Stuart Purves

Updated 5.30.2004

“Stuart G Purves was a giant amongst Britain’s lightweight builders. In the short time he was making frames he established a huge reputation as one of London’s and Britain’s top frame makers. Not much is known about the man himself. He was 6′. 3 ” tall and weighed 16 stone. His early 1950’s catalogues states that he has been building lightweight racing cycles ever since he left school. In a career of more than 25 years, all the crowned heads of cycledom have won on machines of his design. It is known that he worked for Claud Butlers at the original Manor Street works in Clapham, South London. He was a frame-builder cum welder, cum engineering technician. During World War 2 he was promoted to a managerial position in the firm. As either Works Manager or Design Foreman but following a row with Claud Butler in the late 1940’s, he left Claud’s and set himself up as a self-employed frame-builder. The small business was located at 17 Streatham Hill, London, S.W.2.”
“His outside interests included horse racing and watching cricket and football. Apparently he preferred these pursuits to frame building and his business suffered, with would-be owners waiting for many months for their orders. He then had heart trouble and the frame building business was abandoned. It is rumoured that he finished up working as a turf accountant a occupation that readily suited his love of horse racing.”
“He was the older brother of Jimmy Purves of the Vegetarian C.A.C. who was a post war, R.T.T.C 24-hour champion, and who also died at the early age of 41. This information was taken from a letter in Cycling May 2nd.1981 by a Mr. H.E. Halliday, a former work mate of Stuart’s at Claud Butler’s.”
“From my own records, I have copies of adverts from the 1949 programme of the Brighton to Glasgow Six Day Cycling Race and a advert from Cycling November 15th. 1951. It is generally thought that the firm only survived until 1955. There are 1950 adverts in Cycling for Ephgraves stating that Stuart Purves was Works Manager at the Avely Works. I was told that due to his gigantic reputation he brought a lot of work Les Ephgraves way. Apparently Les was none too pleased with all these orders as he wanted to stay a small scale builder. Stuart Purves left Ephgraves over this disagreement.
He made solos and tandems in either welded lugless form or traditional brazed frames in two lug styles Number 1 and Number 2.”

Mick Butler