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British Industrial History

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Humber, Marriott and Cooper

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Name plate of Humber, Marriott and Cooper. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book'.

Humber, Marriott and Cooper, cycle makers of Nottingham and Beeston

1877 Fred Cooper, son of a Sheffield hotel proprietor, and a world famous professional racing cyclist, joined Thomas Rushforth Marriott and Thomas Humber in the business of Humber and Marriott; shortly after this, a new works were erected at Beeston, a few miles out of Nottingham. Initially sited just south of Beeston railway station, the company had moved to larger premises in Queens Road by 1882 [1] [2].

1881 Employing 105 men.[3]

1883 Exhibited at the 6th Stanley Show[4].

1885 After protracted litigation, the validity of Hughes' patent (for an adjustable ball-bearing for the front wheel of an "ordinary" bicycle) was upheld by the Court of Appeal in the case of Bown v. Humber, Marriott and Cooper[5].

1885 June. Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership which has for some time past been subsisting between the undersigned, Thomas Humber, Thomas Rushforth Marriott, and Frederick Cooper, under the style or firm of Humber, Marriott, and Cooper, at Beeston, in the county of Nottingham, and elsewhere, in the trade or business of Bicycle and Tricycle Manufacturers and Machinists, has been dissolved, as from the 25th day of February, 1885, by mutual consent. All debts due to or owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Thomas Humber, who will continue the said business...'[6]

Marriott and Cooper parted from Humber to start on their own account, Humber continuing the original business at Beeston, the direct descendants of which was Humber Co., Ltd, of Coventry.

62-inch Humber Ordinary and 26-inch Bourdon. From 'Bartleet's Bicycle Book' No. 14.

No. 14. 62 inch 'Humber' roadster bicycle: date about 1885. [7]

The wording engraved on the spring indicates that this machine was manufactured by the original firm of Humber, Marriott and Cooper of Nottingham, prior to the severance of the association of the three partners and the formation of the separate firm of Marriott and Cooper.

This machine is of unusually large size, having a 62 inch front wheel; it came into my hands with the previous owner's assurance that it had been ridden by a man 6ft. bins. in height. Mr. Fred. Cooper is of the opinion that it may have been originally built for the Hon. Keith Falconer, of the Cambridge University Club, (2 miles N.C.U. champion, 1878 and 50 miles N.C.U. champion 1882), who was a regular customer of the firm, and who rode an extremely tall machine. Note the hub lamp and jingling bell.

Weight 50 lbs. Purchased at Sydenham. This bicycle must have been very well finished; its original green and red lining is still conspicuous. [8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Beeston history [1]
  2. Growth of Industry in Beeston [2]
  3. 1881 Census
  4. The Times, 30 January 1883
  5. Bartleet's Bicycle Book
  6. [3]Gazette Issue 25482 published on the 19 June 1885. Page 21 of 56
  7. Bartleet's Bicycle Book'
  8. Bartleet's Bicycle Book