Crystal Palace's Central Cycle and Auto Stores (and the adjacent Tele-Tech) is now 'Blue Door Bicycles' - a friendly community cycle shop. We still sell many of the same things that used to be sold at the old bike shop (sometimes described as a bit quirky!) plus a wide range of products not previously stocked.
We have taken over the premises from Miss Talbot and her brother (Margaret and Geoff). Sadly, both passed away around the turn of the year 2010/2011 and Central Cycles and Auto Stores closed for the last time. This website has been set up by me, David Hibbs, the owner of Blue Door Bicycles, to celebrate the history of the shop and the lives of the former owners.
This website is focused on the legacy of the Talbot family and their hard work at Central Cycle and Auto Stores. I hope you will find it interesting. If you have any queries, or if you have any memories/photographs relating to Central Cycle and Auto Stores please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to everyone who has already told us of their memories of the Talbots - we'd love to hear more from people who knew them in the shop, as keen cyclists in earlier years or as long term caravanners in Whitstable.
I have been passed a photo of Geoff taken in 2008 by Suzanne Jessel, a local teacher, who got to know both Margaret and Geoff and heard first hand their stories of the shop and the cycling culture of the 50s. The picture shows Geoff about two years before he died in the doorway to the shop that had been part of his life for almost 60 years by this date. Geoff was a big man - very tall - and he has been descibed as a gentle giant by those who knew him.
Many people have fond memories of buying their first bike - or their children's first bike - at the shop. Given that Margaret and Geoff were working in the shop from 1949, a child from those early days would now be in their middle/late 60s - not too old to remember the thrill of that new bike (nor too old to buy another one to enjoy in their retirement!).
The site is set out in a number of pages:
- 'history' setting the context for the shop
- 'archive' showing some documents/photos relating to the shop and cycling in the 1950s with a subpages for the Talbot Moped, Talbot Trailer and club cycling in the 1950's - now updated with ads from 'The 'Trader' Handbook' from around 1945
- 'signs of the times' showing some of the signs we have found (and are still finding!)
- 'home made' showing some of the Talbots' less well known handiwork
- 'electricals' shows something of the idiosyncratic wiring and also some interesting electrical equipment we found
- magic lantern showing a few of a large number of magic lantern slides we found in the basement. These probably pre-date even the Talbots.
- 'other things' shows an old car and various machines we also found on site. It now includes updated pictures of the Morris Minor
- Crystal Palace Shops - shopping guide to Crystal Palace when Central Cycle was in its heyday
- befores and afters - shows some before and after pictures of places in the shop.
The shop has been transformed - but if you knew the shop in the past, you will recognise some key features - especially the counter. We had hoped to open in May 2011 - but it was a massive job involving the removal of over 20 tonnes of materials, re-wiring, re-plumbing, new ceilings, new flooring in much of the shop as well as re-decoration. The new shop itself has now been open for about a year and a half - feel free to come in and look around, we think the Talbots would be proud. We are open from 8am in the morning till 7pm in the evening Monday to Friday and 9am till 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays 10am - 5pm. (Restricted hours Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday, 10am - 5pm, and closed Easter Sunday)
We have now started a wheel building business under the name 'Talbot Wheelworks'. This produced high quality wheels - usually built to order though we may have a few sets built to sell without pre-ordering. We now started frame building under the name 'Talbot Frameworks' - expect pictures soon and on the Talbot Frameworks website (under construction). Generally using British Reynolds tubing ours will be a truely British bike frame - designed and built in London.
Keep your eyes open for events we run at the shop and in our community. Our next event is the bike mainenance evening on 23rd May.
We now have a smoothie and coffee bar at the rear of the shop - informal, fun and, like Central Cycle Auto Stores, a little bit 'different'! When we took over the shop, this area, 'Yard 5', had to be shut off as the floors and roof were unsound: it's a bit different now. Call in for a drink between 10.00 - 17.00 on Saturdays and 10.30 - 16.00 Sundays (Yard 5 restricted to weekend opening for the present).
We update this website from time to time and you can also keep up with events and developments by looking at our other websites (www.bluedoorbicycles.com and www.londonelectricbikes.org.uk ) or following Blue Door Bicycles on Facebook or Twitter (@BlueDoorBikes).
7th May 2013