Ironically, I was going to email Sheldon Brown shortly before his untimely demise. Sheldon's bike pricing page states that Claud Butler and Geoffrey Butler were not related. Being now the owner of two Geoffreys and three Clauds, I was curious about this. One can find little information anywhere on Geoffrey, but much on Claud. In Norman Kilgariffs excellent page on Holdsworth, Claud Butler, and Fred Grubb, he never mentions Geoffrey. I met an older Brit in here one day last week who had lived in Croydon and knew the Geoffrey Butler shop well (the shop is still there by the way). He mentioned without me asking that G was no relation to C Butler. But recently I met a fellow online who seems to know a lot about many bikes who says they were definitely brothers. So I asked if it were documented anywhere. He said yes and pointed me to a book which I have now obtained from the VCC about Frederick H Pratt, Cycling Engineer, compiled by Alvin Smith. He interviewed Fred's son Noel for much of the information in the book. Fred (and Geoffrey) had worked at Claud's shop before and during the war. After the war, things went a little crazy around the shop and many employees left. Fred left to open his own shop in Salfords, and Geoffrey left to open his shop in Croydon. Fred was married to Joan Butler, who was Claud and Geoffrey's sister by the way.
I am fortunate to have made the acquaintance also of Andrew Colvin, who has worked at Chas Roberts shop in Croydon for the last 9 years. He stopped in here several times while on holiday last summer. Andrew made it possible for me to get my newest Geoffrey Butler (1959-ish perhaps) and Claud Butler (mid-30s). Both were local pickup only on ebay and happened to be in his neighborhood so he was able to fetch them and ship them over for me. The G is here now and is remarkable. It was never ridden and was stored carefully and only assembled for the first time last year, so is quite a time machine. The C has yet to arrive but apparently was owned and ridden by the same fellow for 40 years, then sold and restored after the owner's death in 1987, and not ridden much since. The interesting connection is that Chas Roberts had worked in the back of the Geoffrey Butler shop at one time, and made some of his frames, including a 70s track bike that I have. Andrew came back last week and joined me at the NAHBShow. We had a great time together and met with our fearless leader Dale, Mike Schmidt, Jan and Peter Johnson, Rob Pinder, Brian Baylis, Mike Kone, and other CR members. Andrew, by the way, is in his early 50s and has never had a drivers license. He is the complete bikeman.
Can anyone shed further light on Geoffrey Butler and his life or death, or who worked on the frames if not him? Another thing the fellow who said they were not related told me was the Geoffrey died before the shop actually opened, which seems highly unlikely.
Bob Freeman Elliott Bay Bicycles 2116 Western Ave Seattle, WA 98121 206-441-8144 Home of Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles yew essay
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