Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

42, 44, 46 (13)Regent Street

History of 42 Regent Street


CWN 26.11.1981 suggests that John Howes moved from Norfolk to Cambridge in 1840 and set up business here as a coach builder and wheelwright, becoming Downing College’s first business tenant and in due course the first cycle trading company in the country.



David Warley, 27, upholsterer, b Norfolk

Mary Ann, 24, b Hunts



According to John Howes, talking in 1981 (see above): We are told that in 1868, John went to the Paris Exposition, saw there two wheeled things with a saddle and pedals, came home and built one, and so the bone shaker as it was called, was introduced to this part of the world. By this time, John Howes, son of the founder, would have been firmly established in the business. The next step was the appearance of the Ordinary Bicycle of Penny Farthing as it became known. By 1873 it was decided a show case was needed to display the products and so a shop with a large window was built in front of the workshop.



M E Keynes in A House By The River p152 writes that in 1869 he [J Howes] had produced his first ‘bone-shaker’ bicycle with its steel tyres and wooden wheels, having memorized one he saw in 1867 at the Paris Exhibition. Her father, Professor George Darwin was a keen cyclist and had a great respect for John Howes.

George Darwin joined in 1898 the recently formed Cambridge Cyclist’s Protection Committe. The leader of this new club was John H Barker and meetings were held in his offices at 26 Park Parade.





John Howes, carriage builder









Howes took out a 30 year lease in 1897 on the piece of land next door and built a self contained shop, no.42. The two shops were run together until the lease expired in 1927, and because of the recession, was not renewed.


1901: (13)

Charles J Howes, 42, cycle manufacturer, b Cambridge

Mary E, 41, b Cambridge

Ethel M, 17, b Cambridge

Charles C, 15, b Cambridge

Winifred J, 13, b Cambridge

Sidney R, 10, b Cambridge

Eric K, 6, b Cambridge



(42) John Howes and Sons, cycle manufacturers

(46) Charles J Howes


4/11/1930: In a quiet street in Cambridge, a very charming old lady celebrates her 100th birthday. She is Mrs Howes, widow of the late John Howes head of the bicycle firm in Regent Street. She comes of a long- lived family. She was born in Coronation Street. Her father, John Galley, a reader at the Pitt Press, lived to the age of 86 and her mother to 80. She has still living four sons and three daughters, 23 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Her memory is still good and she has vivid memories of her girlhood. She was present at the dinner on Parker’s Piece to celebrate Queen Victoria’s coronation, when her father was one of the carvers. (Cambridge Press)



(42) J Sanders, seed merchants

[James Sanders had acquired the nursery originally owned by Jabez Chater in West Road, called the Gonville Nursery]

(42) City of Cambridge Liberal Association

(44) John Howes, cycle dealers

(46) Kwick Cleaners


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing

Dear Visitor,


Thank you for exploring historical Cambridgeshire! We hope you enjoy your visit.


Did you know that we are a small, independent Museum and that we rely on donations from people like you to survive?


If you love Capturing Cambridge, and you are able to, we’d appreciate your support today.


Every donation makes a world of difference.


Thank you,

The Museum of Cambridge