F.H.Grubb - FHG - Freddie Grubb

Thanks to all contributors, especially Dick Brodrick, Peter Duncan, Bill Hurlow, Terry Savage, Nigel Land & Bruce Robbins.
Fred Grubb circa 1910 Frederick Henry Grubb (b 27 May 1887) showed such riding ability that one writer in 1910 wrote "Since August Bank Holiday he has been the most talked-of cyclist in Great Britain...and it is safe to say that no man since Harry Green has shown more brilliant promise". He was a member of the Vegetarian Cycle & Athletic Club. A clubmate Peter Duncan says "Nobody called him Freddie, that came later, it was always Fred" (Bill Hurlow confirms this). This pic is 1907-1913 after a record attempt. He has no brakes, traffic was so light he saw no need for them. The pavement looks smoother than the road. In 1910 he did an unpaced, out & home competition 100 mile tt in under 5 hrs, dressed like this on such a bike.

In 1911 he set a new 12 hr record "...what a ride that was! the Anerley course in those days ran out at 210.25 miles and some hurried improvisations were necessary to provide 220.5 miles for Grubb and 215.5 for CF Davey". Fred held the record for a 24 hr Closed Circuit Road Time Trial (Peter Duncan says it was a Track Time Trial) at c564 km (351 miles). This record was broken by Henrik Morén in 1912 with 604 350m (375.6 miles).

Fred's Brighton record too was a magnificent effort. In 1912 the Brighton Rd was in very poor condition, and the record to be beaten was one of Green's, but Grubb succeeded, and his 5h 9m 41 (which contains another 100 inside evens) stood for 14 years.

Fred won two silver medals in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912. In the Team Road Race and the Individual Road Race. In a private 100 ml trial on the Bath Road in 1913, he did 4h 43m 33s (Ave 21.16 mph). In 1914 Fred turned Pro. He raced on the continent for a short while, but found the racing there too dirty. He told Peter "They would stick an inflator in your spokes as quick as look at you", so he returned to England. Now as an ex pro he was disqualified from entering most events, it was the end of his competitive cycling.

FH Grubb

Fred established his cycle business: F.H. Grubb (est. 1914), of Brixton, London SW9. It appears his clubmate Charley Davey helped finance the venture. The first frames may have been built at Brixton, but WW I soon intervened (4 Aug 1914 - 11 Nov 1918).

"During WW1 Fred worked in a London munitions factory, he had long working hours and cycled to and from work every day, it was all bed and work. He wanted to get into the Navy for an easier life, but his 'reserved occupation' status was a problem. Eventually he managed, but navy catering meant when he returned he was no longer vegetarian. He was made an honorary club member" (Peter Duncan).

After the war Charlie Davey again helped finance Fred, this time to go into partnership with Ching Allin. In 1919 Allin & Grubb of 132 Whitehorse Road Croydon was formed. Fred & Ching soon split after a serious fall-out, said to be over whether Fred or Charlie Davey be credited for the q/r dropout design. 'Allin & Grubb' kept trading, but soon became A H Allin and by 1922 they sold Davey Cycles instead of Grubbs.

By March 1920 FH Grubb, 250 London Rd, West Croydon is advertised. The frame number system adopted by Grubb was a simple serial number, presumably starting 1,2,3 etc.

By early 1924 or before Grubb opened at Robsart Street, Brixton.

Oct 1920
Article October 1920
Feb 1921
Article February 1921
May 1925
Advert May 1925
June 1926
Advert 4th June 1926

FH Grubb opened his Works at Gould Rd, Twickenham, London between June 1926 & late 1927. Bill Rann (foreman) was the mechanical brains of the place, particularly remembered for the Rann kiddie trailer.

1927-1928 Catalogue (1928 season): Cycles:
  • Carrier Cycle (delivery bike)
  • Lady's Sports
  • Light Roadster
  • Speed Model
  • Club Model
  • Path Racing Model

Also offered are Framesets & the Grubb Home Trainer.
The Grubb System of Grease-Gun lube is advertised.
All frames get a decal applied to head and seat tube

  • Racing Tricycle
  • Carrier Tricycle (delivery bike)
  • Race Tandem
  • Cross-Frame
  • Special Tandem

