GLYNN STOCKDALE, PENNYFARTHING MUSEUM
In 1978 Glynn Stockdale owned an Antique furniture shop on King Street , Knutsford. One day a customer asked if he would like to buy a ‘Penny Farthing', it re-awakened in Glynn a childhood fascination with the big wheeled machines and from that point on the Glynn Stockdale collection began, and the rest, as they say, is history.
He has gone on to collect hundreds of early bicycles and with other like minded enthusiasts, founded the 10-yearly Knutsford Great Race for vintage bike enthusiasts (the next is scheduled for 2020 ).
In 1989 he opened the Penny Farthing Museum , housed in The Courtyard Coffee Shop and Restaurant, set in his old furniture workshop situated in a cobbled courtyard at the rear of 92 King Street.
‘I'd always been fascinated by the big wheel,' says Glynn. ‘Penny farthings were only made for 20 years, from 1871 to 1891, but young Victorians developed a cult following for them and even when they realised the chain-driven bikes were faster, they continued to ride their penny farthings well past their sell-by-date.'
The museum is home to up to 40 examples of this unique Victorian mode of transport, including earlier velocipedes and memorabilia. There are examples of early wooden ‘Hobby Horses', ‘Boneshaker' and the famous ‘Starley Giant' – the largest Penny Farthing ever made. The fascinating collection of ‘Ordinaries' (as Penny Farthings were originally known) contains some of the most collectable and valuable machines still in existence including some of the rarest early wooden machines and children's models.
The collection continues to grow and recent additions include a wooden machine rescued from a barn in France and lovingly restored to go on display at the museum.
The premises are open 7 days a week 9.30 – 4.30 (Sun 10 - 4) from April to November
(closed on Sundays November – March).
Glynn remains a keen enthusiast and rider and can still be spotted atop his Penny Farthing riding in the lanes near his Knutsford home. He has ridden from Land's End to John O'Groats in 1980 and 1984, but this pales into insignificance compared to his 45 day quest to ride from San Francisco to Boston, a distance of 3,358 miles, which he completed in 45 days.
Highlights of the 2010 'Great Race'