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1921 Dene V Twin Pictures

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Many thanks to Eric Smith for these pictures and background information.

a Dene V Twin 996 cc manufactured in Newcastle upon tyne in 1921 and

A couple of pic’s of my 1921 Dene V Twin 996cc, one at the Beamish Museum Vintage, the other at my house in U.S. and one on the racetrack at Mid Ohio race track  at the AMA Vintage weekend.  I am part of the family which manufactured these and other machines in Newcastle from 1897 to 1923.

The Beamish open air Museum actually has one of the three remaining V twins and a single cylinder Dene of 1912 in their display plus a lot of the remains of the Dene Motor Companies last shop from the Haymarket in Newcastle.

The company began in the late 1800’s as the “Jesmond Cycle Company” with James Moore as the original owner, they made the a- typical motor bicycle with Fafnir and Precision engines until 1897 when the Jesmond was wound up and the Dene Motor Company started, Jim Moore was an innovative pioneer and responsible for many advances in design, specifically making real motorcycle frames as opposed to Bicycles with engines. He appeared in many articles in “The Motorcycle” periodical of the time. In addition he is also the holder of the original patent for Ball race headstocks for motorcycles, amongst others.

The Dene proceeded originally with single cylinder machines of four stroke design which had great acclaim for ruggedness of design and reliability and competed in many trials of machines nation wide winning many awards.

The final designs of the Dene used JAP V twins of various capacities and were highly regarded as great Touring machines Ending production in 1923. Of the three in existence, mine is one, one is at Beamish and the other WAS residing with a family member in Bristol but I have lost track of it, if any of your readers have knowledge of its whereabouts I would be grateful to know as I retain the majority of the Historical Ephemera for the Marque including the register for the VMCC (which I would like to return to them with complete information).

My part in all of this being that my family, grandfather and Great Uncle Norman Moore, continued operation of the Dene in Newcastle as the premier supplier of all noteable Marques until 1972, when of course the British Industry went base over apex and was finished.

I hope this is of interest to your clientele, should anyone have questions relating or information to impart please feel free to have them contact me.

I am in the process of compiling the significant information pictures and detail in my possession into a historical document and or website so that this may not be lost to the sands of time.

  • Manufacturer: Dene
  • Model: V Twin
  • Engine: 996cc V Twin
  • Year: 1921
  • Decade: 1920s
  • Machine Type: Road

22 Responses to “1921 Dene V Twin”

  1. George Partis on May 25, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    I have a photo of my Grandfarther on his Dene Motorcycle and sidecar reg.no.X664 i wonder if this is still in existance.

  2. norman forrest on October 13, 2011 @ 10:14 am

    I recall that back in the sixtys that “the Dene”still had a running vee twin with a flat side car which they used to collect and deliver bikes and of course a good advert for the company
    this is more than likely the restored one that is in Beamish Museum
    along with all the shop fittings and stock from the shop in the Haymarket in their reconstucted exhibit
    even the overhead ball track system used to convey the cash and bills to the accounts and back to the various counter stations is there

    the old Dene workshops which were in “back” Jesmond road had to be cleared to build the central motor way in the early seventies
    the base ment of the building had mountains of frames, engines, parts etc for Denes even though they had been out production for decades
    as well as old parts,frames bikes of other makes
    but I suppose that It would have not worth any ones while to clear the stuff out
    so the building was demolished and the cellar bulldozed into the ground
    so today the motorway has mountains of bikes and parts under its foundations

    • I have the Dene which was used as the parts runner for the business, I also have the sidecar (Mills Fulford)..Which still gets ridden a couple of times a year
      Still wondering if George Partis is around ??
      Most of the parts etc were transferred to the Haymarket Shop and in 1972 some went to the Beamish Museum..

      • Rick Thurgood on January 24, 2018 @ 2:11 am

        Hello Eric,
        I would be very interested to view a photo of your Mills Fulford Sidecar, I have a 1923 model fitted to my V-Twin BSA , I purchased the combination in Colchester from the second owner in 1965. I find information on Mills-Fulford very limited even on the net and have yet to see a side car the same as the one I have. Any information you could let me have would be most appreciated.
        Best Regards, Rick Thurgood,

    • bryan spence on April 21, 2012 @ 9:42 am

      Just to set the records straight i was apprenticed to the DENE (newcasle) MOTOR CO>
      from 1950 until 1956.to my knowledge there was no cellar full of frames etc.There was an OIL CELLAR which housed the drums of GRAN PRIX,XL,XXL and HY-POY oils plus the compressorand central heating boiler
      All the old spares ,tools and bits were kept in the loft and one and 2 DENES M/cs at the top of the office stairs
      We all like to have storys of hidden bikes and cars buried under building and gardens but the frames story is a myth because there is no road where the DENE stood just a block of private flats. In fact i was showing my wife just a month ago exactly wher my bench was.HOW SAD IS THAT
      Anyway hope this helps with history of the DENE i had a lot of great memorys and “daft carryon working there
      Regards Bryan Spence

    • bryan spence on March 6, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

      bryan spence

      Hi Norman,
      Again for the records the bike that had a open s/car on was a 1929 BSA V TWIN. SV that could carry 2 bikes I;m not sure whether it was a 990cc 1100cc but it also pulled a trailer to carry a outfit ,and the rider was Roy Bull who was with the Dene for years.He ended in the mid 50′s riding a Panther 100 withe a closed box s/car collecting parts from the Haymarket shop
      Hope this helps with history,

  3. My grandad ( J H Wood) bought a Dene in 1911, he lived in stanley a couple of miles from Beamish, Reg number BB 523. If anyone has more info on this I would be pleased to hear.
    I’ll post the photo up .

