Tuesday 1 July 2014

Blocks from down under ... 1921/22 Norton Models

-SG- 'Down under' as we say in the UK rather sweepingly to describe Australasia, many houses and commercial properties were - and for that matter still are - built of wood, on substantial wooden piles.  There are various reasons for this which no doubt informed residents of New Zealand and Australia could expound on but perhaps this would be of only passing interest to site visitors! However, a result of this trend is that there is often a large space beneath the ground floor which is an admirable place to store things which are too good to chuck out but no longer needed for day-to-day activities. Needless to say, complete bikes have been resurrected from below-floor storage areas and indeed, a friend of mine in Auckland has an ex-John Hempleman head on his early sixties Manx Norton which came from just such a resting place.

Peter Thompson (Thompson's Motor Cycle Museum, Palmerston North) is well known in the area but it came as a pleasant surprise when he was given some early twenties printing blocks depicting most of the Norton range of 1921 or 1922, by a builder who was working on a local commercial property. At one stage, this had apparently housed a printing firm but this had long since been replaced by other tenants. And the blocks - they were found, with a lot of other miscellaneous stuff, below the floor! Many thanks to Peter for the resultant images attached.