Then & Now – Two Grandfathers With 82 Years Between Them

This photo from 1930 was taken in Polperro by John’s father, Victor Winchurch when he was about 16. John’s grandfather, Percy is sitting on stone in front of the house with his wife and mother in-law on either side of him and John’s aunt is the child off to the left. I probably should add that when this photograph was taken, Percy was not a grandfather yet and would not be until John was born twelve years later. (you can double-click for more detail in the image)

I didn’t get the angle quite right, but I took this yesterday of John sitting in the same spot as his grandfather eighty-two years earlier. It’s pretty amazing that the fence in front of house still looks the same.

This photograph was taken in 1932 and has John’s father in the image. You probably can’t pick him out since John looks more like his mother. Take a guess and I’ll tell you later in a comment on this post. One more thing, if you look up to the right you can see a white structure on the hillside and it’s in the photo below with John.

Here’s the same white building in the image with John’s dad and his friends taken eighty years later with John standing near it. The next time we go to Polperro, I’m going to get John to sit where his dad was sitting and shoot it from that angle. I like to do this when I can and have several posts where you can see a then and now shot.

If you click on this link from 2010, you can see a sweet one of John as a boy and some black and white images his father took before John was born alongside my photos of the same places eighty years later.

After seeing the photo on the rock, John and I had almost decided that there was a great deal less vegetation leading into Polperro eighty years ago until we had a look at this photo of his father’s group of friends cycling into Polperro taken on the day of the rock photograph. We walked up this road on the way back to Lansallos yesterday and it’s interesting to see that it’s actually changed very little.

A Family Connection – 105 Years Later

Percy Winchurch - Winchurch Brother's Bicycle Shop 1906

Bicycle parts have been arriving in various sized packages over the last few days as John decided recently to remake his favorite bike. I say favorite because we now have five. That’s right, five bicycles for two people and while we don’t have as many as in the photo above, the garage is looking a bit like a bicycle shop these days.

John’s grandfather Percy probably did a fair amount of bicycle maintenance and building himself back in 1906 when he and his brother Roland owned several bike shops in England. They switched to automobiles well before John was born and he still remembers the garage where they sold and repaired cars until a few years after Percy’s death.

When I talk to people about my new bike and what it’s like to climb the hills with three gears, the men, and it’s usually just the men, will say something like, ” You must have one with Sturmey-Archer gears? ” Not knowing much about bicycles before being gifted with Dora, I’ve found a new level of interest in the history of Sturmey-Archer and 3-speed bikes.

I asked John for a photo of his grandfather’s bike shop the other day and was delighted to see a connection to the past in a way. If you click to enlarge the photo, you can see the wording in the center of the store window advertising Sturmey-Archer 3-speed gears.

While my interest in gears will never equal John’s bicycle knowledge, the writer in me wishes she could chat with the young Percy Winchurch of 1906. I imagine he would have been interested to learn that Sturmey-Archer gears and 3-speed bikes would still be popular despite the ability to choose from more modern bikes with as many as 27 gears for hill climbing and speed.

Based on the stories John tells of the grandfather he loved and admired, I think the 24 year-old Percy would have been most interested in the lovely grandson he would have one day. A first grandchild who would be born when he was 60 and would grow up to do many things, including surprising his American born wife with a gift that would curiously resemble the 3-speed bicycles with Sturmey-Archer gears like those in his shop 105 years earlier.

Here are a few advertisements from a very interesting Sturmey-Archer website.