Grubb's were very inventive, as this Aug 1928 advert for Resilient Forks demonstrates. The Resilient fork was launched during 1928 and offered until the 1930 'Special Touring Model', apparently the Resilient's last year. Aug 1928
"Cycling " Ad 3 Aug 1928
Resilient Fork
Grubb Resilient Front Fork
Serial No. 8026
Late 1920's Grubb
Rear Dropouts
From the Twickenham address (1927-34), the fact that he is not yet Limited (so pre 1934) and this models absence from the 1930 and 1931 catalogues, the Grubb Universal is 1927-1929 or 1931-1933. The prices suggest 1927-1929. Universal

Universal Frames
Gents Universal
Gents Universal
Lady's Universal
Lady's Universal

Just after Easter 1929 Eric Tweedale and Ted Rigby of the Manchester C.T.C. General Section, owners of one of the first Grubb tandems in the district, attacked the Club tandem "50" record in a private trial on the Broken Cross course. Private trials, according to club rule, had to be run on authenticated courses, properly marshalled, and timed by an official club timekeeper, so it was by a good ride that their 2-4-54 displaced Wood and Brewer's 2-5-53. "1929 has been a phenomenal year for Grubb Bicycles and Tandems. The output has been actually doubled on the previous year"

1930 Catalogue: Cycles:
  • Twickenham
  • Lady's Twickenham
  • Lady's Sports
  • Light Roadster
  • De Luxe Roadster
  • Speed Model
  • Special Touring
  • Path Racing Model
  • Racing Tricycle
  • Race Tandem
  • Cross-Frame
  • Special Tandem
In Oct 1930 77 London Rd, Leicester is mentioned.

They advertise the "FAMOUS TWICKENHAM MODEL" for £8 complete, a one gear tourer.
Apr 1930
Ad April 1930
Oct 1930
Advert October 1930
Dec 1930
1931 Special Touring model

1931 Catalogue: Cycles:
  • Twickenham
  • Lady's Twickenham
  • Super Twickenham
  • Richmond
  • Speed Model
  • Light Roadster
  • De Luxe Roadster
  • Special Touring
  • Path Racing Model
Special Touring
1931 Special Tourer
  • Racing Tricycle
  • Race Tandem
  • Cross-Frame

The Grubb London was launched between 1931-1933. Soon after this FH Grubb of Twickenham became FH Grubb Ltd of Twickenham. Cover
Cover for Grubb London
page 2
Grubb London Page 2
page 3
Grubb London Page 3
1934? Yellow Streak
Yellow Streak new in 1934
Twickenham Eagle
1934 Twickenham Eagle tandem
The Twickenham Eagle was Advertised in Cycling, 17 June 1932
1934 Pullman
The Pullman was advertised in Cycling 1 Dec 1933, the catalogue is also availble (presumably 1934)
Super Twickenham
1934 Super Twickenham
Jan 1934
1934 Grubb Twickenham advert
Feb 1934

Glasgow Museum of Transport has this welded Grubb 'Kingston' recumbent. The design for this new model was advertised on 10th August 1934, with the recumbent itself first advertised for sale on 24 Aug 1934 as the first English recumbent.
1934 Grubb Kingston Recumbent

The museum says: "Recumbents first appeared in the 1930's as bicycle makers tried to make a fast but stable bicycle. The horizontal design is more stretched to reduce wind resistance and allow the rider to use back and leg muscles".

"The Grubb machine was bought new in 1934 for £14-14s . It was made by F.H. Grubb Ltd of Brixton, London and owned by Mr RC Smith who used it for racing at Rothesay, Scotland".

"Donated by G Smith 1991- Grubb Kingston model"

This Kingston was re-enamelled in the 1960's by Rattray's (Glasgow). It now bears modern "Freddie Grubb" down tube decals but the seat decal is FH Grubb. There are no headbadge holes, an identical seat tube decal has been used as a head decal. Bill Hurlow says very few Grubbs were welded, but a recumbent would have to be as you couldn't get suitable lugs.


Ad in Cycling 9 Nov 1934It is thought FH Grubb diversified into making the new, trendy, tubular metal furniture. An advert for FH Grubb Ltd in 'Cycling' 9 Nov 1934 mentions 'in voluntary liquidation'. They had recently passed frame number 16000 by the time Twickenham closed.

FHG headbadge 1936 to 1945?

