Sunbeam S7 motorcycle. Circa 1955. Photographed by Fred Woolley

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Date:1955

Description:This is a photo of a mechanic called Gordon Crichlow, he worked at J & N Bassetts, motorcycles 18 Howard Place Shelton. The photo is taken at the side of the workshops in Pynest Street, a roof was put on the area in 1958. Fred Woolley was a customer of Bassetts, he had two Vincents and a few other bikes over the years. Bassetts were BSA main dealers, but also sold Vincent, Triumph, DKW's, Sunbeam and a few Indians.

Motorcycles were a popular mode of transport for working class people from the 1930s to the 1960s. They were cheap to buy and run, and a sidecar could be easily added for when a family came along.

The last ‘real’ Sunbeam motorcycles left the Wolverhampton works in 1937, after which rights to the marque name passed to others. During WWII those rights were acquired by BSA, who were busy designing a new luxury motorcycle for the post-war market. This became the Sunbeam S7, a 500cc twin-cylinder model with shaft-drive, telescopic suspension and balloon tyres for added comfort. It certainly wasn’t cheap to buy, but its specification did attract those looking for a quality product of modern design. With small modifications it remained in production until 1957; finished either in traditional Sunbeam black enamel, or in Mist Green, as with SEH 599. This number was issued by Stokeon-Trent authority in 1953.

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Source: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

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