The account below is based on information from my father's memoirs and due to no photos being available of the bicycle shop, the image below has been digitally created from information gathered.
Rabey's cycle shop was run by my grandfather James Henry Rabey, a blacksmith by trade, and his wife, my grandmother, Alma. They were main agents for B.S.A. bicycles and also sold various cycle parts and accessories. When nearby cycle dealers required a new B.S.A. bicycle it was ordered through Rabey's shop as main agents. Five bicycles were ordered at a time from B.S.A. and after assembling and checking, a bicycle was placed in the window for sale. Bicycle prices started at £5.19s.6d. (Five pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence - £5.98 in todays Money).
Paraffin, which was stored in a back room was also sold and it is thought that the shop was the first place in St.Dennis to sell petrol.
Another service offered was the fitting of replacement pram tyres. The worn out tyre would be removed from the pram wheel and a length of new solid rubber tyre would be measured to fit the circumference of the wheel and cut to length. Running through the centre of the pram tyre was a spring and when cutting the new length of tyre, a short length of spring would be left protruding from each end of the new tyre. Joining the two ends of the new tyre involved twisting one end of the new tyre several turns, bringing the ends together and letting the two springs intertwine as the twisted end was allowed to untwist. The result was the two ends of the new tyre firmly connected to each other.The tyre was then fitted to the pram wheel.
Hammets flower wholesalers delivered flowers to the shop to be sold and leading up to Christmas my grandmother would travel to Knees toy suppliers in Truro to order toys that would be displayed for sale in the shop window.
After the death of my grandfather James in 1929, my grandmother Alma continued to run the shop with the assistance of their two sons, my uncle Cyril and my dad Reg. To the right of the shop at that time was Pope's Grocery shop and to the left was Stuart Hoare's grocery shop.
It is not known exactly when my grandparents opened the shop but below is a Rabey's shop receipt and at the top it has "193". This is where the date of purchase would be written e.g. 1931, 1932 etc. so we know the shop was operating in the 1930's. The cycle shop was sold in the late 1950's and was later used as a ladies clothes shop, hairdressers, launderette and is currently a private dwelling.
Trevor Rabey - August 2010
Revised July 2020
Photo/3D Image used with kind permission
from Trevor Rabey
© copyright Trevor Rabey 2009
Rabey's Shop Receipt