Peter Underwood with information from Odette Coates
Tom Maysh's shop
selection of machines including a lightweight and a carrier bike.
Tom sold frames
using the name
Girtford, as advertised in the window.
to CTC and NCU'.
In common with
many shops of
this era they sold Aladdin 'Pink' paraffin which would have been used
for lamps and heaters.
Odette writes: I am the daughter of Tom Maysh. My father, Tom, started
selling and making cycles when the Second World War ended. Early on he
built and painted his own frames in the large workshop at the rear of
the shop. Previously his father, Tom Maysh, had used the premises at 77
Bowes Road, Palmers Green, London N.13 as a car repair workshop and
they were both qualified engineers. His father carried on using the
workshop at the rear for car repairs but Tom was much more interested
in bikes. In the 1950's he opened another shop in Southgate High Street
and employed three men there. All the bicycles that he sold
transfer with his name on the frame. He also was the builder of the
Girtford cycle frame. Dad was a keen cyclist and belonged to the
Kingsdale Cycling Club. Probably Dad was a fan of Frederick Thomas
Bidlake, who has a memorial garden at Girtford Bridge. Frederick died
in 1933. Tom had the premises until 1975. By then he had developed
Parkinson's and could no longer use his hands for the precise movements
he needed as an engineer.
After the war when money was tight Dad opened his own
company to help in the sale of the bikes. He named the firm after his
three children Od-le-ba. The company was dissolved in 1966.
My brother and my son are both keen cyclists.
In the late 1940's Tom used to hold competitions in the shop window
with bikes on rollers as his father had done pre-war (see image below).
Phil Easton from California
Thank you for dragging Tom Maysh and his shop back out of the mists of
time for me. This was my local bike shop, and I first went there when I
joined the North London CTC at age 11 in 1947 (my Mother had bought me
a used Excel in the hopes I would pass the dreaded 11+ exam, I didn't,
but got to keep the bike). I remember going over there to watch the
roller racers after one or two of the club meetings.
I don't remember as many people as in the 1949 picture,
course it was in the evening when I went. The score boards, etc. are as
I remember them. Wouldn't want to be an 11 or 12-year old cycling along
Bowes Road these days, I think I was living on a different planet in
Incidentally, this was also Pat Hanlon's address, at the time there was
another bike shop a couple of blocks away, I think it was on the corner
of the road leading up to Bounds Green, and I think it was called
Osborne (Oscrofts says Odette, who passed it on her way to school).
They were agents for Sun Cycles, so that agency must have moved from
Tom as I see an advertisement for Sun Cycles in the prewar picture.
Here you can see a
crowd of excited
cyclists watching roller racing, which was a popular sport at this
The dial connected to the rollers and showing the progress of the
competitors can be seen on the left.
If you look
closely inside the
shop, you will see an advertisement for the film, A Boy,
and a Bike,
which starred Honor Blackman and Diana Dors.
the film was shown at Palmers Green
(I think the Gaumont)
Dors came to the
Dad met her on
the stage to promote the film. Diana was 18 at the time.
excitement although I was very young at the time.
This is an image of the shop taken in 1938 and again a
watches roller racing in the window. Being
father was advertising both cycles and motors with Morris cars sign.
There was a large workshop to the rear of the
allowing room for car repairs.
Detail image of Doris Simmons roller-racing in the shop
Looking through a page
about Tom Maysh I found amongst the pictures of 77, Bowes Road the one
headed 'Woman roller racing 1938' (as it was before we
story Ed.) and I would like to give you the name of that lady
as she was
my mother and a friend of the Maysh family and I still keep in touch
with Odette and Barry. My mother was Doris Simmons (nee Abbey) who
married my father Les Simmons in 1937 until they both died at the end of
2001. Dad was also a member of the Kingsdale Cycling Club and when Mum
and Dad married, at the Bowes Road Methodist Church (now Trinity at
Bowes) they went on a tandem to North Devon for their honeymoon.
I saved and bought one of Tom Maysh cycles in the early
1950's, it was a black one with Tom Maysh, in white writing, which was
one left over from an export order for Canada and after it was written
off in an accident it was replaced by a red one that was sadly lost
after moving house.
Tom Maysh on a penny farthing bike with
brother Barry aged 4 with his bike. Photo taken in 1951.
Kingsdale Cycling Club in 1936. Tom is in back row on