January 2016 Vol 2 • Issue 1

Uncle Clarke’s Cart
1934 Harding De Luxe Model B

How it works:
The driver would pedal the carriage with their arms using the white handles, similar to using an elliptical trainer. Steering was completed with a simple turn of the right wrist. When the driver needed to go greater distances, or got tired of pedalling, he would reach down and pull up on the starter lever. This would kick start the 147cc Villiers motor into action. The driver then pulls in the clutch lever, chooses High or Low gear on the Albion Gearbox and slowly releases the clutch. And away they would go. Throttle control and brakes are all controlled by the left hand and steering with the right hand. When it comes time to shut down the engine the driver pulls the hand lever on the left hand pedal that opens up an engine decompression valve which shuts down the engine.
Invalid Carriages:
Invalid Carriages were developed after the First World War to support the numerous servicemen returning from the war without the use of their legs. The invalid Carriage would be used as their primary form of transportation, to and from the market, work, social events etc. The engineering behind the Invalid Carriages allowed the user to move either very slowly using just the hand pedals or rather quickly using the engine and gearbox. After the Second World War the British Ministry of Health made a decree that they would provide comprehensive and free healthcare for all of its citizens. In that decree was the establishment of the Invalid Vehicle Service which would issue, on behalf of the Ministry of health, invalid vehicles free of charge to anyone that fit the criteria. The Ministry of Health and Invalid Vehicle Service would maintain ownership of these vehicles and would service and maintain them. When the registered user of the vehicle passed away the vehicle went back to the Ministry of Health and was either re-issued to another person, used for parts or destroyed as newer technology made way for newer Invalid vehicles to be issued.
The Invalid Vehicle Service continued up to 1977 and in March of 2003 the British government decided to ban the remaining invalid vehicles from the road due to safety concerns. In April of 2003 the remaining Invalid Vehicles that were a part of the Invalid Carriage Service were gathered up and destroyed; only a handful survive today.
Smart Biker first met David and 
Tricia Liversidge at the Squamish Motorcycle Festival and then again at our local Maple Ridge Cooper's Food Annual MC Show and Shine where David proudly displayed, his amazing Invalid Carriage. Read on and discover that Uncle Clarke had quite the Cart!
Family folklore about Uncle Clarke and his cart:
It is a family story that:
When Uncle Clarke first got the Invalid Carriage one of the first things he did was race a train.
He snuck the carriage onto the newly created Hope to Princeton highway before it was open to public cars just to be the first motorized vehicle on the road
He got hit in the head with a rock from a passing truck and spent a week in hospital – his answer was to wear goggles.
The now closed museum of transportation in Cloverdale wanted to display /purchase the Invalid Vehicle – when it got rebuilt in the 80’s … which never happened.
Clarke had the ladies at the liquor store trained so all he had to do was drive up to the store, honk the horn and they would bring out his scotch. 1934
147cc Villiers motor
﷯Uncle Clark’s Cart – A vehicle that time lost...
Clarke C Thompson, is my father in law’s uncle. He grew up in British Columbia and had his back broken as a child. As a result his legs never developed fully but he was able to move with the use of full leg braces and crutches. This Invalid Carriage was imported into Canada by his family as a means for him to get around. The Carriage was sent from Bath, England to Montreal where it was assembled then sent across Canada via CP rail to Vancouver. Uncle Clarke used this Invalid Carriage to commute to his accounting office on Hastings Street at Carrall Street in Vancouver. In the mid-1950s Uncle Clarke had a Buick retrofitted so he could drive it with his hands and the Invalid Carriage was no longer needed. It soon fell into to disrepair. Left alone with a broken starter and a broken spirit it was left in his garage until his death in the early 1980s. While cleaning up the estate my father in law took the carriage out of the garage with all the extra parts and pieces he could find and set off to find it a new home. During that time the carriage was dismantled with the hopes of restoring it (no one in the family seems to accept any responsibility for this part). And there it sat - not only was it not working anymore but now it was dismantled. Through the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s it was moved with its boxes of parts from garage to basements, to storage lockers. Until May of 2015 when the father in law (Jim) cleans out his storage locker and says to me ..
Jim - “I want you to fix it all up”… Me – “ What is it” Jim - “ It is Uncle Clarkes Cart”
Me – “Yea – but what is it..”
Jim - “I don’t know – but has a motor and all the parts are there”
Me – “OK … but WHAT IS IT CALLED?”
Jim – “ No idea … good luck”
And so the quest began. I was given a rolling chassis, and five boxes of parts and pieces. I will be totally honest - I didn’t want it. I think my exact words were “I don’t need another project – let alone another piece of your families junk in Manland”. 
I have a very forgiving wife and she is laughing at that statement today .. still.
It took about 30 minutes upon its arrival for me to start the most difficult jigsaw puzzle I have ever tried. In the boxes that arrived I supposedly had “all the parts” but I also had decade’s worth of other parts that “could be” for the Uncle Clarke’s cart. As everyone knows doing a jigsaw is always easier with the picture… well I didn’t have a picture, and I had extra pieces.
Then along came Ron. The only name on the pieces I could find was “Villiers”. And most internet searches I did pointed to a man named Ron in Austrailia. Ron is a bit of a Villiers historian and he helped me date the motors I had, and gave me some valuable information. However, the best part was he directed me towards Terry. Terry has a motorcycle that has the same motor and gearbox and he lives in Vancouver. This is great news! At least I have someone that an help me get the motor figured out, But still… what the heck is this thing and what is it called?
The internet is a great thing. At night I would throw darts around the internet to museums, disability groups, anyone that may know something. One night, while surfing and throwing darts on the internet I found a similar carriage being sold on ebay back in 2012. Out of curiosity I emailed the seller with pictures of what I have assembled so far and he said “you must get a hold of Stuart with the Invalid Carriage Register”.
The Stuart identified the Invalid Carriage as a 1934 Harding De Luxe Model B.. He runs the registry and gave me the news and details I needed to further the jigsaw puzzle. As of today, after about three months or research, puzzling, un-seizing, repairing and figuring out, the cart is about 95% restored. It runs, operates and drives. Through the internet and connections I have made I have found a lot about these Invalid Carriages
They grew from wheel chairs to bicycles – to motorcycles – to small cars. They laid the groundwork for the ability scooters and cars we see today. They enabled the disabled –but were viewed as black marks from the great wars. Sir Bert Masse, Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission in England said that “The Government didn’t see them as cars… they saw them as a Prosthetic”. In 2003 many of the remaining Invalid Vehicles were destroyed. The Invalid Carriage Register:
The Invalid Carriage Register exists to chart the survival & whereabouts of all known surviving invalid vehicles worldwide. Stuart Cyphus of the Invalid Carriage registry has identified this carriage as:
• 2nd oldest Harding built Invalid Carriage registered
• Oldest Harding “De Luxe Model” registered
• 7th oldest British made Invalid Carriage by any manufacturer in the registry
• The only one existing in Canada to the knowledge of the registry Harding of Bath
Founded in 1921, the R.A Harding Company of Lower Bristol Road, Bath, produced hand-propelled invalid tricycles before introducing their first engine-propelled models (the De Luxe Model A & B) in 1926. In 1934, the basic frame of the De Luxe model was modified from very thin wall steel tubes to a much thicker and stronger structure, to better to deal with the growing weight of the machine as technology moved on from bicycle to motorcycle derived components. The De Luxe range continued in production with further detail changes until around the middle of 1966, whilst Harding hand operated tricycles continued to be built until 1978. 
The company finally closed their doors for good in 1988.
Smart Biker Magazine / All rights reserved / Canadian Built

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