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H M Dickinson - 1951

Posted: Thursday 13th August 2020

Owned By: Jon Derricott

FrameHM Dickinson Frame number 5183 (1951-August number 3); Seat tube 23”, Top tube 22”
Wheels27” Conloy Asp rimsbuilt on Harden large-flange hubs
ChainsetWilliams 48T single chainset
GearsCampagnolo Gran Sport 5-speed
BrakesMafac Dural Forge stirrups and levers
Stem/BarsTitan stem, Strata bars with Campagnolo headset
SaddleBrookes Swallow
Extra DetailsBluemels Club Special mudguards

This is the bike that got me interested in classic 1950’s frames again. My first 1950’s bike was a lovely Sun of indeterminate exact vintage that I bought cheaply, second-hand out of the local paper in 1973 and used to tour Mid-Wales at the age of 14. It was stolen soon after I got back from the tour and I never saw it again but it did ignite twin lasting passions for both cycle touring and anything with brass oilers.

The direct link from that bike to this, is that this one also came from the small ads. A work colleague’s son bought it for £25 to use as a runabout. He quickly realised that it was a bit special, even though it wasn’t looking at it’s best, having been completely modernised around 1980 and now looking quite tired. I was recruited to have a look at it as someone with an interest in bikes (having a garage full of them is something of a giveaway). I passed the enquiry on to my more knowledgeable next-door neighbour, VCC member Jim Leach, who with the help of other VCC members pieced together the fascinating history of Harold Miles Dickinson, a small, almost forgotten Liverpool builder from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.

When Alex, the purchaser went off to University, the bike was offered to me and I jumped at the chance to restore it to somewhere near its’ original glory.

The original paintwork was in fair condition apart from the odd ‘down to the metal’ gouge here and there, so at first, I intended to keep it as it was. Unfortunately when removing the Shimano gears, one of the gear cable bosses on the chain stay just ‘popped’ off. Replacing that, meant a complete repaint became necessary, faithfully replicating the original paintwork.

Jim’s painstaking detective work proved invaluable in sourcing original transfers from Harold’s daughter Valerie, who was thrilled to see someone restoring one of her Dad’s bikes.

Although over 50 years old and quite fragile, the transfers (right) stood up quite well to the restoration process. Collecting the transfers required a trip to Val’s North Wales home and a chance to see the 1955 Dickinson made by her Dad for her 18th Birthday, and still ridden today.

The parts to complete the rebuild were steadily found from the usual sources of bike jumbles and ebay, apart from the stem and bars, which came from my good friend Jim Leach. Everything I’ve used is ‘there or thereabouts’ in terms of being age appropriate, apart from the headset which looks OK, but I don’t know its age. The bottom bracket is suspiciously shiny and was found amongst the clutter in my cellar.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Thursday 13th August 2020

Owned By: Jon Derricott

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