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Rare Sheffield Motorcycle to be displayed at Kelham Island Museum

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An exciting project will get underway at Kelham Island Museum this summer.  Local enthusiast Chris Rogers, with funding from his employer – Sheffield company H.E.Barnes, has purchased a rare Dunelt motorcycle which needs complete restoration.  With several local businesses offering their support and expertise, the restoration process will be documented at Kelham Island Museum and the motorcycle put on public display before, during and after!

Dunelt was a Sheffield based motorcycle and bicycle manufacturer, founded by steelmakers Dunford & Elliot in 1919.  They began making motorcycles in their Birmingham factory and also produced good quality sidecars.

The firm won many prestigious titles and trophies and in 1924, a Dunelt motorcycles was the first to cross the desert from Cairo to Siwa and back.

They were also one of the first manufacturers to market motorcycles to women.  Suzanne Kroerner from Germany rode a Dunelt non-stop from Berlin to Birmingham in 1927.

In 1931 the manufacture was moved from Birmingham to Sheffield and the motorcycles were named Sheffield-Dunelt for a few years until it changed back to Dunelt.  The range then reduced considerably and 1935 was the final year of production.  The company went on to produce outboard motors for boats.

A handful of different models survive today and are revered by owners and enthusiasts alike.

The model now owned by H.E.Barnes is the 1932 V5 with a Sturmey-Archer 600cc sidevalve engine and gearbox.  It was one of the last machines made in Sheffield and is one of just two known to still exist (and thought to be the most complete example).  It’s the deluxe version with electric miller lights and chrome tank with two tone Crystalac paintwork.  It was the largest capacity motorcycle made by Dunelt and was ideal for sidecars.  It was found on a farm in northern Sweden where it had been stored since before the Second World War.  Nothing much is known of its history but many Dunelts were exported to Sweden due to the good network Dunford & Elliot had established when importing Swedish iron ore for steelmaking.

Kelham Island Museum are thrilled to be involved in this unique project.  Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust is about the people, power and innovation behind Sheffield’s industrial story.  We are delighted to be highlighting the current innovation, skills and industrial passion in the city through this restoration – and can’t wait to see the process unfold.

The museum is already home to several Sheffield motorcycles including a 1922 Wilkin and two 1926 Ner-a-Car models.

The 1932 Dunelt will be on display for the first time during the upcoming 1940s weekend ‘Vintage Island’ on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July!



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