The Start of Harry Perry Cycles
Harry Perry Cycles was originally started in 1908, but was called Blackett Bros. Cycles, and was run by George and Jimmy Blackett.
Fred Genner's shop in Woolwich started earlier in the century before Fred's incumbency as Blackett Bros. Cycles. This shop first opened for business in Cross St. Woolwich, just by the Woolwich Arsenal, in 1908 and at some point within their first year of trading moved location to 26 Woolwich New Road SE18.
The business prospered but for reasons unknown, during the First World War the two Blackett brothers fell out and the end result was George moving and opening up his own bike shop, in a second trading place 100 yards around the corner in Anglesea Road. Meanwhile Jimmy Blackett's Woolwich New Road shop continued to trade with Harry Perry coming aboard in 1921 as a frame builder and eventual shop manager. Harry Perry is pictured below back in 1967.
Harry Perry Of Harry Perry Cycles In 1929 Fred and Alice Genner acquired the business from Jimmy Blackett, retaining Harry Perry to continue building their lightweight frames, as Harry had established a good reputation for his quality craftsmanship. The shop was renamed "The Excel Cycle Company" at some point in the mid-1930's, around this time the prodigal Blackett brother George moved back to Woolwich New Road, trading opposite Excel's. Competition between them was healthy but tolerable as Fred Genner concentrated on hand-built lightweights for the serious cyclist and George Blackett dealt more with family and utility bicycles. The two shops with their respective owners stayed together like this for almost the next fifty years.
Fred Genner died in August 1939 with the business then being run by his widow Alice. It continued with Harry Perry at the helm until Alice chose to retire in 1955, after selling the shop on to Harry, whose popularity with the local club cyclists in the Woolwich CC, Cambrian Wheelers, Eltham Paragon et al ensured the business continued to flourish.
Harry Perry Of Harry Perry Cycles In order to keep pace with the demand and concentrate on his frame building Harry employed up-and-coming Mephisto CC rider Paul Mepham in 1964 as his full time assistant and mechanic. Harry sadly died in April 1973; therefore it was a natural rite of passage that Paul and his wife Kathleen took over the reins of Excel's Woolwich shop on the 1 July 1974, renaming the business as a tribute to their former boss and friend as "Harry Perry Cycles".
In the early 1980's this central area of Woolwich was greatly redeveloped, necessitating in Paul and Kath having to move the shop around the corner in 1983 to Wellington Street, and from there in 1997 to where it is today in Macbean Street, Woolwich SE18. In 2011 Rob Mepham (Paul's son) joined the team at woolwich as an assistant and mechanic. Harry Perry Cycles still provides hand-built frames in steel, aluminium or carbon fibre, continuing the legacy of Fred Genner and Harry Perry as well as selling other big brand bikes, such as saracen, gt and many others.
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