C Bertrand & Co. - a Finchley Marque
I was aware of Bertands as they were local to me and had some
years previously seen one of their pre-war tandems. A fellow VCC member
very kindly tipped me off about a bicycle for sale which upon seeing I
just had to have. It was a high quality early 50’s
original with blue paint and had the most lovely head badge
featuring a hand holding a hunting whip (they were near Tally Ho Corner
in North Finchley hence the hunting connection).
I knew that one of London’s most respected
builders HR Morris worked there starting in 1929 before moving to Bates
Bros in 1938. According to Morris the framebuilder during this time was
According to a 1929 CTC Gazette advertisement
been trading since 1900 and at that time
shops in North Finchley N12 (trivia postcode note, the London postcodes
eg N , NW, E SE etc are alphabetical in numerical order ie N2
East Finchley and the highest number N22 is Wood Green). The
earliest reference to them I can find is a 1912 advertisement saying
they had supplied a bike to the Queen of Italy.
The company was started by Charles Bertrand Barmore who ran it from
1900 until his death in 1937. In 1947 it was bought and run by Eddie
Sage (later President of Finchley CTC) and his wife Winifred who ran it
until the mid-50. I am not sure of the exact date but maybe about 56/7.
According to a post on the CTC forum by his daughter by the mid
50’s trading in bicycles was becoming uneconomic and they
into motorcycles and scooters before selling the shops.
They seemed to have made quite a few tandems and the Sololite built by
Eddie Sage was launched in 1949. Their top of the range 30’s
model was the
Electric Hare at £12 and their clubman model built with
fittings was the S7 at £7 (prices as of 1931). Late
model names included Regal and Invincible. In the early 1931 they
marketed their own oil bath bottom bracket about the same time the more
widely known Bayliss Wiley one was introduced.
My thanks to Ian Gow, Bryan
Clarke for invaluable information
and to Peter Jourdain for the images of the silver Bertrand (trike) above.