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P.V. Motorcycles, Perry Vale 1911-1924
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P.V. Motorcycles

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2008
Post: #1
15-08-2008 07:03 PM

I was interested to read the article under 'Features' on businesses in
Perry Vale.
My interest is in a motorcycle manufacturer located there between 1911
and 1924, which took the initials 'P.V.' after the road as its name.

I know the founders were George Elliston and Sidney Fell, cycle makers,
and that they had premises at nos. 93 Perry Vale, and 72 Perry Vale up
to 1914.
They then moved to 'Number 1, Exchange Buildings, Perry Vale'.
I understand this is through the arch on the end of the parade of shops
on Perry Vale, opposite the end of Siddons Road.

If anyone has any more information, or suggestions where I might look,
I'd be grateful.


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P.V. Motorcycles

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2008
Post: #2
16-08-2008 02:05 PM

Here's a bit more about the company:

George Elliston and son were cycle makers at 93 Perry Vale up to about 1910, and in late 1910 they secured a patent (10,179/1910) for a rear springing (suspension) system, which they went on to use on the motorcycles they made.
Rear suspension did not come into widespread use on motorcycles until the 1950s, so this really was quite an advanced feature for many years.

George Elliston was joined by Sidney Fell, and they traded as P.V. Motorcycles, taking their initials from the road in which they were based.
Like lots of manufacturers at the time, they bought in engines, carburetters, front forks and other fitments, and built frames to house them in.

Their motorcycles were first announced to the press in September 1911, and they initially sold single-speed belt-drive bikes with different sizes of engine.
The range developed through 1912 and 1913, with the introduction of 3-speed hub gears, by Sturmey Archer and Armstrong. Engine sizes ranged from a 500cc single-cylinder to a 976cc v-twin, all made by J.A.P. of Tottenham.
For 1914, a flat-twin engine by ABC was an option.

The firm continued after the outbreak of WWI, offering just a 269cc two-stroke lightweight (using the popular Villiers engine), with a two-speed countershaft gearbox.

After WWI, they continued with the lightweight bike in a slightly re-designed form, and gradually expanded the range to include more-or-less every size of engine, from 250cc two strokes, 350cc and 500cc four-stroke singles, and a range of v-twins from 500cc up to 1000cc. J.A.P. engines were most commonly used, but engines by Bradshaw and Barr and Stroud were also listed.

The works entered the Isle of Man TT Races in 1923 and 1924, with a 250cc machine taking part in the Lightweight race of 1923, and finishing 12th.
For 1924, a 350cc machine was entered in the Junior TT, and was running in an amazing fourth place on the fourth lap (of six), before being ordered to retire.
I believe that this was because rider R.V. Crauford (a local lad, maybe?) had crashed and damaged the machine, breaking off a footrest.

I'm not sure what happened after the TT - there are a couple of press reviews of bikes in the second half of 1924, but the edition of the Kentish Messenger dated 24/11/24 carries an advert for an auction of machinery, tools etc for the company, which seems like the end of the road.

If anyone has any local area photos showing the works, or period adverts in publications, I should be grateful to find out about them.
Below are a couple of pictures - a bike from 1912 430cc v-twin single speeder (top), and a 1923 1000cc v-twin, complete with PV sidecar.


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