  4. Bob Rodgers on July 3, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

    I am interested in any photographs of the shop, I have a 1922 spare parts Catalogue for marques other than Dene, which is from the Handyside’s Arcade address. Just for interest I had two motorcycling brothers, Arthur who worked at Victor Proucts and Harry. Arthur had a house in Brunton Street Percy Main, backing onto the railway line, recognisable by the bike parts on the shed roof and an A10 rig parked outside.

  5. What interesting reading and a couple of posts that tested my ever-diminishing brain cells.

    Like Brian Spence, I ‘worked’ in the workshop’s stores along with Norman (put your chit in and f¥%# off) Beadle. If something could be re-used and fitted to a repair job, it was – charged to the job as second hand. No jiggery pokery there.

    Speaking of the Haymarket’s ball runner, I wonder what happened to the
    wire and cup system that whisked the cash cup up to the office? Pull the lever too hard and if would crash up through the office floor and moving too fast to be trapped, come flying back down to the reception counter. Meanwhile, the girls in the office had to mop their tea up many a time!

    • Hi Les
      I remember the cash system always found it fascinating!! I had a lot a really great times down at the shop and some very funny ones too…time moves on!!
      Are there any photos of the Dene in the 1960s I can’t seem to find any?

  6. Jonathan Hill on November 19, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    Hi all,
    I am the VMCC marque specialist for Jesmond and Dene motorcycles, a job previously held by my father Dr Nick Hill until his death in 2002. He is pictured above on BB95 now owned by Eric. I helped in the restoration of this v twin Dene in the late 70s and rode it when he was entered in the VMCC Northumbrian Gathering in 1979. I frequented Brian Spence’s shop after the Dene closed.
    I now help maintain the two Dene’s at Beamish and organised a reunion of Dene staff there last year.
    I am busy writing a book about the company and Eric has been very helpful in sharing information with me.
    One caveat to all, ‘Beware of some inaccuracies that propagate on the internet!’
    Please contact me if you have any info or anecdotes on rjonhill@yahoo.co.uk.co.uk or 01670590688.
    Regards to all
    Jonathan Hill

  7. Jonathan Hill on November 20, 2013 @ 6:35 am

    Further to Les wondering where the change machine went, this was a Lamson cash ball system and is now on display in the Coop store at Beamish. It is demonstrated from time to time.
    Kind regards

  8. Jonathan Hill on November 20, 2013 @ 6:39 am

    Finally the last comment of the day. The Panther outfit mentioned by Bryan is alive and well. It now has a saloon body fitted.

  9. Jeff Jones on May 13, 2014 @ 10:08 pm

    Enjoyed reading this history of the Dene I used to visit all the bike shops in the town on a sat morning as a young teen in the 60s the Haymarket shop was always my favorit a fabulous place, I bought my 1st bike their in nov 1969 a 64 black and cream Ariel Leader cost £90 happy days

  10. I used to buy my Velocette parts at the Dene until they gave up the agency shortly before the Hall Green Factory closed. I called in one Monday morning to buy something whilst ‘working’ and the little dapper chap with the the mustache (can’t remember his name) handed me a box and said ‘ye’ve got a Velo haven’t you, here’s a box of old parts, ten quid and no y’ cannot open it, but y’ll be all right son’ It was full of Velo bits I’d never seen before, but the knee grips are still on my Mark 4 KTT nearly 50 years later.

    What a place!

    Jim Plant, Solihull, West Midlands

  11. I forgot to mention I got all the Velocette Spare Parts lists as well. I still get them out occasionally just to catch that wonderful Dene aroma.

  12. dave wilkinson on December 13, 2015 @ 8:56 pm

    While researching family tree, the 1911 census showed my grandfather was a labourer at a motorcycle works in Newcastle. I can only assume it was the Dene Motor Co. I think that was where my love of motorcycles comes from. While restoring my 1955 Goldie in the 80s I came across an oil pump drive in original BSA box. Inside was the original receipt No 11458. dated 8th March 1950, from the Dene (Newcastle) Motor Co.,Ltd. This is framed on my workshop wall.

  13. I am looking for photos of the Dene around the 60s can anybody point me in the right direction?
    I used to frequent the shop regular in the 60s with Kingston Corn [King] Lionel ? [Bucket] and others, King used to live up Claremont Road and Bucket was in Gosforth, both worked for Parsons.??

  14. on the 28th August 2016, there is a ride through newcastle going to the discovery museum with the dene motorcycle. They are doing the following 3 weekends all motorcycle based. Barry at the museum has organised it.

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