The day after Twickenham closed, not later than April 1935, Fred opened FHG Ltd, at 147a Haydons Rd, Wimbledon, London, S.W.19 with c20 staff remaining from c50 at Twickenham (Bill Hurlow). Bill Rann had already left to join Holdsworth. They restarted the serial number system, presumably from 1, 2, 3 etc

1935 FHG Ltd Temporary List of Cycles. (I think this is 1935, despite 1937 being written on it, but the Special Tourer may be 1937) The price of the "London Streak" and "Path" models is less than in 1936, though the "Special Tourer" is a pound more (with a 3 speed derailleur). You will notice the use of 'FHG' throughout the following Temporary List of Cycles, which I think is to underline to his creditors that he is a completely new business.

Wimbledon Club
Wimbledon Club
Wimbledon Lady's
Wimbledon Lady's
London Streak
London Streak
FHG Path and Cover
Special Tourer
Special Tourer

The 1936 catalogue mentions "the new Wimbledon Works" at 147a Haydons Rd, showrooms at 130 Haydons Rd, SW19, opposite the works and a shop at 31 Robsart St, Brixton, SW9 all in London, Alice ('Mrs Grubb') ran the shop. You will notice the 'FHG Path' model of early 1935 has become 'the Grubb Path' model etc. It appears that having shaken off his old FH Grubb Ltd creditors he wants to return, as far as he dares, to the established FH Grubb marque.

Over 16,000 Grubbs have already been made and many of Fred's staff (16 in the pic) have 'served for' 12 years. Frames are available in Accles & Pollock chrome-molybdenum or Reynolds High Manganese tubing. (Reynolds HM, launched 1924 was top of the range until 531 came out in 1935). Bill Hurlow confirms FHG hadn't started using 531 in 1936.

Bill Hurlow (b May 21) joined FHG Ltd at Haydons Rd in March 1936 aged 14. "The Company's credit worthiness was so weak I was often sent with cash in hand to buy components. Serial numbers were all 3 digit, stamped on the upper headlug front (above the headbadge) and on the fork steerer tube". [This indicates the huge drop in production levels NK]. Both headlugs incorporated a headset ball-race, the new push-in headsets, which we called 'Colonial Headsets', were frowned upon in the UK. Ironically, the Australians called them 'British Headsets'. (BH)

1936 Catalogue: Cycles:
Club No. 2
Wimbledon Club No2
  • Wimbledon Club Model No. 1
  • Wimbledon Club Model No. 2
  • Wimbledon Lady's Model No. 1
  • Wimbledon Lady's Model No. 2
  • Special Tourer
  • London Streak
  • Super-Lite
  • Pullman
  • Eagle
  • Double Gents cum Lady-Back
  • Path

In 1936 Grubb was the sole UK agent for the superb Alcyon French bikes, which inspired the late 1936 Grubb Anglo-Continental. Reynolds 531 has appeared and a 3 speed gear. Bill Hurlow's account is somewhat different to the advert:
Anglo Continental
Anglo Continental
This Road Test is of the Silver Flash, presumably launched April/May 1937. Nimrod says "Freddie Grubb" (usually it is Fred) was first to beat evens in a 100 mile out and home unpaced competition. Freds obituary in 1949 (which also calls him Freddie) says Leon Meredith pipped favourites Grubb and Moss to this achievement. May 1937
1937 Silver Flash Alexandra Palace Race Programme 28 May 1937
This 1937 - 39 advert is for the "London Streak", now up to £12-7-6 with 3 speed Osgear, and "Streak Tandem". Bill Hurlow left to join Holdsworth in 1938. Notice Fred seems to be trading as: FH Grubb Ltd, Haydons Rd, Wimbledon, but exacty when or how he dropped the FHG name is not yet certain, FHG headbadges remained in use until after his death in 1949. I don't know what happened to Grubb production, if any, during WW2. 1937 advert

FH Grubb Haydons Rd From invoices, Fred was trading as FH Grubb Ltd early in 1947. This aluminium headbadge was probably adopted immediately post war, as aluminium, scarce at the start of war, was one of the few abundant metals at this time. The brass FHG headbadge appears on c 1950 frames.

1949-51 models were: Perfection which was available in many different versions, including a twin seat-tube option, the Perfection Exquisite (scroll style lug work) and the Perfection de Triomphe (long points on headlugs and windows) were two. d'Avignon (lugged or lugless), Côte d'Azur (lugged or lugless) and Sprint Omnium.

