4:  Making Bicycles

The 1887 Wolverhampton Trades' Directory lists, under "Cycle Manufacturers":-

Easthope Bros.,  Lichfield street.

Hulley's Directory 1889-1890 lists:

Easthope Bros., window blind mnfrs.,  24 St John's street
Easthope Brothers, bicycle dealers, Lichfield street
Easthope, Ernest, pawnbroker, 23a St John's street.

The following piece was published in a Trade Journal in the 1880s:-

Easthope Bros., Wholesale Paperhanging, Paint, Oil, Colour and General Merchants, 24, St. John Street.

An old established and well-known firm of paperhanging, paint, oil, colour and general merchants in Wolverhampton is that of Messrs. Easthope Bros., whose business was established in 1810, and since then has built up a valuable and still increasing connection in each branch. The building occupied at 24, St. John Street, is the site of the old grammar school, and is centrally situated, and in every way adapted for the convenient carrying on of the business. It presents an attractive frontage, extending about 24 yards, and comprises spacious well fitted-up stores, etc., heavily stocked with every description of goods appertaining to the trade, under which comprehensive heading are the following: paints, oils, and colours of all kind, English wall papers in great variety, and newest designs and patterns, and by the best makers, brushes, mouldings, etc. The stock is well kept and neatly and effectively arranged, and is of a thoroughly, superior and high-class character, as the members of the firm purchase from the most reliable markets only, and devote great care and attention in selecting all their goods. They employ a number of experienced hands and extend a personal supervision over all affairs, taking care that customers are promptly and courteously attended to, and that large or small orders are executed with despatch and accuracy. The members of the firm are gentlemen of experience and enterprise, and through their straightforward business methods have gained the respect of all who deal with them. They also carry on the business of cycle manufacturers under the style of the Midland Cycle Co., Bell Street, where the cycle works are situated, and which is carried on under their personal supervision, the machines manufactured bearing comparison with any of the leading makers. They hold several valuable patents connected with the above trade; one of the most recent is their "Sublime Spring Frame Safety," which we herewith illustrate. This machine they claim as perfectly free from vibration, and at the same time there is no loss of power. They also make all the leading types of machines at present on the market. Any of our readers who are interested in cycling we should strongly advise to send for the firm's price lists, which will be forwarded free by return of post.

The firm advertised their business in various ways. This is an envelope highlighting the wall paper side of the business:-

Two pages from the cycle catalogue.

The entry into the cycle business seems to have been a relatively late move for the Easthopes. They appear to have this part of their operation located at three addresses at least - Lichfield street, Bell Street and St John's Street. The rear of the Old Grammar School complex fronted on Bell St, and it may have been that the bicycle business was at the rear of 24 St John's St.

During their heyday in bicycle manufacturing, Easthopes was undoubtedly a prestige business.

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Easthope Cycles