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Homepage. This page: Fascinating early photographs of DR 26 - a vintage Minerva - and also DR 49.

Minerva.

Adam Hooper sent these photographs over in July 2010. He's researching his family's history, and stumbled across the site while looking into the background of these old motorcycle photos. He adds this information about the motorcycle's owner:
I came across these pictures of my grandfather Hooper's Minerva motorcycle combination outside the family silversmithing shop in Mere, Wiltshire, in the early 1900's. As a motorcyclist myself I would love to find out more about what it was and whether or not any still exist. Your Flying Monarch catalogue is the nearest I have seen to it, although it appears to be a motorcycle and "sidecar" with extra pedals for the passenger to assist the engine, not quite as per the 1904 catalogue? But then as a bicycle manufacturer, I would guess the maker would be able to produce such a vehicle?
My grandfather and his father were Silversmiths in Mere, and they always tinkered with contraptions including the early motor vehicles, and my father told me that they had the first motor car in the town as well. My father went away from the family trade and became a marine engineer, but retained the passion for motorcycles and cars that has come down to the current generation, but sadly, as is often the case, he is no longer around to answer all the questions we have.
The first of Adam's photos is a side-on look at the motorcycle - there's definitely no shortage of seating with this particular combination! As Adam has pointed out, it's obviously a Minerva, most probably from Frank Morrish's "Flying Monarch" range of bicycles, motor-assisted bicycles and light cars. Pedal assistance, from both the rider and his or her passenger, was available whenever a steep incline had to be tackled.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Minerva motorcycle
The Plymouth-area DR registration series was first used in January 1904, so DR 26 would seem to date to that year also.
The second of Adam's photographs shows the same machine from the front with, it appears, two passengers already sat in position, ready for a ride out.
The same Minerva from the front

A second Minerva?

Adam also sent over this next shot, dated August 14th 1907, with Mr Gawn sat on his motorcycle, reg. DR 49. Adam wonders if this could be a V-twin Minerva? the pedal arrangement definitely looks like that on the machines shown above. He adds:
Mr Gawn was one of my grandfather's cousins as far as we know, the photo is signed and dated as marked, presumably taken on the main roads around Mere. I am not sure what Speed Mixture might be, but I know these early engines had manual advance/retard and carburation was fairly basic, again advice would be appreciated.
Another vintage motorcycle
Thanks to Adam for allowing me to show these great photographs. If anyone can help with more information on the motorcycles shown here, and perhaps confirm the manufacturer of the as-yet unidentified machine shown above, please get in touch and I'll update this page.
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