Holdsworth La Quelda 1936-1954

The meaning of La Quelda is unclear. The Tour de France bikes in the mid 30's were identical, so the Tour would be a test of rider. Sandy went to Le Tour to look at the bikes for ideas. All frames were arc welded and cane coloured. He returned to UK and developed a similar frameset. One source says he wanted a name which sounded French and welded. Mrs H coined the name La Quelda (meaningless) as it sounded French and also like 'L' Arc Welder' or Quill Welder.

Bill Hurlow worked at Quill Lane in 1938, he says Bill Rann designed La Quelda and that the name came from Quill and Welder. He confirms that a TdF bike, cane coloured with only a L'auto decal and the riders name 'Roth' on the top tube had been acquired and lay in the Putney shop in 1938. It had one sprocket on each side of the hub. This was Bruno Roth's 1935 or 1936 TdF bike. It appears that Bruno's frame was 'the inspiration' for La Quelda.

Other products were named after Quill Lane too, the Quill pannier carrier and the Quillite.
Bill Rann welded some La Queldas, and then Ray Cook who worked there as a welder.
Before the war they started to use imported Bronzagene filler rod, but they used 5/16 inch rods which were really too thick, so they got big fat welds (Bill Hurlow).

1936 La Quelda Ad (Classic Rendezvous) Advertised as a "welded" bicycle, it was initially steel welded. "No Lugs, Any Angles". It was Reynolds tubed, but whether 1936 ones were HM or 531 is unclear as yet. 1936 spec had a Simplex Professional gear, two Bulla brakes, Brooks saddle with Sprints and Tubs or High Pressures and Guards, at £13-19-6d (bike).

1938 catalogue data 1938 catalogue frame price Jan 1938 Nimrod does a road test for "Cycling", La Quelda had 41.5 inch wheelbase & a clip headset. (101K) Road Test in January 1938
1938 Catalogue La Quelda data

1 Feb 1939 A new range of 3 La Quelda bicycles was advertised: La Quelda Club £9 17s 6d, La Quelda Flyer £12 12s 6d, La Quelda Supreme £16 17 6d or £17 17s with sprints, all steel welded. The framesets only differ in their finish. Early La Quelda's had Reynolds High Manganese tubing, rather than 531. Peter Duncan recalls arc welded Reynolds 531 proved a tad snappy, this perhaps explains the shift to filet brazed 531 after the war. All Holdsworths pre WW2 had a clip headset except L'Internationale launched in 1939.

La Quelda Club
1939 Catalogue, La Quelda Club
La Quelda Flyer
1939 Catalogue, La Quelda Flyer
La Quelda Supreme
1939 Catalogue, La Quelda Supreme
Article on the 3 'new' models

Soon after World War 2 Reynolds 531 was adopted and La Queldas were "bronze welded" (now called filet brazed). Clip headsets continued to be used until late 1946.

1947 La Quelda (Pics courtesy of Doug Smith)

1947 La Quelda Fork crown Early Headbadge Seat weld and Clip
Bottom bracket Rear dropouts Brake cable guides

A 1948 La Quelda in it's expensive original finish. The frame is silver with contrasting gold headtube (with 2" spearpoints) and matching seat-tube panel. By 1948 a few folk would have a hand in building any frame, however the B on the bottom bracket is beleived to signify the main builder, presumably Sid Bishop, this was done for wage purposes. Another 1948 La Quelda serial 9444 carries an H for Bill Hurlow. Pics courtesy of Hilary Stone.
Post War La Quelda Silver frame with Gold head tube Forks Seat tube picture BB picture showing pump peg on down tube
Distinctive drop outs The B may signify Bronze Welded
1949 La Quelda is Bronze welded. If the customer wants the whole headtube chromed (Extra) then headtube welds are steel welded, so that the chrome will take. Offered as Road or Track frames.
1949 Catalogue La Quelda 1949 La Quelda Special Club 1949 La Quelda Flyer 1949 Extras
La Quelda Special Club Flyer Extras

1950 Detailed Spec 1950 Extras La Quelda Club La Quelda Flyer
La Quelda frameset
La Quelda Spec in Detail Extras Club Flyer

1951 1951 La Quelda 1952 1952 La Quelda
1951 Catalogue Extras 1952 Catalogue Extras
Extras La Quelda 1951 Extras La Quelda 1952

1953 1953 Catalogue La Quelda 1954 1954 Catalogue La Quelda
Extras La Quelda 1953 Extras La Quelda 1954

La Quelda is not in the 1955 catalogue