Friday, 27 August 2010

Vintage Motorcycle Photographs from the Lake District

This fabulous B&W image was taken on the famous Hardknot Pass during a reliability trial in 1928 and was later used as a publicity shot for BSA motorcycles. Quite humbling to see that the road was still nothing more than a dirt track at this time, a far cry from the tarmac road that now graces Hardknot and Wrynose Passes. 

Hardknot Pass has become something of a challenge for modern motorists and motorcyclists whenever they visit the Lakes and whenever I visit there is always a distinctive smell of burnt clutch and/or brakes in the air. I have to be honest and tell you that I fell off my old XS650 on Hardknot a few years ago. I was trying to accelerate out of one of the incredibly steep hairpin bends, found a false neutral and ended up rolling back into the verge rather than going forwards!

This evocative hand tinted photograph shows Jack and Frank Chiswell, the broadsiding brothers from Preston Speedway taking a break in the South Lakes whilst on their way to the Barrow speedway track in 1930. Once again, the road bares no resemblance to the modern main road from Kendal to Barrow and their means of transport is very different to the modern speedway riders fully equipped van or motor home.


  1. Love that bottom shot
    Do you have it HiRes?
    it worth a story!

  2. Hi Ben, I've definitely got an A4 copy of the original print which is on display over the fireplace in Jack's nephews house. The two brothers were real pioneers of their time and built their own bikes too, One of them went on to race midget speedway cars too.

  3. Agreed, great shot. I really ought to drop by here more often. Good work BCB.

  4. Thanks for the compliment Mick, drop by anytime


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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.