Hitchin historians appeal for help identifying motorcyclist in old photograph

Do you recognise this man? Hitchin Historical Society wants to find out more about this photograph o

Do you recognise this man? Hitchin Historical Society wants to find out more about this photograph of a man on a Squire's Motorcycle milk float. Picture: Courtesy of TN Thomson - Credit: Archant

Do you recognise the man in this photograph – sitting smartly on a Hitchin motorcycle milk float just under a century ago?

He is the subject of one of many photographs Hitchin Historical Society’s members have looked at while researching a new book, set to come out later this year.

The new book, Discovering More About Hitchin, is a sequel to 1995’s Discovering Hitchin – which broke new ground in the town’s historiography.

The society’s Bridget Howlett told the Comet that this particular picture had been discovered in the collection held by the Thomson family.

“One of our authors discovered this 1920s photograph of a Triumph motorcycle sidecar, supplied by Jock Thomson to Squire’s Dairies of Bucklersbury, as a milk float,” she said.


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“On the back of the photograph are the words ‘rat yard’ and the stamp ‘JN Thomson, Motor Engineer, 30, Station Road, Hitchin’.

“Jock Thomson started his business repairing motorcycles in buildings behind The Radcliffe Arms in Walsworth Road – formerly Station Road – and later moved further along the road to Castle’s Yard before he bought his garage in Queen Street in 1935.

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“The name of the handsome, suitably-attired rider is a mystery. Does anyone recognise him from their family album?

“We would love to know who he was and whether the photograph was indeed taken behind The Radcliffe Arms, or whether it was elsewhere in Hitchin.”

The new book is the work of 15 main contributors, but there has been help, advice and material from many more.

Most of those involved are members of the Hitchin Historical Society, and all are interested in the preservation and promotion of the town’s unique history and identity.

The 1995 book Discovering Hitchin featured an eclectic collection of areas and topics not much covered previously, through a mix of material from personal collections.

The new book, Discovering More About Hitchin, also draws on a mix of personal collections and little-used sources to explore the stories of Hitchin topics that may often go unregarded.

The editors are Bridget Howlett, Pauline Humphries and Mike Clarke.

If you think you can help identify the motorcyclist in this photograph, call 01438 866083 or email jp.asher@archant.co.uk.

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