Book Description


BROUGH, George. Typed letter signed (‘George Brough’) to Roy Turner (‘Dear Mr Turner’), Brough Superior Works, Vernon Road, Basford, Nottingham, 3 March 1969. Quarto (253 x 202mm), one page with printed letterhead, one autograph correction. With typed envelope with printed text ‘Brough Superior’ on flap, postmarked 3 March 1969. (Folded for dispatch, envelope torn when opened.) [With:]

A printed brochure advertising Ronald Clark’s book Brough Superior: The Rolls-Royce of Motor Cycles (Norwich, 1964). Oblong agenda octavo, 4pp. on a bifolium. Half-tone illustrations depicting George Brough. (A few light spots.) [And:]

A collection of three press clippings related to George Brough, Brough Superior motorcycles, and T.E. Lawrence: ‘Time to Remember’ (unidentified newspaper, dated in pencil 2 January 1979; not traced in O’Brien), ‘Brough, the Bike that’s Fit for the Hero of Arabia’ (Daily Mail, 26 March 1994; O’Brien H1721), and ‘Lawrence’s Brough’ (Old Bike Mart, October 1998; not in O’Brien). (Some creasing and browning.)

Provenance: Roy Turner, Nottingham (1926-2012, recipient of letter).
Dealer Notes
George Brough (1890-1970) was born in Nottingham to a father who had established a motorcycle business in the city. After a period working for the family business, George Brough established his own motorcycle company in 1921, producing machines which were intended (as the company’s advertising claimed) to be ‘the Rolls-Royce of motor cycles’. Brough was not only the designer and manufacturer of the Brough Superior, but also an award-winning racer, who became the fastest rider in the world in 1928. The Brough Superior soon established itself as the pre-eminent British motorcycle and attracted the attention of T.E. Lawrence, who became the company’s best-known patron – Lawrence owned a total of seven Brough Superiors, and had an eighth machine on order when he died in a crash while riding his SS100 model. In 1926 Lawrence wrote to Brough with a testimonial which expressed his appreciation of the Brough Superior: ‘[y]our present machines are as fast and reliable as express trains, and the greatest fun in the world to drive: – and I say this after twenty years’ experience of cycles and cars. […] The S.S. 100 holds the road extraordinarily. It’s my great game on a really pot-holed road to open up to 70 m.p.h. or so and feel the machine gallop: and though only a touring machine it will do 90 m.p.h. at full throttle’ (quoted in J.M. Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T.E. Lawrence (London, 1989), p. 774).

This letter was written by Brough in answer to one from Roy Turner (who was also a native of Nottingham), whose interest in Lawrence began while he was serving in Palestine with the Royal Engineers in circa 1945-1948 and continued into the late 1990s. In his letter Brough apologises for his slow reply, due to his and his wife’s illnesses, but promises that ‘I will telephone you when Mrs. Brough has recovered and shall be only too pleased to have a chat with you. In the meantime I am enclosing a brochure regarding Mr. Ronald Clark’s book on the Brough Superior, which mentions Lawrence of Arabia’. The brochure (which is not recorded by O’Brien) remains with the letter, and they are accompanied by a small group of press clipping. These include one from the Daily Mail with a letter from Jeremy Wilson answering the question from a reader ‘What became of the Brough Superior motorcycle T.E. Lawrence was riding when he was killed in 1935?’. Wilson – who noted that ‘each [Brough superior] was made to fit the owner. For Lawrence, that meant smaller wheels to accommodate his 5ft 6in frame’ – wrote that ‘[t]he motorcycle [Lawrence] was riding, a 1932 SS100 model, wasn’t seriously damaged and, after repair at the Brough works in Nottingham, was resold to dealers King and Harper of Cambridge. Its history in the next 20 years is unknown but the machine was discovered in a dismantled state in the Fifties by Les Perin, of Portsmouth. It was made roadworthy and sold in 1977 to its present owner, John Weekley, who lives not far from where the accident occurred’.

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Author BROUGH, George
Date 1969 / 1964
Publisher [see details below]

Price: £39.50

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