Friday, August 26, 2011

Where in London? Part IV

We had conjectured that the building at 5-9 Hatton Wall looked old enough to have been the Royal Enfield London depot and showroom before World War II. Now we can confirm this is the case.

This is a picture from the 1920's and it is clearly the same building.

What is intriguing is that the ground floor was the showroom, where you would go check out bike to buy, and the upper floors were the "depot" where repairs were made. Which begs the question: how did they get the bikes up there to have them repaired?

I want to call your attention to the little entrance on the left, better visible in the modern picture, it opens to an alley that turns into an open street called Hatton Place. That alley led to the back of the building. There they had the most ingenious mechanism, as illustrated in the following series of photos. Essentially a lift mechanism emerged from the building to pick the bike up! I'm dying to get back to London some time in the future and go check out if there is anything left. I could surely mesmerize the current tenants with these pictures!

First step: you arrive with your trusty 6hp sidecar, for which nothing is impossible, needing repairs. You ring a bell (or whistle a tune, clap your hands, who knows?),

Then you notice something protruding from above,

Your bike is picked up,

And you are on your way to get a nice cup of tea while they work on your bike!

The lift was provided by the Marryat-Scott lift company. The company was taken over by the multinational Kone in 1979.


  1. A fascinating find, Jorge. But where there is a will there is a way. Years ago I was helping a daughter move. After we struggled to get a double bed mattress to the third floor of her ancient townhouse, damaging the narrow, twisting stairway walls in the process, a neighbor came over to explain how it was supposed to be done. Turns out, a "window" and faux balconey at the back of the third floor bedroom was removable. Once out, a mattress would have passed through the opening easily. We were supposed to have pulled the bed up with a rope.

  2. From where did you find all these details? really amazing!!!! you are a genius Jorge



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