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Social History Gallery

Available as Framed Prints, Photos, Wall Art and Gift Items

Choose from 7 pictures in our Social History collection for your Wall Art or Photo Gift. Popular choices include Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Posters and Jigsaw Puzzles. All professionally made for quick delivery.


Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker), Cornwall Works, Birmingham, England Featured Social History Print

Bicycle (Velocipede or Boneshaker), Cornwall Works, Birmingham, England

In September 1870, this velocipede was ridden by Sir Richard Tangye from Truro to Newquay, bringing the news of the Battle of Sedan to the town. Tangye's Cornwall Works in Birmingham built large numbers of velocipedes, paying a royalty to the French Velocipede Company in order to make the bicycles. The five sons of Joseph Tangye senior, an Illogan miner, commenced their engineering and manufacturing business together in Birmingham in 1856. James (1825-1912), the eldest, was very skilled with the lathe; Joseph (1826-1902) was the creative engineer; Richard (1833-1906) dealt with public relations and sales; George (1835-1920) was the businessman; while Edward (1832-1909), a Quaker, soon left to found his own business. Velocipedes, also known as 'Boneshakers', due to their iron 'tyres', were one of the many things that were manufactured at the Cornwall Works. The business also provided the hydraulic rams required to launch the Great Eastern, Brunel's ill-fated steel ship in 1857-1858, and to raise Cleopatra's Needle to its present position on the London Embankment in 1878. The first direct-acting steam pumps in Europe were made at the Cornwall Works in 1867 and the firm produced James Tangye's horizontal steam engines from 1869. By 1876 the firm employed 1300 workers. The Tangyes were also philanthropists and from 1880 were founders and major benefactors of the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art. TRURI : 1937.34

© RIC, photographer Mike Searle