Classic Lightweights UK
Charles Stevenson - cycle maker - Lewisham, London
Author Bryan Clarke
Chas Stevenson first appears as a cycle agent in London Trade Directories in 1940 with an address at 37 Loampit Vale Lewisham, although the telephone directory shows him at this address in 1939 but it is clear to me that he was a frame builder before this date. There was already a cycle shop at this address under the name of Chas. Ryan that had been in existence since 1929.
The centre of Lewisham had been severely damaged by a rocket attack in 1944 which prevented the start of Britain’s first stage race and it was consequently moved to Farnborough.
Chas Stevenson is recorded as moving to 233 Lewisham High Street in 1945 some distance away from the devastation where he first describes himself as a cycle maker in trade directories. In 1947 he moves to larger premises at 239-241 Lewisham High Street as Chas. Stevenson & Son, Cycle Makers but this is shown as the address as early as 1945 in the BLRC handbook for that year.
By 1949 there was a further shop selling Sports Goods at 235 Lewisham High Street. The additional shop seems have gone by 1955 but they remained at the other address until 1957.
A reference to them in the London Gazette on line archive for 1 February 1957 (page 761) states that Andrew Charles Stevenson of Stevenson & Son had received an order under the bankruptcy Act and so the business must have closed down: another casualty of the cycle trade at this time. It is clear that they never really made their mark in this area of South East London against strong competition, perhaps initially from the likes of Claud Butler, Gillott etc. and latterly from Witcomb and Youngs who seemed to weather the down turn and were in the ascendency by the late 1950s.
Stevenson with extra stays to aid stiffness.
Below: Eckla head lugs and extra chain stay detail
Bryan Clarke, July 2014
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