“Victorian and Edwardian Cycling and Motoring from Old Photographs” by A. B. Demaus. 110 pp. 10 in. 7 1/2 in. (B. T. Batsford Ltd. 4, Fitzhardinge Street, London, W1H OAH. £3.95).
Brian Demaus is well known as a Humber enthusiast and the collector of early bicycles and cars. In this book he has selected 159 photographs for reproduction, depicting the very early happenings with bicycles and motorcycles and motor cars, both sporting and otherwise. The result is another dose of nostalgia, such is pretty freely made available by publishers in these mundane 1970s. The result is enthralling, bicycles getting about as much coverage as the horseless carriages and racing bolides that replaced them.
The camera emerged with the bicycle and thus family groups are popular in the first part of this book. We see club gatherings, country houses, the unbelievably deserted roads of the Victorian and Edwardian age, and the beginnings of the book reflect a long-departed era of unlimited leisure. Then come the motors and the pace quickens. Racing cars and motorcycles give action to the enlarging scene. Finally, we are shown the car as an established means of travel and everdyay usage—at weddings, outside hotels, at Parliamentary meetings and so on, not overlooking the chauffeur’s role, in such magnificent pre-1914 cars as enormous Napiers and the 30-h.p. Sheffield-Simplex.
The pictures are quite well reproduced, if a bit fussy at times, and are, as expected, expertly captioned. They include such rarities as the Santler three-wheeler and the 1915 big-twin AJS motorcycle driven from its sidecar. Not many of the illustrations have appeared previously to my knowledge and for a projection back into the distant motoring past, just study Nos. 119 to 122. This is yet another good browsing book, with most of the vehicle makes identified for its readers.—W.B.
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