Posted: Thursday 11th June 2020
Dave Davey was the manager of the Harringay branch of Claud Butler at 71 Grand Parade in Green Lanes, N. 4. Previous to this he was a shop manager for F W Evans at their Kennington Road branch. The shop was close to the railway bridge at the Manor House end near Haringey Stadium railway station close to the Greyhound track. When Claud Butler went into liquidation in 1956/7 Dave, whose real name was Percy, bought the cycle business from George Brooks that was situated further down Green Lanes at 7 Wordsworth Parade, near Turnpike Lane tube station. George was well known in the area as a lightweight dealer having started the business in the early 1950s but he moved to Bristol to open another shop at Downend.
Dave was to remain in business until 1970 when he retired to live in Goring on Thames. He died in 1985 and his obituary in Cycling of 2 February 1985 read:
“DAVEY, Percy ‘Dave’ on 23 January 1985 at Wallingford hospital after a long illness bravely borne. Loving husband, father, founder member of the Barnet Veterans Cycling Club. Will be missed by all.”
Mick Butler tells us that he recently met an elderly gent in Finsbury Park on a Dave Davey frame. Mick only had a chance to have a quick chat but this is what he said:
“The bike was purchased in 1961 from Dave (Percy) Davey. Davey was a member of the Barnet Vets Cycle Club.
His frames were built by either Les Ephgrave or Bill Grey. Davey later sold the cycle business and went to work in a warehouse where he had a terrible accident. He spent the last years of his life confined to a wheelchair and died on 23rd. January 1985 aged 75 after five years in hospital. He was totally paralysed at the end. His widow was called Florence.”
Dave sold frames under his own name and until recently his frame builder was not known with any certainty. However, a letter by him to a close friend revealed that it was the work of Bill Gray who had been the foreman frame builder at Claud Butler. Bill built under his own name and for George Stratton, and possibly Fred Dean, and was a huge talent.
John Clark remembers his father buying a Claud Butler from Dave in 1968 but by that time there were few bikes on show in the shop.
Wally Green (Harold ‘Pete’ Peters) was also responsible for building Dave Davey frames around 1959 -1960 (see Wally Green webpage).
From Rod Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)- attached as promised are photos of my Dave Davey, showing track and road mode plus a copy of the headbadge that I have now managed to have printed, thanks to you putting me in touch with Steve Griffith.
The renovation and paintwork was done by Dave Yates. The Old English script on the down tube is of the type that Davey used and the head badge has been authentically reproduced, albeit in vinyl as opposed to paper. These were
costly to be done, but the good news I have a good stock of them and I can supply anyone who requires them and if I charge £3 each it will help to recover the outlay (an image of the headbadge is at top of this page).
History of my Dave Davey – purchased second-hand from Dave Davey’s shop in 1964 for £17 10s, originally built in 1960 for Sid Pateman (Whitewebbs C.C.) in 1960 and sold back to Davey when Sid married. Iincidentally Sid tried for some time afterwards to buy it back off me and only a month ago I managed to recontact him to catch up on old times.
I started racing on it on grass track (organised by the late Pete Whelan, well-known North London official of Whitewebbs C.C) and also raced on track and time trials, carrying my race wheels to events on front wheel sprint carriers. As it was my only machine it was used for general riding and training and I once rode it from Swansea to London in 18 hours (through Gloucester as there was no Severn Bridge then). I have retained the Stronglight 5-pin steel cranks with a T.A ring, Unica saddle with a 2-bolt Campagnolo seatpin. The Cinelli bars and stem are of the later allen key type and the h.p. wheels are modern as I was unable to obtain Campagnolo or Airlite hubs from that era.
Martin Walton bought the complete bike (shown below) from Dave Davey in 1967 for £ 40. The frame number on the underside of the bottom bracket shell looks like 191. It was second-hand but as good as new. His interest in cycling had been renewed by watching the Finsbury Park CC circuit races nearby – Phil Liggett’s old club. Martin also recalls a member called Allan Dunn who was Dusty Springfield’s manager at the time.
He joined the club and began riding the time-trials on the North Road. The following season he rode in the West Suffolk Open 12 hour and lifted the Finsbury Park CC 12-hour Cup. Also around this time the Dave Davey was taken on holiday to Switzerland and ridden over some of the major climbs of the region.
About once a month he used it to cover the 130 miles from his home in London to visit his parents in Ludham, Norfolk, where he now lives. Some of the equipment is original, including the Stronglight chainset, Mafac brakes and GB stem. The black paintwork with gold panelling set off with gold and white lining is rather regal, especially the fancy bit of lining on the full wrap-round at the seat cluster
I bought my Davey in March 1962. I’d had a few seasons racing on a second-hand Bates track bike and had ridden my first national championship in 1961, the 25-mile which Woodburn won on gears. I remember coming home and saying that the future is on gears. I went to Dave Davey and had a road frame made in exactly the same size and angles as the track frame. What an investment that bike has been! Raced, toured, carried my sons (one at a time), rode 26 miles to work, its done it all.
The bike has always been comfortable, never had a position problem and we raced time trials at every distance from 10-miles to 24-hours. It was not without success in that I managed a 3rd in the National 50-mile Championship in 1963, was part of the BBAR team winners in 1964 and my proudest, a 6th place in the BBAR in 1965. Dave always said it was 90% rider and 10% bike but I am not so sure, the bike was always so responsive, and still is.
About 25 years ago I injured my back on my motor bike and had to give up cycling. But five years ago I took my bike off the garage wall, stripped it down, cleaned it and put it back togather. I went for my first ride on 18 July 2004 and the years disappeared. It was wonderful! I knew once I was back on the bike I would be hooked again. Three years ago saw us ride Lands End to John O’Groats and hopefully this year will see the reverse trip
This is a of picture of “Jim”, a bike with an significant history. I have gradually had to replace some of the kit with modern stuff as I have found it increasingly difficult to buy replacement originals. In the image my bike is built up with the following:
Frame – Reynolds 531 throughout with Nervex Professional lugs. I beleive it was one of the first Davey’s to have wrap round seatstays and also an allen-key fitting for the saddle stem.
Wheels – Campag Records hubs on Weinmann rims.
Gear – Campag Record
Brakes – Mafac Racers
Chainset – Stonglight D cranks with TA rings .
Saddle – Leather covered Unica
Cinneli stem with Giro D’Italia Bars
Pedals – Chater Lea Pedals with Christophe toe clips.
Pat continues, it was very sad the way Dave ended his days. He was always very good to us lads and supported my club, the Sans Souci CC, in many ways not the least in sponsoring our 50th aniversay 50-mile Time Trial. On a Saturday his shop was always full with club riders drinking tea from his famous brown (stained) mugs. In the early days he would come out to events on his motor cycle combo with Florence in the sidecar. I can see him now wrapped up in multiple covers making him look very portly.They were excellent times and Dave and Mrs D, as she was known, played a large part in helping us lads on the way in our cycling lives. Plenty of North London clubfolk will remember him with affection.