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British Motorcycles

Carlton Motorcycles

Carlton of Lockhurst Lane, Coventry; also in Worksop (see below), and quite possibly in Scotland.

Frederick Hanstock established Carlton Cycles in Carlton-in-Lindrick, Nottinghamshire, in 1898 (1).

  • Carlton were motorcycles produced from 1922 to 1940.

    They produced engines and cars 1901-1902.

    1920 The firm began selling NSU and other marques. About 1922 motor cycle manufacture began with fittings and tube supplied by the Sun Cycle and Fitting Company, with engines from JAP, Villiers and Sturmey Archer. The JAP engined 350cc SV Super Sports sold for 36.

    1922 In February, the first machine was exhibited at the Scottish Motorcycle Show. It was a lightweight with a 269cc two-stroke Villiers engine and a choice of single or two speed with clutch and kick starter. It is believed that these machines were retailed by James Grose under the Grose-Spur badge.

    Sun Cycle and Fitting Company supplied frame tubes (and possibly complete frames) along with other fittings, and engines were sourced from JAP, Villiers and Sturmey Archer. The sidevalve JAP machines were sold for around £35, with lighting an extra £5. A Sturmey-Archer overhead-valve motorcycle appeared in 1930, but by then the economic climate was grim and production slowed dramatically.

    1933 As the economy recovered, so did the firm, becoming a limited company that year. The Carlton company was joined by Norton tuning wizard Dan O'Donovan who in addition to being an excellent tuner and a Brooklands racer, proved quite the businessman.

    Now based at Clarence Road, Worksop (between Sheffield and Lincoln), they produced a neat lightweight using a 3-speed 122cc Villiers engine housed in a loop frame with blade forks. It had leg shields and was priced at £17 8s. 6d.

    Shortly before the war the Carlton Cycles business was sold to the O'Donovan family, and Fred Hanstock established Hanstock Engineering with his nephew Gordon.

    1940 Post-World War II, the company only produced bicycles.

The 1934 address is given as Bridge St, Worksop by worksopguardian.co.uk, which also writes that the firm moved briefly to Malty before returning, and that they built "some of the world's most famous racing bicycles". The page says that bicycle production was put on the back-burner for some time whilst Hanstock concentrated on motorcycles constructed using JAP and Sturmey engines. Production dates are not mentioned, but it appears they were built before 1934 when they moved to Bridge St. They then moved to larger premises in "a former grain store" in Clarence Road (around 1937).

Carlton Cycles then moved to a former brewery on Dock Road - this was the fifth premises the company had occupied. The story continues with the involvement of Raleigh, but no motorcycles were produced post-war.

Notes: Date of establishment is given as both 1896 and 1898.

Sources: Graces Guide, worksopguardian.co.uk, sunbeam-mcc.co.uk



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