Freddie Grubb

Fred's ObituaryFred died on 6 March 1949 aged 61, his family continued the business. Fred's son, Frederick H Grubb was MD in Feb 1950 (but probably only part-time at Haydons Rd), the other 3 Directors were W.V. Grubb, Bill Rann and Ivor R. Cox (ex Holdsworth Director). Dick Swann (d 6 Sept 2003 aged 85) was also involved in some way, he was Company Secretary of the Grubb Finance Co after WW2 (VCC News & Views 298/8 Dec03 /Jan04), Charlie Roberts joined for a few months (WBH).

When petrol rationing ended on 26 May 1950 it had an odd effect on cycle makers. Parts became available, so they geared up production to clear their waiting list, built up during the rationing years, while meeting current demand. So production increased sharply, however, new orders slowed down, as some potential customers opted for a motorcycle, perhaps with a sidecar. So once the waiting list was fulfilled, they were geared-up to produce extra, but with lowered demand. Grubb production rose by 50% in 1950. Then came the crash.

The following undated catalogue mentions "...the late FH Grubb..." with pics of 'F H Grubb' decals on the d'Avignon model and clear pics of 'FREDDIE GRUBB' decals on the Côte d'Azur and Perfection models. It seems that FH Grubb & Freddie Grubb decals were used interchangably during this period, you could get an F.H. Grubb Perfection or a Freddie Grubb Perfection. My current theory, is that 'Freddie Grubb' was adopted after Fred's death, to signify Fred's son (once he became MD), continuing alongside his father in a manner of speaking, as the son was also named Frederick H Grubb.

1950? Range: Cycles:
  • d'Avignon £27/10/0 (£25/16/6 welded). Short dist. road & club riding
  • Côte d'Azur £37/3/2 (£35/9/9 welded) Long dist. road & racing
  • Perfection £44/19/4 "for the Conoisseur"
  • Sprint Omnium (Track) £34/15/3

Specially for tourists: our leaflet "Two Cycling Masterpieces"...suggests there may also be two touring models, Tandems & Trikes were available too.

  • d'Avignon £12/17/6 (£11-10-0. welded)
  • Côte d'Azur £14/7/6 (£13.0.0. welded)
  • Perfection £16/16/0
  • "Exquisite", "de Triomphe" or other lugsets
  • Sprint Omnium (Track) £13/17/6

The shop at Robsart St, Brixton appears to have gone, however 464 London Rd, Croydon, Surrey is advertised. At the Earls Court Cycle Show, Oct/Nov 1950, the new Touriste model was launched, in gents and ladies versions. The Perfection was top of the range. There were 'welded' and lugged models on display, as well as tandems and the Rann tandem trailer.

The business was struggling and the receiver auctioned off various frames etc in May 1951. However FH Grubb was still trading in Nov 1951, with showrooms at 130 Haydons Rd & Works at 147a Haydons Road. They had a new expensive range of frames for 1952, comprising :

The Blue Star, The Southern Cross, The Silver Comet (track) & the Golden Meteor, all available lugged or lugless.

1952 Holdsworthy Freddie Grubb

Holdsworthy bought the marque FH Grubb very late in 1951 or very early in 1952, they adopted the name "Freddie Grubb" for the down tube decals and range. Bill Hurlow built the first Holdsworthy Freddie Grubb, he was Holdsworthy's top frame-builder by then (he left just after Easter 1952). He recalls a small batch of very high quality hand-cut lugsets were brought in from Grubb's. He was told to use these on the first batch of their Freddie Grubb frames, despite his protests that these lugs were too good, for what was to be a lower end frame. This means that some of the very first Holdsworthy Grubbs could have Perfection or Côte D'Azur etc lugs, indeed the Perfection model was re-introduced for 1953, it has french Oscar Egg lugs, hand cut, which look very like one of the lugsets used on the 1950 Perfection.

Holdsworthy always used Plain Gauge tubing on their Grubbs, they were universally considered as a 'second grade' bike, what we now call a 'winter bike', aimed at enthusiasts. Some held their Grubb in such high regard they preferred it to their summer steed.
This aluminium 'Anerley - SE20' FH Grubb headbadge was used by Holdsworthy on their 1953 Freddie Grubb range. Early holdsworth Grubb badge The FH Grubb headbadge (right) says SE 20, so it is also Holdsworthy era, its last year appears to be 1963 (see Routier in 1963 and 64 cats). The crossed flags badge appears in the 1964 range. Post 1952 to 1963 Freddie Grubb headbadge

1953 Models: Perfection frame greatly reduced at £11 11 0, Southern Cross frame almost half the Nov 1951 price of £16 17 6 at £8 15/- & the Blue Star cycle. The 'Rann' Tandem Trailer & 'Grubb' Home Trainer are also offered.

