It’s the stuff of legends. In 1885 John Boultbee Brooks arrived in Birmingham with just £20 in his pocket to start a small business in horse harnesses and general leather goods. And in 1866, when JB Brooks & Co. was established on Great Charles Street in Birmingham, an unknown threat was that the business would survive for only as long as Brooks’ horse did – circa 1878.
When the death of his dear horse and the inability to afford another forced him to change how he commuted to work, it also forced a change in his company’s artisanal direction. No longer able to commute by horse and saddle but on a borrowed bicycle with a seat so uncomfortable, Brooks went to work on what would be in 1882, the first Brook’s saddle patent ever established.
Yielding much success and joy to cyclists all over Britain, JB Brooks & Co. became the unsurpassed leader in beautiful leather handcrafted saddles. It was a place where traditional techniques of creating leather saddles were passed down from one generation to the next, sealing its history as the most beautiful handmade saddle the bicycle ever saw.
Enter B1866 – described as the “Brooks Cathedral”, it is a culmination of 150 years of the Brooks brand and it’s traditions and a very dangerous place for anyone with even the tiniest of a cycling addiction to accessorizing his or her steel horse.
What you can expect is a tricked out shop that is modern but quintessentially old English featuring paintings of John and his son, Boultbee Brooks, and curated cycling bits that will make a grown man or woman cry.
As you enter, prepare yourself for the full range of Brooks saddles sitting quietly against a sandblasted white brick wall calling out to you with their discreet “buymes”. You will also find bags – both traditional and new, repair kits, books & magazines, John Boultbee clothing (the Cambridge Rain Cape will have you begging for rain on your next cycle) and all other Brooks accessories that the brand has become respected for.
B1866 is more than a place for Brooks fans. It’s a place where 150 years of excellent craftsmanship and modern day functionality meet. And it’s been said that after John Boultbee Brooks filed his first saddle patent on the 28th of October 1882, waddling cyclists everywhere rejoiced and the new product was a roaring success.
It would seem that nothing much has changed after 150 years.
36 Earlham Street
London WC2H 9LH
T. +44 (0) 20 7836 9968
Monday to Saturday | 10am to 7pm
Sunday | 12pm to 6pm