H W 'Sammy' Bartleet (1870-1943)

Sammy Bartleet was a former journalist, author, actor, boxer, amateur cycle racer and historic cycle collector who unwittingly formed the basis for Coventry Transport Museum as it now exists.

Born Horace Wilton Bartleet in November 1870 in Australia, he began his cycling career in 1883 at the young age of 13 and by 1889, became a member of the Anerley Bicycle Club at Croydon of which he was to remain part of for the following 30 years. It was here that he became an amateur cycle racer of some note. From 1892 he worked for the Dunlop Company where he remained for 10 years.

He published ‘Bartleet’s Bicycle Book’ in 1931, which covered the history of cycling in great depth, as well listing and describing each of the 70 historic cycles in his own personal collection. It was this very collection, taking some 30 years to compile, that Bartleet presented to the City of Coventry in 1937.

Bartleet was enthusiastically involved with the development of cycling in this country. He raced, toured, was involved in club organisation, and built up an extensive journalistic connection. His knowledge was recognised to the degree that he was asked to serve on deputations to present the views of cyclists to the then Ministry of Transport and elsewhere.

Like other enthusiasts of the time Bartleet accumulated a number of bicycles, but, unlike his contemporaries, did not discard his outdated machines and thus laid the foundation for the collection as it exists at Coventry Transport Museum to this day.

Bartleet died in 1943 aged 72, whilst riding one of his beloved tricycles.
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