London Motorcycle Museum fights on, but Reg Allen bike business is to close

Ian Kerr sorts fact from fiction as he interviews London Motorcycle Museum founder Bill Crosby about the impending closure of his Reg Allen Triumph spares business while still keeping fingers crossed about the future of the museum itself.

Way back in 1897, when motorcycles were in their infancy, the great American humourist and author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was in London trying to raise money to pay off his debts.

The Reg Allen premises – a proper old-fashioned motorcycle shop.

A rumour was started that he was gravely ill and had then died, leading to his often misquoted saying: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

What he actually said was, “The report of my death was an exaggeration” – a subtle difference, maybe, but it changes how the news is perceived.

The original shop, with the confectionery store alongside.

So when Bill Crosby announced that he was shutting up his Reg Allen shop, people wrongly assumed that the London Motorcycle Museum was also being closed, because Bill is its founder and main driving force.

An article appeared on the web mentioning the museum alongside the news about the shop, and reporting that the museum was in need of funds in order to keep paying the ridiculous yearly bill charged by Ealing Council, but that has been true for the past three or four years.

Bill Crosby behind the counter of his shop.

All of a sudden there was flood of people stating that they intended to visit the museum before it closed, and asking where they would get their Triumph spares from when the Reg Allen business was closed?

Just some of the machines on display inside the London Motorcycle Museum.

Funny how people react when they are going to lose something they have not supported while it was in existence!

Read more and view more images in the August 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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