>
Classic Lightweights UK
        Classic Builders
 

A F Mills (Welling) Ltd 

Author Bryan Clarke

A.F. Mills  of 108 High Street Welling, Kent first appear in small advertisments in ‘Cycling’ in the 1940s but probably did not have frames made under their own name until the early 1950s.

A chance meeting Keith Perry (Catford CC)  at Vaz Finishes a few years ago revealed that his late brother was influential in the design of the head badge which borrowed heavily from the image of a rider in crash helmet used by Urago.

Apparently Mills got together with other bike shops including Rory O’Brien to engage a frame builder which was believed to be Jim Collier who had previously worked at Gillott. I think that Mills had strong links with the old established Woolwich CC. A note made by an E Bay seller stated that the firm was managed by Sid Batham in the 1950s and 60s. Adverts in editions of the 1965 Sporting Cyclist show them as agents for both Claud Butler and Falcon cycles but do not appear in similar manufacturers sales campaigns a year later.

The premises are now occupied by the Worth Bakery.
mills-clarke-builders1

I am sure there are those who know much more about this bike shop and hopefully will contact the website accordingly.

The first response is from Bob Evans - January 2014:

I happened on your website today and out of curiosity clicked on the above bike shop/builder. My interest stems from the fact that I worked at Mills as a 'Saturday Boy" during the early 1960s. The shop was owned by Sid Batham and the frames, of which I had one, were built by Rory O'Brien. I was in the Woolwich CC and many of the club riders had Mills frames, including John Clary (who rode and finished the Tour) and local stars such as Mick Ballard, time triallist, and John 'Twiggy' Branch who rode for Britain in the Tour of Britain. Sid supported the weekly criteriums at Brands Hatch through prizes and acting as commisaire, and he also gave generously of his time, and bike equipment, to support local riders. Sid died around 1967 and I guess that the shop closed at that time.


mills-clarke-builders2

1956 A F Mills track machine as featured in Readers' Bikes