1919 Triumph Number 2 GPO Carrier Tricycle
This GPO parcel delivery trike has a commercial wicker basket measuring 31′ by 24″ by 21″
Like most commercial tricycles of the time, the 26 x 1 3/4 wheels are fitted with solid rubber Avon ‘Cushion’ tyres.
Note the 3″ dome bell.
Compare the picture below, from the British Postal Museum & Archive, of a 1934 Post Office Parcel Delivery trike. As you can see, it does not have the earlier style of solid tyre. Maybe postmen demanded a more comfortable ride by 1934?
Although the BPMA does not identify the marque, it looks to me like a Triumph No. 2. Carrier, a later version of that shown in the catalogue below.
Below you can see the leaf springs between the two front wheels. It has hub brakes on all three wheels.
The saddle is a Brooks B90/3.
This Royal Mail Carrier tricycle was once owned by Christchurch Tricycle Museum, being sold by Roger Street in 1996 with the rest of his collection when the museum closed in 1996.
I visited Roger recently and he kindly allowed me to photograph some relevant ephemera. In due course I’ll build a website dedicated to the (memory of) Christchurch Tricycle Museum, which I very much enjoyed visiting back in the 1980’s.
BRIEF HISTORY OF POST OFFICE TRICYCLES
According to the Postal Heritage Trust, the first use of tricycles by the Post Office to deliver mail was in 1880. In Coventry, postmen riders were paid a weekly allowance to cover the purchase and maintenance of their machines.
A ‘Centre-cycle’ (also known as a ‘Hen-and-Chickens Pentacycle) was used in Horsham district with some success, but apparently postmen reported too great a rate of wear on their trousers when using this machine.
1914 saw the Post Office’s first trials of motorized transport to replace carrier tricycles and bicycles. They put into service six Douglas, ten New Hudson and four Rover motorcycle combinations. A year later they added another Rover combo, plus two Autocarriers (AC) and two Warrick Motor Carriers. Below you can see one of the Royal Mail Warricks.
By 1920, the Post Office was regularly using four-wheelers, though tricycles were retained for local work.
SOURCES: Thanks to Roger Street for the Christchurch postman postcard and the two pictures of Hens-and-Chickens.
Thanks to the British Postal Museum & Archive for the above text – www.postalheritage.org.uk
Warrick Auto Carrier photo from the John Warrick Museum website – http://1914warrick.wordpress.com/