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Book Review by Ian Young, ex -President of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.

This is the biography of a unique engineer, designer who combined with these skills latterly when he became a highly respected trials organizer. The 384 pages of this book come from the pen of Kenneth Chandler who has put together this fascinating profile of Harry Baughan. The author has done a vast amount of research to produce a volume packed with numerous drawings, letters and fascinating period photographs. During the Edwardian era there were a plethora of small concerns producing cyclecars and Harry Baughan was one to join their ranks.
Prior to the advent of mass produced cars such vehicles were to find a niche market owing to their comparative low cost. Such vehicles were powered by motor cycle engines and gearboxes. This budget priced form of transport offered little in the way of comfort or weather protection, but owing to their low weight were capable of a good turn of speed.
Our subject inherited an early interest in these vehicles from his father who drove a lightweight Humberette. Young Harry was soon to design and build his first two machines at Pinner, Middlesex, and at a small workshop in the Cotswold in Stroud. Such was his highly inventive mind that at one time he even designed his own carburettor. His cyclecar was entered in local and national sporting events and performed well which resulted in a small number of orders being placed for his vehicles. With the subsequent decline in demand for cyclecars caused by early mass produced cars Harry Baughan turned his attention to motor cycles.
With general engineering as a backdrop to his business he was able to start making a limited number of high quality machines powered by a variety of engines such as Sturmey Archer, Blackburne, and JAP etc. Most of the bikes were made to a specification of the individual customers, many of them planning to use them in local sporting events.
The area around Stroud boasted many motor cycle clubs and the local terrain was idea for demanding trials courses. The bikes carrying his name came to perform well in both local and national events. As time went on Harry Baughan turned his inventive mind to the growing sport of trials riding and organizing such events. The name of Harry Baughan was to come to the fore when he was to design and successfully build a driven sidecar wheel fitting attached to one of his Baughan machines. Other well-known bike manufacturers had tried and failed to make a system that actually worked. Even the mighty Norton concern was to purchase one of his units in an attempt to master the concept. Amazingly, to the surprise of many a Baughan piloted by Ted Morris won the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1933. The subsequent of this win was that certain clubs came to ban entries of riders having machines using this mechanism.
His day-to-day business continued to flourish and eventually ceased making motor cycles. However, he continued to intensify his skill in organizing trials events and for decades to follow he was recognized as an expert in this field by many including the all-important ACU. Oddly enough he had a major dislike of mud claiming that it spoilt the skill of trials riding! Thankfully the original Baughan cyclecar still exists in the hands of a motor sport participant and likewise an excellent example of a Baughan sidecar with the unique driven third wheel can be seen in his home town of Stroud.Writer Ken Chandler, marque specialist for Baughan motor cycles, must be congratulated on producing such a meticulous and through portrait of a very clever man. Students of early motor and motor sport will surely find this a fascinating read.

 
Courtesy of Bob Smith, Editor of 'Cotton Pickings' -
the Journal of the Cotton Owners and Enthusiasts Club - September Edition 2010.
Although not strictly Cotton business we have always taken an interest in motor cycle matters and manufacturers in and around Gloucester. The ‘Pictures from the Past’ in the last journal had a shot of a Baughan motor cycle made in Stroud. One of the famous Baughan sidecar outfits with driven sidecar wheel has been restored and is on long term loan at the ‘Stroud Museum in the Park’, worth a visit if you are in Stroud. To coincide with the handing over of the machine, local author ken Chandler has published a book called ‘Harry Baughan: A Life of Motor Cycling’. The book runs to 384 pages and is illustrated with a vast number of photographs and drawings is the result of many years of research by Ken. The story is a fascinating tale of motor cycle innovation in a period that parallels Bill Cotton’s pre-war business and is covered in great detail by the author. Copies can be obtained from the author at, Walls Quarry Press, 2 Roseleigh Walls Quarry, Brimscombe. GL5 2PD. Ring, 01453 885139. £17.00 Plus £3.00 P&P
 
December Issue of the Automobile by Mike Worthington-Williams.
Harry Baughan was a talented engineer who had previously worked for de Havilland, and his cyclecars reflected his involvement in aviation in some of their design features. They were made in very limited numbers between 1920 and 1929, but the example fielded by Harry himself, MD264, survives to this day, despite having been modified several times in its lifetime.
Baughan Motors had more success with their motor cycles, which were built from 1923 until 1936, albeit in very limited numbers, and with no pretensions to mass production. They were powered by JAP, Blackburne, Python and Sturmey Archer engines, and did well in trials, in which activity Harry himself was heavily involved.
As well as being a company history, therefore, this well researched, fully indexed 384-page paperback is not only a biography of Harry Baughan, it is also an excellent record of the trials scene in the 1920s and 1930s. It chronicles the disputes between the MCC and the A-CU, the rise (and demise) of motor cycle football as a sport, and the conflict between this and the traditional trials element which eventually split the Stroud and District MCC. It also records the successes in competition of the Baughan-designed combinations with sidecar-wheel drive and also details of the cyclecars and motor cycles produced for the original sales ledger. Recommended.
 
