1890 Hillman Herbert & Cooper ‘CATFORD’ PREMIER

1890 Hillman Herbert & Cooper ‘CATFORD’ PREMIER 

‘Model C’ Cross frame Safety aka The ‘Holbein No 1’

22” Frame. 30″ Front Wheel. 28″ Rear Wheel

Montague Holbein was the leading road racer in the early days of the sport. British cyclists dominated, and they took the first four places in the inaugural Bordeaux-Paris road race in 1891. Holbein came second. The featured photo shows him in 1891 (this bicycle is not a Premier). His speciality was long-distance endurances races; he won 24 of them on the Great North Road and at Herne Hill Velodrome. In total he established 32 British cycling records. He often rode a Premier. (The Great North Road traditionally started at Smithfield Market in London, and was the route used by mail coaches to Edinburgh. In 1829, with the building of the new Post Office at St Martin’s-le-Grand, they switched to an alternative route, which is now the A1).

Having introdced the first successful safety bicycle in 1886 – the ‘Premier’ cross frame – Hillman Herbert & Cooper were in the forefront of cycle design and innovation. Their Premier ‘Model C’ was a ‘semi-diamond’ – with a traingulated rear end for extra support, this short-lived design in the evolution of bicycles was the bridge between cross frames and diamond frames.

The first ‘Model C’ had an open steering head. This is the second pattern, with the latest ball bearing steering head and upper and lower frame support stays. Premier had a strong export market, and they named their ‘Model C’ the ‘Holbein’ in Holland and the ‘Catford’ in the USA – Holbein raced for the Catford Cycle Club.

This Premier now resides in a museum in Russia.