1958 Models: Meteor frame, Comet frame, Southern Cross frame & Silver Star frame or cycle
1959 Models: Meteor frame, Comet frame & Silver Star frame or cycle

1961 Range
Silver Star
Comet Track/Road

Advert for Meteor ,Mar 1961

An advert, assumed to be 1961

1962 Catalogue: Cycles:
  • Silver Star £25/11/6 to £31/10/1
  • Super Nova £31/5/4 *New*
Super Nova has Campy Gran Sport 5 spd & Universal CPs
Super Nova
Oct 1962 Super Nova Road  Test
Oct 1962
  • Silver Star £7/12/6
  • Comet £9/17/6
  • Meteor £9/19/6

1963 Catalogue: Cycles:
  • Routier £25/6/3
  • Super Routier £28/7/6
  • Super Nova £31/3/6
Super Routier gets a Campy Gran Sport 5 speed & Weinmann brakes.
  • Routier £7/12/6
  • Comet £9/17/6
  • Tourmalet £9/19/6

1964 Catalogue: New badge in 1964 rangeCycles:
  • Routier Mk1 £25/14/6
  • Routier Mk2 £26/14/0
  • Super Routier £28/14/6
  • Super Nova £31/17/6
  • Routier £7/17/6
  • Comet £9/17/6
  • Tourmalet £10/10/0
A new Headbadge says FH Grubb, London SE20 (Holdsworth's Anerley factory). It has crossed Italian and chequered flags inside a laurel wreath. This badge was launched during 1963 and so appears in the 1964 range (see headshot of Routier in 1963 and 64 cats). I think the Italian flag is to advertise Holdsworth's connection in 1962 with the Prugnat company, for lugs and crowns.

1967 Catalogue: Cycles:
  • Routier Mark 1 £26/19/6
  • Routier Mark 2 £28/19/6
  • Super Routier £30/19/6
  • Pyrennean £35/19/6
Routier Mk2 gets a Simplex Prestige 5 speed and Weinmann 999 or GB 66's.
  • Routier £8/10/0
  • Veloce £10/10/0 (road/path)
  • Tourmalet £10/15/0 (Campy ends add £1)

Roy Wilkinson's Freddie Grubb with Nervex Legere headlugs. This is a road/track model. Track ends for a fixie but eyelets for mudguards (so outdoor use). Many enthusiasts used a fixie over winter, so it was probably a winter trainer. Mid 50s Freddie Grubb Track
Grubb Track Nervex headlugs
1971 Models:
Tourmalet 531 Road Racing (frameset only), 72o parallel, Prugnat lugs, Campag ends extra.

Galibier 'The latest hand built lightweight' in Purple with Arizona Gold contrasts, or Arizona Gold with Purple contrasts. Available as frameset only or 5 speed cycle, with New Velox or Valentino Extra gears.
1972 Models:
Tourmalet 531 Road Racing (frameset only), 72o parallel, Prugnat lugs, Campag ends extra.

Galibier 'The latest hand built lightweight' in Purple with Arizona Gold contrasts, or Arizona Gold with Purple contrasts. Available as frameset only or 5 speed cycle, with New Velox or Valentino Extra gears.
1972 Toumalet and Galibier
1976 Models: (Bike Riders Aids '76)  
Galibier and Tourmalet framesets Galibier cycles. A range of four models
1976 Grubb framesets 1976 Galibier

headbadge on 1977 GalibierPhil McHoul's 1977 Galibier. Original colouring was purple with orange (Arizona Gold) bands with a "Longworth's of Wallasey" sticker. The pretty basic original kit has mostly gone. The frame has no braze-ons for shifters, no rear mech. hanger on the Holdsworth dropouts. It has plain gauge tubing and Reynolds 531 fork blades. Phil was once told that FG was the first UK manufacturer to fit Campagnolo components.

The final Headbadge in 1977.

1977 Freddie Grubb Galibier
Galibier headlugs
The Holdsworthy Co. stand at the Harrogate Show had Holdsworth, Claud Butler and Freddie Grubb bikes up until 1977. In 1978 there were no Grubbs. Phil's Galibier has a 1977 serial number, it seems they dropped the name in 1978. There are no Grubbs in the 1981 Holdsworth catalogue.