"HARRY BAUGHAN – A LIFE OF MOTOR CYCLING" by Bob Light
By Kenneth J Chandler. Softback, 372 pages. Published by Walls Quarry Press,
2 Roseleigh, Walls Quarry, Brimscombe, Stroud, Glos. GL5 2PD. to order visit. www.wqpress.co.uk
My first meeting with Ken Chandler was back in March 1998. Ii was one my early interviews for the book ‘First Rich Mixture’ and I was the guest of Guy Babbage, a lifelong enthusiast who had many stories to tell of motor cycling in and around Stroud in years past.
Guy was very welcoming and explained that another enthusiast would be joining us, a certain Ken Chandler who was researching the history of Baughan motor cycles and was planning to write a book…… It turned out to be a fascinating afternoon. Ken’s enthusiasm was infectious and he was determined to put together the story of Harry Baughan, the people who worked with him and the machines that they made at Baughan Engineering in Stroud. 
What is immediately apparent from this book is that Ken had access to much historical material on the Baughan machines and when he found a gap in the history, he set off to fill it. The late Ted Morris was a leading sidecar driver in Yorkshire and used Baughan machinery so Ken spent a week in Harrogate, found the right people and gathered the material to complete the story.
Harry Baughan moved to Stroud from Middlesex in 1922 and set up his factory. He had constructed four cyclecars in the 1920s and won Gold Medals in the 1922 London-Edinburgh event and the 1923 London-Lands End among others. However he competed only briefly with solo motor cycles and moved more into the organisation of the Western Centre of the A.C.U. with local and national trials and scrambles and much more. In later years he was to play an important role in the organisation of the International Six Days trial.
The Foreword in the book is by John Giles, winner of eleven Gold Medals and three Silver ones in the I.S.D.T. who tells of a problem with the 1953 event in Czechoslovakia. He was picked for the Vase B team but at that time Army personnel would not be allowed behind the Iron Curtain. Then ‘Mr. Baughan’ contacted the War Office, and shortly after John heard from the Military that they would ‘demob’ him for fourteen days and the missed days would be added to his two years service!
So that is Harry Baughan. Successful cyclecar competitor, skilled engineer, highly respected trials and scrambles organiser and much more. Ken Chandler has searched diligently for his material, studied all aspects of his subject’s motor cycling heritage and the result is a book that every serious off-road motor cyclist should have on his bookshelf, it is essential reading.Price, £17.00 plus £3.00 postage and packing.
 
THE story of Stroud’s motorcycle industry has been told for the first time in astonishing detail.
Ken Chandler started researching the Baughan motorcycle factory 20 years ago, and the publication of "Harry Baughan - A Life of Motor Cycling" tells the story of a powerhouse of Stroud’s industrial heritage.
Harry who lived above his brother and sister-in-law's shop Baughan Stores at Walls Quarry, Brimscombe, Baughan was unmarried, and never owned his own home.
But he ran a factory which produced a revolutionary two-wheel drive motorcycle and sidecar outfit, motorcycles and even cyclecars.
Based in Piccadilly Mill, in Lower Street, and eventually Lansdown with lifelong employees Chris Stagg and Bill Hayward, Baughan made motorcycles his life’s work.
He was born in 1895, by the time he died in 1968; his place in the history of British motorcycling was assured.
That was not only due to his drive to build great machines but his belief that competition was crucial to improving the breed and knew every motor cycle factory and competition manager in the country.
As such, he was a kingpin in the running of Great Britain’s International Six Days Trial (ISDT) team, in organising the Welsh Two Day Trial, the British Experts Trial, and the Cotswold Grand National Scramble at Nympsfield, and was a respected force in the sport’s governing body, the ACU (Auto Cycle Union), and was a jury member in the FIM. The famous Baughan sidecar was outlawed, as with its sidecar wheel and rear wheel both powered it had a huge advantage - but by the time it had been legislated out of competition, the furore raised the profile of the Baughan marque.
Harry Baughan’s life, and that of his business, tells the story of the nation’s motorcycle industry.
"HPB" as he was known, started building motorcycles in the 1920s when they were mainly the preserve of those with money. After the Second World War, interest in scrambles as a spectator sport was huge, with thousands watching the nation’s best riders mix it at Nympsfield every summer. And trials were seen as a marketing showcase - Baughan bikes were used to great effect in the Motor Cycling Club, London - Land’s End, London - Edinburgh, London - Gloucester, and won the 1933 Scottish Six Days Trial, using its sidecar-wheel drive.
When he died, the British motorcycle industry was in its death throes. Its best times were behind it but HPB and Stroud had played an important role in those halcyon days.
The Lansdown factory is now flats, and the unique two-wheel drive outfit is in Stroud’s Museum in the Park.
Published by Wall’s Quarry Press, www.wqpress.co.uk, it is priced at £17 and available from James and Owen in London Road, Stroud, also BVM Moto, Bowbridge, M&B Stores and the Kitchen Minchinhampton. (Further details if required by post call 01453 885139). P and P £3.00