James Cycle Co. Ltd

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

One file containing copy memo heading showing the Birmingham factory of J. T. James, c.1900; four 19th and early 20th century photographs of John Thomas James senior with his two sons, c.1865; John Thomas James (1889-1956), on a motor cycle, Thomas Dyas (father in law of John Thomas James junior), and an unidentified family group; typescript entitled 'Book One James Family History', concerning John and Elizabeth James of Fen End, Warwickshire, and their children (one of whom was John Thomas, founder of J. T. James cycle and motor car rim manufacturer, and another Henry William (Harry), the founder of James Cycle Company), and grandchildren, written by Helen A. Davis, a great grandchild, 1991. It includes copies of of letters and photographs. Article entitled History of the James Cycle Co Ltd, by F. J. Urry, the Cycling Journalist, who first steered a James bicycle in 1896, then aged 55, post 1940. Magazine article about the James Company, September 1987.

Letter from Gerry Moore of the Frank Patterson Appreciation Society to David Hibberd, July 1993, referring to his exhibition of Frank Patterson drawings in Bury St Edmunds and to a descendant of the James cycle family. First number of The Society of Cycling Artists' and Illustrators (sic) Magazine, June 1994, which includes Frank Patterson drawings.

Stapled photocopy entitled "Memorabilia 1942 1958", recording programmes of events etc. of the British League of Racing Cyclists from 1940-1959.

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry James (1860-1905) started making his cycles about 1880 in a small factory in Constitution Hill, Birmingham.

By 1890 he had moved to larger premises in Sampson Road North, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, and the James Cycle Company was established in 1897. However, he was a sick man and retired as Managing Director in 1898. In 1908, after Harry James's death, the Company built new works at Greet. In 1902 a young engineer named Frank Kimberley was engaged: he was later to design the first James motorcycle, He retired in 1955, by which time the firm had been taken over by the AMC Company. On its failure in 1966, James was no more. Harry James's brother, John Thomas James (1861-1902), founded the Birmingham Rim Works, in Loveday Street, Birmingham. He manufactured cycle and motor cycle rims for tyres and after his death in 1902, Harry probably ran his firm which was re-named James H. and Co. (Rims).


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see http://www.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/mrcclass.shtml. It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by the National Cycle Archive, 27 July 1993.

Other Finding Aids

Authority records exist for Harry James (GB 152 AAR2201), John Thomas James (GB 152 AAR2203), James Cycle Co. Ltd. (GB 152 AAR2204), Birmingham Rim Works (GB 152 AAR2205), James H and Co. (Rims) (GB 152 AAR2206), and Frank Patterson (GB 152 AAR2269).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Other deposits by National Cycle Archive (MSS.328).