The Premier Cycle Co was proud of its Royal connection. As well as providing bicycles for the Royal Family and the British aristocracy, according to the list of patrons below the company also supplied various military regiments, including The Black Watch, The Scots Greys, The Grenadier Guards, The Coldstream Guards and The Second Middlesex. (The Coldstream Guards are listed in Premier’s List of Patrons for 1910, but not in the 1914 list below).
It’s unlikely that all these patrons approached Premier individually, ie preferring this company rather than all the other leading manufacturers. The usual practice for cycle manufacturers was to provide each patron with a bicycle on approval, with an option to either return the bicycle after trying it out, buy it outright, or purchase it on hire purchase. Whether patrons remained in such a list if they used the bicycle but then returned it without purchase is open to question. In any case, I’m sure the company’s arrangements with titled customers was quite flexible.
1914 Premier Model No 6 Lady’s Popular
Premier patent 3 Flat Section Mudguards
Premier Divided Rubber Pedals
Premier 3 Coil Saddle
This Lady’s Popular Premier retains its unique components, such as the unique Premier 3 flat section mudguards and very attractive Premier pedals, celluloid tipped roller levers, and Premier 3 Coil Saddle. The chaincase, which would be supplied to lady’s bicycles in either metal, leather or cellluloid, has been removed, revealing what Premier describe as their straight arm chainwheel, which came into use at this time and was generally fitted to the cheaper models and those that originally had chaincases. The ‘hockey stick’ half chainguard is a later addition. The kangaroo head badge is just about visible.
It’s no longer common to find a bicycle retaining such original parts, but more likely to happen with one of the upmarket manufacturers, if for no other reason than each top manufacturer’s components were unique to their own brand. Unique components, made in the manufacturer’s own factory, prevented counterfeiters selling a badly-made bicycle with one of their transfers – with unique components a counterfeit bicycle would not look like the true bike.
During WW1, many more women used bicycles for errands. As a Sunbeam catalogue of the era commented:
‘The war has brought parcel carriers into fashion. Ladies are now using bicycles for shopping.’
As you can see, this Lady’s Premier is fitted with a rear carrier of the period.