The WAHCC’s 2019 marque celebration of Swansea Cycles was opened by club Chairperson Robert Frith last Friday evening. The official opening followed an afternoon tea reunion of Swansea alumni; close to twenty of the company’s staff and riders were invited to an exclusive preview of the show. Among them were Les Baldwin’s right hand man for many years, Harold Durant, now 97, ex Freo MP Dr. John Troy and a slew of champion riders from the 50’s and 60’s including Rod Dhue, Bill Gilbride, Clarrie Minciullo, Graham Benthien, Mick O’Sullivan and Peter Buswell.
The following two days were a huge success with over 400 people seeing the exhibition, among them Chris, Celia and Rhiannon Baldwin, the son and granddaughters of Swansea founder and part owner Howard Baldwin. We also had visits from Ray Ellement, frame builder Merv Ellement’s son; Helen Jones, niece of Swansea accountant Ken Pettit; Terry, Roz and Nicole Stevenson, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter of legendary rider Dave Stevenson, later the Swansea factory manager.
A number of club members brought Swansea bikes from their collections for the show and, together with generous loans from members of the public, by Sunday lunchtime there were 34 Swanseas on display. They ranged from a humble delivery bike (Swansea’s own) to a pair of spectacularly restored road race bikes. The earliest bike on show, a verge pickup, dates to 1934 and the most recent a c. 1975 “bike boom” exercise in badge engineering.
Over the course of the weekend we added a dozen bikes to the Swansea Register and gave away 44 numbered tags to owners of registered bikes.
If you missed the show we’re sorry; it was fantastic! All is not lost though; the content that club members produced from interviews prior to the show is available here.