Classic Lightweights UK
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C Bertrand & Co. - a Finchley Marque

Author Steve Griffith

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 lightweight 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 frame builders HR Morris worked there starting in 1929 before moving to Bates Bros in 1938. According to Morris the framebuilder during this time was George Dean.

According to a 1929 CTC Gazette  advertisement they has been  trading since 1900 and  at that time had  three shops in North Finchley N12 (trivia postcode note, the London postcodes eg N , NW, E SE etc  are alphabetical in numerical order ie N2 is 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 moved 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 Brampton fittings was the S7 at £7 (prices as of 1931). Late 30’s 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.


bertrand-builders-3 bertrand-builders-4
Lugwork on Steve's Bertrand

My thanks to Ian Gow, Bryan Clarke  for invaluable information
and to Peter Jourdain for the images of the silver Bertrand (trike) above.