Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Claude Butler

Claud Butler was a bicycle dealer and frame-builder who created a chain of bicycle shops in London. His company was one of the most successful of the inter World War II era and during the post war period. He had five retail locations in London before the war and four locations following the war. This was a time when club cycling boomed in Britain and every town across the land had at least one active cycling club offering a full range of sporting, leisure and social cycling activities. 

Immediately following the conclusion of World War II the popular sport of club cycling resumed. In the early fifties demand for bicycles in Britain declined and Claud Butler's cycle shops became a victim of the times.

The cycling historian David Palk says:

By the mid-fifties the glory days were over, with club cycling beginning to lose favor as a popular activity across Britain. Several manufacturers' records show a sudden dip in production from the early fifties on-wards. The phasing-out of war-time rationing, as well as increased affluence throughout the population, brought aspirations towards consumerism and motorized transport. This was at odds with the simple pleasures of club cycling. The ultimate distraction -television- also became  more affordable at this time, with many thousands of households equipping themselves to watch the live broadcast of the Queen's Coronation in 1953. In the mid-to-late fifties Britain's lightweight trade was in serious decline, with several prominent marques relocating and downsizing, becoming amalgated or simply packing up for good. Claud's finances were in a poor state and a large sum owing to the taxman put the final nail in the coffin. 

After a couple of failed attempts to return to business in the bicycle trade, a chronic illness finally claimed Claud Butler's life in 1978.

The name Claude Butler, like many other legendary brands, has been used to sell bicycles that were not like the originals by several different companies. Presently Claude Butler is a name used by Falcon to sell bicycles. 

A restored 1949 Claud Butler
A Claud Butler Advertisement

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