Frederick Tolley was running his Canal Bridge Cycle Works in Ash c.1919-22. Ron Tolley took over his uncle’s business in 1923, and it became Tolley’s Garage until it closed in 1993. Tolley’s Garage was on part of the site now occupied by Vale Furnishers.
In Ash Museum we have a display of many interesting items from Tolley’s Garage.
One part of the display relates to the bicycle side of the business, and includes a Lucas 260N “King of the Road” carbide cycle lamp made by Joseph Lucas Ltd of Birmingham dating from the 1920s-30s (ref 285), and Citadel oil burning rear bicycle lamp with a red lens, made by Powell and Hanmer of Chester Street in Birmingham in the 1930s (ref 286).
The following is a transcript of two pages from a detailed journal entry written by Fred Tolley in 1891, describing a bicycle ride from Aldershot to London and back. There is a photocopy in the History Room (ref 290/4).
Fun Road Scorcher 1891
A trip to London by road from Aldershot – 40 miles.
There was no worrying timetable to look up, no clock to make me miss the train. I left my work all satisfactorily finished, and calmly mounted my iron steed, and in half an hour had left Aldershot and its cares far behind. A sharp turn now, and I leave Frimley, and get into the old Portsmouth coaching road, and aim fairly amongst the Surrey hills, dash down a long hill and right through the sleepy old town of Bagshot. The milestone tells me I am 34 miles from Hyde Park Corner and seven from Staines. Three miles further and I pass Lake Virginia and the falls, then glide down the long Egham Hill through the narrow town and reach the old Roam causeway. The road here is level and splendid, I fair scorch along till I reach the Ship Inn, and that old road so familiar to us all, down on the right leading to our home sweet home. I tear myself by that road, and mount the bridge and gaze on the silvery Thames. How oft have we sported in and on its waters. Down Bridge Street, and I have connected two of the younger branches of the house of Tolley, John & Albert, and half my journey is done. I stop here and rest before start for Kentish Town Road London.
Stands Staines where it did? I hear my far off brothers ask! Truly it does, and keeping pace with the times. Does Walter remember where he broke a small pane in the ironmonger’s window? It is now one of the finest shops in the town.
Off again at six o’clock and I am now in County Middlesex, Bedfont, then Hounslow, Alf’s old Barracks over on the left in full view. Brentford, then Kew, and am now getting into the thick of it. A slight mistake in the road now, and I travel along the south of Hyde Park instead of the north. I soon rectify the mistake by dashing up Park Lane into Oxford Street. The traffic is a little too thick here for me, so I slip out and over into Regent’s Park, from there to the Britannia and Kentish Town Road, and connect one of the older members of the family Aunt Sarah. Stay all night, reach good old Staines again at 8am. Connect the paternal half tree this time, it is dark now, but the way is familiar and I reach home at 10.30, thoroughly tired out, as my readers will probably be by this time.
Hounslow Barracks was a former Cavalry Barracks built c.1791 on Hounslow Heath. Today it is the headquarters of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment.
The old Roman causeway is now known as Egham Causeway, possibly on the route of the Roman road from the bridge at Staines to Sunningdale.