Warrick cycles

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The Warrick Bicycles company was started by John Warrick, the son of a Reading bargee. He was originally a gunsmith, being apprenticed to William Soper and the two had considerable success with manufacturing complex, very accurate but slightly unreliable rifles. John Warrick himself was a member of the Berkshire Volunteers and was a superb marksman which proved invaluable in promoting the company as he won many medals and competitions.

After some years the market in guns declined and Warrick turned his attention to the growing trade of bicycle manufacturing and he used both the Warrick and Monarch brands in their factory on the Caversham Road, Reading. The factory lasted until the 1970s, passing on to William Warrick, his son. They exported bicycles and it is known that they even supplied Orville and Wilbur Wright's cycle business.

The company specialised in delivery and later motorized tricycles, especially for ice-cream and for food delivery although they did supply bodies such as the Army Cycle Corps and several department stores. One of their bicycles can be found in Reading Museum. Many were used by ice cream vendors in the mid-twentieth century. Many of these were requisitioned in the Second World War to act as aircraft simulators, with radio equipment in the ice cream box and with vision restricted so that they could only be driven by instructions.

The Managing Director for some time was Horace Lush of Albert Road Wokingham, who had worked his way up from clerk. The trade mark on Warwick bicycles was a metal triangle on the top of the rear mudguard of the cycle.

They also constructed batteries for electric cars and vans, although their early attempts at producing electric cars themselves were less successful.

Whilst their factory was located on the Caversham Road by Northfield Road, they ran a shop in Reading at 24, St Mary's Butts, (next door to the family home, now the site of a delicatessen) and on the Edgware Road in London. In later years they stopped making bicycles and moved on to enamelling, electroplating and other contract work, including making some parts for the prototype of the Concorde aircraft.

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