this page is currently under development
We were established in 1955 by Harry Hall, himself an enthusiastic cyclist. Harry started to build up the business on Hyde Road Manchester, but did however have very limited capital. At times he would keep the boxes from something he had sold, so he could put the empty boxes back on the shelves to make the shop look more stocked!
In the early days Jean (his wife) looked after the shop in the daytime while Harry was out Lorry driving to make ends meet. He'd spend the evenings building wheels and making frames in the workshop beneath the family home / shop.
Moved to 30 Cathedral Street. We were one of first bike shops in country to go into a city centre location. The trade thought Harry was mad, how he proved them wrong! Within a few years more space was needed. Number 32 came up and he took it. Working late into the night, with the aid of several cycling friends they knocked 2 into 1.
It quickly became the 'Aladin's Cave' of cycling. With the help of the contacts met on the 'tours' Harry sourced the 'continental gear' which at the time was very hard to come by. Frames from Olmo, Masi,
Colnago, De Rosa, Basso. Beautiful wool clothing from Moa, Santini, De Marchi, and Beelen Sport. Hand crafted Italian shoes from Giochotti..... the list goes on.
Not only were we he first in the UK to sell it, but Harry and good friend Bob Thom were offered the the UK distribution of the then 'un-heard of Shimano gears.
Harry needed more workshop space, so took on a unit in the nearby 'old womens prison' With the help of 'master-brazer' Roger Kowalski, they hand crafted steel frames for the discerning cyclists (and a few celeb's)
In the late 70's to 80's your choice of bike was very limited. It was either a 'sit up and beg' to go to work on, a reasonable but basic tourer / racer or you had to break the bank and custom build one. We saw the gap and started hand building, affordable tailored bikes. Pretty quickly we were selling more Harry Halls than we were Holdsworths or Peugeots. It was great time, I really enjoyed selling the 'tourers' as you were involved in creating something to make the clients 'journey' special.
In 83 the 'Moutain Bike' arrived. It hit us like a storm. First a few Ridgbacks, then Muddy Fox (*), Specialized, GT, Saracen (*), Kona, Cannondale, Rocky Mountain, Marin & Trek. We needed more space.....
Our landlords, the Corn Exchange had a huge, 7000 sq feet deralict sub-basement unit they could'nt let, Harry seized the opportunity.......
We created one of the first air-conditioned, slot boarded 'cycle havens' in the UK. Complete with computerised stock control, over 200 quality bikes and 50 frames on display plus every garment and gadget you could think of. While the mountain bike boomed, it 'rocked'. We regularly had 50 - 60 customers in at a time and needed 14 staff to service it.
The IRA blow up Manchester, the bomb was less than 200 feet from our front door. Fortunately, thanks to good policing, we were evacuated in time, to Victoria station and thankfully no one was injured. You couldn't say the same for the Corn Exchange !
After a brief stay in Eccles we moved back into the city centre. Lever Street was a modern large 4,000sq foot store with full height windows on 3 elevations.
Two customers helped us immesly during this difficult period. Andrew Booth who promptly let us use his shop in Eccles till we found somewhere else. And Andrew Joseph, who not only pointed me to the Lever Street shop,but got me an un-beleivable deal. In addition he and his brother kindly gave us free storage their nearby premises. I am eternally greatfull for the help and support you gave me
Whitworth Street West