george formby’s norton
Antiques Roadtrip features a famous Norton

BBC ANTIQUES ROADTRIP

Antiques Roadtrip recently visited the National Motor Cycle Museum which is situated near Solihull. The Road Trip clip highlights Norton motorbikes, especially the Formby Norton International and features a ride on George’s machine. George was well known for his love of luxury motor cars and also enjoyed a range of motorbikes. The Norton was presented to him as a gift by the Norton factory in Birmingham in July 1947. George had been performing in the radio show “Workers Playtime” at the Norton factory and as he was leaving the canteen after the broadcast he was confronted by the Norton factory employees who at a given signal, all parted to reveal the famous Norton machine.

PUBLICITY STUNT

In actual fact, this was a bit of a publicity stunt as George had received the motorbike the previous week when it was delivered to his home in Mere, Cheshire so that it could be registered in Manchester with the number plate HVU 111. Apparently George had a preference for double or triple numbers on all his vehicles. Obviously George got over this superstition by the time he used GF1 and GF2 on his cars!  George kept the machine for less than one year and then sold it in March 1948 for £250 to a pal in his local pub!. This was not the only machine that George owned, one of George’s friends who appeared in numerous Formby films was the fellow actor, Ronald Shiner. Ron spent some leisure time with George and recalls visiting George and the two of them riding around the local area on two Formby machines. “At that time I think he had five motor-bikes and amongst them was a Brough- Superior, an AJS, and a Norton, all in perfect condition and during that weekend he said, “Take one of these machines out, go on take the fast one, the Norton. I said, “What, do you mean the fast one?” and he replied, “We’ll just pop around the lanes”. Now this was most terrifying as he knew the lanes and I didn’t, it was a question of balancing on one foot and leaning this way and that, it was far worse than the TT race.”

OWNED BY GFS MEMBERS

The famous Norton has been in the hands of at least two GFS members, the first was founder member David Hamer who owned the machine for 17 years and once rode it to the Imperial Hotel for a convention! Some years later Bob Norton acquired it. Bob also obtained George’s famous Abbott which he once brought to the Winter Gardens for a convention and allowed members to have a strum and for Dickie Speake to play it on stage. The machine changed hands once again in December 2007 for £29,900.
HVU III

IN MARCH 1948, GEORGE SOLD THE BIKE.

George was having a drink in his local pub and just happened to mention to Ernest that he was thinking of selling the Norton, “If you mean that, I could be interested” said Ernest. The deal was done there and then in the pub with £250 changing hands as the agreed price.
GFS owners Bob Norton at left and David Hamer below.
George and Beryl are presented with the Norton
The famous Norton International
On show - The Norton and the Abbott

BBC ANTIQUES ROADTRIP

Antiques Roadtrip recently visited the National Motor Cycle Museum which is situated near Solihull. The Road Trip clip highlights Norton motorbikes, especially the Formby Norton International and features a ride on George’s machine. George was well known for his love of luxury motor cars and also enjoyed a range of motorbikes. The Norton was presented to him as a gift by the Norton factory in Birmingham in July 1947. George had been performing in the radio show “Workers Playtime” at the Norton factory and as he was leaving the canteen after the broadcast he was confronted by the Norton factory employees who at a given signal, all parted to reveal the famous Norton machine.

PUBLICITY STUNT

In actual fact, this was a bit of a publicity stunt as George had received the motorbike the previous week when it was delivered to his home in Mere, Cheshire so that it could be registered in Manchester with the number plate HVU 111. Apparently George had a preference for double or triple numbers on all his vehicles. Obviously George got over this superstition by the time he used GF1 and GF2 on his cars!  George kept the machine for less than one year and then sold it in March 1948 for £250 to a pal in his local pub!. This was not the only machine that George owned, one of George’s friends who appeared in numerous Formby films was the fellow actor, Ronald Shiner. Ron spent some leisure time with George and recalls visiting George and the two of them riding around the local area on two Formby machines. “At that time I think he had five motor-bikes and amongst them was a Brough-Superior, an AJS, and a Norton, all in perfect condition and during that weekend he said, “Take one of these machines out, go on take the fast one, the Norton. I said, “What, do you mean the fast one?” and he replied, “We’ll just pop around the lanes”. Now this was most terrifying as he knew the lanes and I didn’t, it was a question of balancing on one foot and leaning this way and that, it was far worse than the TT race.”

OWNED BY GFS MEMBERS

The famous Norton has been in the hands of at least two GFS members, the first was founder member David Hamer who owned the machine for 17 years and once rode it to the Imperial Hotel for a convention! Some years later Bob Norton acquired it. Bob also obtained George’s famous Abbott which he once brought to the Winter Gardens for a convention and allowed members to have a strum and for Dickie Speake to play it on stage. The machine changed hands once again in December 2007 for £29,900.
GFS owners Bob Norton at left and David Hamer below.
George and Beryl are presented with the Norton
The famous Norton International
george formby’s norton
Antiques Roadtrip features a famous Norton