Crystal Palace's Central Cycle and Auto Stores (and the adjacent Tele-Tech) is now 'Blue Door Bicycles' - a friendly community cycle shop. We still sell many of the same things that used to be sold at the old bike shop (sometimes described as a bit quirky!) plus a wide range of products not previously stocked.
We took over the premises from Miss Talbot and her brother (Margaret and Geoff). Sadly, when both died, Central Cycles and Auto Stores closed for the last time. This website has been set up by me, David Hibbs, the owner of Blue Door Bicycles, to celebrate the history of the shop and the lives of the former owners.
This website is focused on the legacy of the Talbot family and their hard work at Central Cycle and Auto Stores. I hope you will find it interesting. If you have any queries, or if you have any memories/photographs relating to Central Cycle and Auto Stores please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to everyone who has already told us of their memories of the Talbots - we'd love to hear more from people who knew them in the shop, as keen cyclists in earlier years or as long term caravanners in Whitstable.
I have been passed a photo of Geoff taken in 2008 by Suzanne Jessel, a local teacher at Rockmount School, who got to know both Margaret and Geoff and heard first hand their stories of the shop and the cycling culture of the 50s. The picture shows Geoff about two years before he died in the doorway to the shop that had been part of his life for almost 60 years by this date. Geoff was a big man - very tall - and he has been descibed as a gentle giant by those who knew him.
Many people have fond memories of buying their first bike - or their children's first bike - at the shop. Given that Margaret and Geoff were working in the shop from 1949, a child from those early days would now be in their 70s - not too old to remember the thrill of that new bike (nor too old to buy another one to enjoy in their retirement!).
The site is set out in a number of pages:
- 'history' setting the context for the shop
- 'archive' showing some documents/photos relating to the shop and cycling in the 1950s with a subpages for the Talbot Moped, Talbot Trailer and club cycling in the 1950's and 'The 'Trader' Handbook' from around 1945. We are pleased to have some new photos from the 1990s thanks to David Fenwick who took photos of a number of local businesses.
- 'signs of the times' showing some of the signs we have found (and are still finding!)
- 'home made' showing some of the Talbots' less well known handiwork
- 'electricals' shows something of the idiosyncratic wiring and also some interesting electrical equipment we found
- magic lantern showing a few of a large number of magic lantern slides we found in the basement. These probably pre-date even the Talbots.
- 'other things' shows an old car and various machines we also found on site. It now includes updated pictures of the Morris Minor
- Crystal Palace Shops - shopping guide to Crystal Palace when Central Cycle was in its heyday
- befores and afters - shows some before and after pictures of places in the shop.
The shop was transformed - but if you knew the shop in the past, you will recognise some key features - especially the counter. We had hoped to open in May 2011 - but it was a massive job involving the removal of over 20 tonnes of materials, re-wiring, re-plumbing, new ceilings, new flooring in much of the shop as well as re-decoration. The new shop itself has been open for over 8 years - feel free to come in and look around, we think the Talbots would be proud. We are open from 8am in the morning till 6.30pm in the evening Monday to Friday and 9am till 5.30pm on Saturdays, Sundays 10am - 5pm.
You will see from the "News" Section that we are sadly having to consider closing the shop as the modern world of internet sales is not really compatible with the high street business we have tried to run for the last few years. We hope to continue operating on a smaller scale, but will be downsizing or closing in September - in the mean time we will contnue to offer great service and good value, so please call in and use us!
10th June 2019