On Mobile Press the + to reveal Index

The heritage of the Penny Farthing bicycle



An idea became reality…

When I created this business back in 2013 the company name had to be “Mr Phoebus”. One of the most often questions we get asked is why?

At the time I had been helping my father develop his public presentations about the life and music of the famous Worcestershire born composer Sir Edward Elgar.

An important feature of these talks was Elgar’s fascination with all aspects of bi-cycling, which was all the rage at the turn of the 19th century. 


As a mad keen cyclist, Elgar had to have the latest designs as they were developed and in August 1900 he purchased his favourite Royal Sunbeam bicycle which he affectionately nicknamed “Mr Phoebus”.

40 mile rides a day were not uncommon and he often explained how they helped him think up new tunes.

Okay, Sir Edward’s bicycle wasn’t an “Ordinary” or “Penny Farthing” but as my father had taken so much care and attention to my ideas for my new business I thought it only fitting to name the company based on an important factor in the life of the composer that has inspired my father so much since he was a teenager.

And of course it also connects this fantastic experience to the place where it was created as an idea: Worcestershire.

Elgar and the Firs National Trust
Elgar Daily Mail Feature

When Mr Phoebus helped bring Sir Edward Elgar to Life

In 2018 the Daily Mail decided to publish a 8 Page Pull Out Magazine celebrating the life and times of some of our greatest composers.

When looking for the ideal candidate to re-create one of the most epic of photographs of Elgar riding "Mr Phoebus” his trusty sunbeam, they called upon Mr Phoebus himself (aka Simon Hayford Morris).

With much help from the Elgar foundation, the National Trust and volunteer Steve Morris (Simon's Father), they managed to bring Elgar to life in some of his most treasured of life moments.

Quick Fact : Simon does'’t actually own any other type of bicycle other that Penny Farthings, and so this was a real challenge.


Edward Elgar purchased two “Royal” Sunbeams over the years both of the machines had 28inch frames and three brakes. He called them both ‘Mr. Phoebus’ and he was an enthusiastic cyclist, often going to the works for a ‘tuning’.
Click here to Visit The Firs - Elgar's Birthplace

Click here to Visit The Firs - Elgar's Birthplace