Author Topic: George Clarke Motors a formidable force  (Read 3649 times)

Offline Benny G

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George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« on: January 10, 2019, 10:50:17 PM »
I was led to this forum because I was simply looking for anyone who recalled George Clarke Motors on Brixton Hill. It was sad that everyone had a recollection of Pride and Clarke but so little about George Clarke Motors. I want to put that right because I worked for George Clarkes from 1965 to 1971, initially as a cleaner on Saturdays plus during the holidays, as I was still at school but  they were a family who took me under their collective wing and taught me so much.

The motorcycle showroom was on the corner of Morrish Rd and Brixton Hill and I can recall 'drooling' over the window display of new Capriolo motorcycles...ok I was 15 and had no real knowledge but I loved motorcycles...... still do and still ride.....and Italian styling just looked so good , on a comparable basis of course.

The showroom was in two parts and probably held around 100 different bikes (solo's) and I soon learned how to shift them around or get them out for a customer to see outside, I even sold a few although I was only the tea boy/cleaner, the commission was 10 bob (50p) a small fortune for me for what seemed not much work at all.

I have a full repertoire of memories that I will share about GCM but will have to do it in short bursts.

Offline R

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 07:22:43 AM »
Look forward to it - in bursts. !
Good that we simply don't let all the old memories fade away.

Is it someplace in this giggle streetview ?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4464014,-0.1246023,3a,75y,180h,104.16t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st_re4MaoMqm7F1xiLinbZQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Offline mini-me

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 04:11:49 PM »
That part of London has changed beyond recognition and the site of geo clarke is not identifiable to me any longer.

In the 1960s he was regarded as the poor relation of Pride and clarke,[no real relation] selling Panthers,sidecars and really crap bikes.
They had a sidecar fitting place very near to Brixtion hill, I had them fit a Garrard GP to my Thunderbird, about 1967.

That episode sticks in my mind for one outstanding thing, when I collected the bike in the workshop was the very first MV 4 to be brought into the uk, it was offered as a prize by one of the bike mags and the flat cap and stormcoat winner was having it hitched to a large sidecar of the Geo Clarke type.

How long that lasted was any ones guess, not long I reckon.

Last time I went inthere was in the mid 70s and what I recall was a number of ex-police Triumphs in a pile.All leaning up against each other.

Place seemed to be coated in grease, even the walls
I would never have called it a formidable force.end of the bloody line more like.



I think this was about the spot     https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4527624,-0.1209129,3a,37.5y,256.87h,87.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sBFvyY66lUmSr83v9g0z5zA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 04:17:40 PM by mini-me »

Offline R

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 09:58:55 PM »
Ah, the sidecar part of the business was down the road a bit.

Graces Guide has a minimal entry For George Clarke Motors.
It (the adverts)  puts the main shop at 278 Brixton Hill.
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/George_Clarke_(Motors)

This would be the red brick building with the solicitors, on the other corner to my link above.
It looks to be a recent ? rebuild, like you say London has changed.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/278+Brixton+Hill,+London+SW2+1HP,+UK/@51.4463703,-0.1244944,3a,90y,353.5h,94.21t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soamC8f3rbu5WbxLpmdjGiA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!4m5!3m4!1s0x4876043be1b218d1:0xbffc71601cb6a218!8m2!3d51.4462396!4d-0.124277

So, can we find a pic of the original shop ?
Pics of Pride and Clarke are everywhere.

Offline mini-me

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 10:08:00 PM »
I think Geo Clarke was too downmarket to be photographed.........

Anyone here remember Streamline motorcycles in Dulwich?

Sems once upon a time there was a bike shop of one kind or another every half mile.

Offline R

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 10:28:54 PM »

Offline SeaVenture

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2024, 04:03:55 PM »
I realise that it is many years since this post was active but having only recently discovered it I felt the need to respond, partly in the hope that the original contributors are still with us, but also that the subject of George Clarke Motors should be extended since I was active with the company in the early 1960's.
The original post details the existence of the showroom in Brixton Hill and the Spares Dept on New Park Road, close by, but does anyone remember, or even knew of, the Bike storage facility somewhere in the back streets close by the Spares Dept ?
This was a substantial warehouse behind local terraced houses, accessed through a gated tunnel and a small court-yard with a wooden office/shed.
New and second-hand motorcycles sold from the showroom and bought on hire purchase were shipped to and stored in the warehouse until the buyers finances were completed. The new owner would then be issued with a docket, pink in colour I seem to remember, which he, or she, would present at the warehouse to collect their machine, which we would furnish with a quart of petrol and level checked engine oil, as required.
I feel this will do as an introduction and I will offer more if there is any further interest.

Offline R

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2024, 01:36:19 AM »
and the Spares Dept on New Park Road, close by, but does anyone remember, or even knew of, the Bike storage facility somewhere in the back streets close by the Spares Dept ?
This was a substantial warehouse behind local terraced houses, accessed through a gated tunnel and a small court-yard with a wooden office/shed.

Interesting.

How did it look ?
There is such a place just around the corner, at 6A Sulina Rd. The brick place.
There is a large warehouse out the back on the aerial view.
It currently is apparently a furniture place, with no indication on that front/garage door.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4469991,-0.1268156,3a,75y,226.97h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sGo4RDv_03QdupPCwo73jdw!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DGo4RDv_03QdupPCwo73jdw%26cb_client%3Dsearch.gws-prod.gps%26w%3D86%26h%3D86%26yaw%3D226.96701%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Offline R

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2024, 01:43:38 AM »
Edit. I'll get this right yet !
7A is the warehouse entrance - and its writ right there on the door.

(and, oddly, the places in that street/road are consecutively numbered,
not odds and evens ??)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 09:59:29 PM by R »

Offline john.k

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Re: George Clarke Motors a formidable force
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2024, 10:58:58 AM »
Amazing ,London like it was in the 60s when i did the Barry Mc Kenzie  thing.............Id have thought Russian oligarchs would be cheek by jowl with young merchant bankers in mansions there by now............Anyhoo,George Clark Motors and the Panther Owners Club would be caught in the same time warp ,and the POC certainly the best place for info on GCM.