historic hetchins

1956 Magnum Bonum

Magnum Bonum
Tottenham, 1956

This Magnum Bonum suffered severe damage in a crash and was repaired. This explains the unusual head lugs. The present owner offers the following:

At the bottom of a carrier bag full of sprockets I found a couple of bits of very oily, grubby, paper [the original owner] had obviously wanted to keep.

The first was a virtually illegible original sales card, number 13257, with a Dunlop advert on the back. I think this was from the dealer in Ealing who perhaps sold just the frame, rather than Hetchins. The card appears to detail the required paint specification and prices for listed components. The maroon enamel was priced 1 15s 0d and Gold LPO [lugs picked out --Ed.] was an additional 11 shillings. It specifies "no transfers."

The second, dated 25 July 1977, was an invoice for a frame repair carried out by R B Rowlands. I believe Mr Rowlands had worked in the frame building workshop at Mal Rees in Hayes when frame building was still done in house (pre 1955) but possibly had retired by 1977. The invoice appears to be for a private job in his own name with his home address.

Details of the repair are given as:

New top / down / head [tubes] in 531 butted

Refinish / duotone / xfers

25 pounds 5 Shillings, Nett trade. CASH ON COLLECTION.

So the mystery of the lugs and transfers is solved. Indeed, of the original Hetchins, only the rear triangle and front fork survive. [Whether] Mr Rowlands used new lugs and tubes, or took these from a donor bike, we will never know. I showed the papers to [the original owner's widow] and have since met some of [the original owner's] cycling companions who confirm that [he] was involved in a serious collision in the seventies in which his bike went under the wheel of a car.

I confess I hated the brown colours [in which the bike had been resprayed; see below] and have had the bike restored close to its original colour scheme. A black and white photo of [the original owner] participating in time trials in the 50s survives. This shows the original lugs and that it actually did have transfers.

Despite being 66 years old and after serious frame surgery the bike still rides surprisingly well.

Editor's comment: a Mag. Bonum was certainly worth repairing; the original price in 1956 was 18 pounds 18 shillings, and by the 1970s a Mag. Bonum would have cost over 50 pounds.

Immediately below, the bike with replacement lugs and resprayed brown. Farther below, the bike in its current state, restored to near original. All photos courtesy of the current owner.