Tom, born in 1929, began his apprenticeship in 1949 with PARIS, originally employed as a frame filer “doing all the little bits for other frame builders”. After a year Tom built his own frame, a standard PARIS lugless club frame. After this, Tom began framebuilding full time until the firm ceased trading. After this Tom worked at Macleans and FW Evans. In 1971 Tom began work as an independent frame builder, making frames on demand for Pat Hanlon, then began working as a master builder for Condor Cycles. It was here that Tom met Michael Kemp, and amateur rider who had a passion for PARIS Galibier, and together with Monty Young they formed the PARIS Lightweight Cycle Company Limited in 1981.
Between 1983 and 1987 frames were built solely by Tom and done freehand.
Darren met Tom in 1982 at Covent Garden Cycles, when Darren worked there as a ‘Saturday boy’. After this Darren became a regular at Tom’s workshop observing and becoming ever more mesmerised by Tom’s work – Darren ordered a total of 6 bikes over the next few years for his own personal use.
In 1997 Darren approached Tom asking for yet another bicycle and also requested to assist in the making of the frame. This was met with some reluctance as Tom was of the old guard where frame builders did not reveal their secrets! Darren therefore resorted to cash bribery!!
Six months later Tom semi retired and visited Darren at Chaingang’s workshop asking if he could assist a few days a week in his spare time. Tom spent the next 5 years everyday in Chaingang’s workshop until he retired.
Darren visits Tom regularly to this day, and they remain great friends.