise today. These affordable bikes greatly expanded the horizons of their owners, triggering a social revolution. Tens of thousands of spectators packed new velodromes. Britain led the world in an explosive growth of cycle making; small artisan builders flourished, custom building bespoke lightweight race bikes. One of the most respected marques was that of Henry Carpenter.
Fast forward 100 years….
In his retirement Henry’s son Frank might well have watched Chris Boardman’s game-changing Olympic win on TV. The arrival of composite carbon fibre wheels, frames and components sealed the fate of the steel framed racing bike; its long reign was over. All was set for a resurgence of interest, but not one that could support the army of craftsmen that had built them.
Henry and Frank Carpenter, father and son, were not simply bystanders through this era, they were specialists, master craftsmen of lightweight cycles. From the early ’20s until the late 1960s they hand-built over 5000 racing cycles, the choice of many leading riders and champions of their day. They established an envied reputation for meticulous workmanship.
This site draws together information about the business, the bikes and their riders, setting them in the context of their time. The ‘Carpenter’ story illustrates the steady development of race bikes in Britain. Their business spanned a whole chapter of technological, manufacturing and social development.
Any text that is in red is hyperlinked to further information or pictures, elsewhere in the site or on other websites. Click for more! (Then delete the new tab to return to where you were). If you would like to add more information, or comment on what you see, feel free to contact us on petersbed (at) aol.com
- 03/07/2017 A section on Clubs has been started. Contributions welcome!
- 12/06/2017 Rod Boot’s Olympic Pursuit #5035 added.
- 22/05/2017 Details of Colin Cape “Carpenter Olympic” #CC7274 added (also for sale)
- 08/05/2017 Photo of #41xx , for sale on eBay
- 25/04/2017 Photo of #4146 and links to a YouTube clips of #3115 and Saxon-Bailey #88137 at Herne Hill
- 07/02/2107 #3138 added to readers bikes, renovation docs here.
- 02/02/2017 Youtube video added to Cronosquadra Versilia TTT event report
- 02/02/2017 #4374 added to bikes seen on the Internet (with receipt)
- 29/01/2017 #5085 added, owned by wife of “WyvernRH” in NSW, Aus.
- 12/01/2017 Wheelbuilding price list 1963 added to Docs
- Receipt for #5457 added to Docs
- 18/12/2016 – #4933 added to bikes seen on the internet.
- 26/11/2016 – Patricia Killiard’s Olympic Massed Start #5435 added.
- 17/11/2016 – Details of Carpenter Marque ride, 13-8-2017
- 07/11/16 – #5540 listed on eBay
- 07/11/16 – #3021 listed on eBay
- 13/10/16 – #5241 listed on eBay
- 02/9/16 – John Goddard’s 1951 SA Speed Ace #4571 added
- 02/9/16 – Report on Inaugural Carpenter Marque Ride.
- 02/8/16 – Info on #5189 added to bikes listed on eBay
- 17/7/16 – Sharron von Tutschek’s 1951 Ladies Lightweight Tourer #4614
- 10/7/16 – Steve Harding’s frame #3388 with original finish/decals added.
- 12/6/16 – Info on #5169 added to bikes listed on eBay, a receipt added to Docs
- Terry Harradine for encouraging me to restore my loved but tatty old Jensen;
- John, my brother, for saying “Nice! I still have dad’s old Carpenter. Let’s fix it up”
- Peter Underwood for his inspirational Classiclightweights site, our main source;
- John Gill, V-CC Carpenter ‘ME’ , for his hugely informative piece on Peter’s site.
- Janet Bedingfield for her research into the lives of Henry & Frank Carpenter;
- Everyone who said “Carpenter? I’ve one in my shed. Too good to scrap. Have it.”
- Sonia, whose car now has to live on our drive.
- Garry and Mark Needham (& Martin!) for their expertise at Argos Racing Cycles;
- Nick Tithecott at H Lloyd Cycles for turning scraps & doodles into works of art;
- Mick Madgett for magicking true wheels from salvaged bits. Canes on Lee Valley!!
- Vince Warner for giving me the confidence to delve into epicyclic hubs;
- Everyone at East Grinstead CC for putting up with an anorak in their midst;
- Giancarlo Brocci. A true hero, a legend. Say no more.
- Joe Bedingfield for helping set up this website.