Posted: Wednesday 03rd June 2020
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 had a 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 utility company to help in the sale of the bikes. He named the firm after his three children Od-le-ba. 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).
The company was dissolved in 1966 but my brother and my son are both keen cyclists.
I recently bought a 1936 Sun CTC model. On the seat tube is a very indistinct label which, with help of your page about Tom Maysh, states: Supplied by / ?? Maysh / Bowes Road / Palmers Green / Bowes Park / 1937. I remember from a family telephone number the last line must be just that: Bowes Park 1937.
This adds a bit to your page in that Maysh must have been an agent for Sun before the war, whereas his daughter, whom you quote, says he started after the war. Perhaps Tom senior traded in bikes as well as cars unbeknown to his grand daughter although she does mention roller racing on the premises pre-war.
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, but of course it was in the evening when I went. The scoreboards, 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 those days.
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.
Looking through a page about Tom Maysh I found amongst the pictures of 77, Bowes Road the one above then headed ‘Woman roller racing 1938’ (as it was before we received this 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.