On 2 April 1949 the British government allowed coloured lighting, floodlighting and neon signs to be switched on for the first time since the outbreak of World War II. On the same day Tony Hadland was born in Reading, Berkshire. Although there is no connection between these two events, Tony hopes that his writings are in some small way illuminating, if not colourful.
Tony Hadland studied architecture at the Oxford School of Architecture but after passing the Part 1 Diploma devoted his studies to building surveying. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and he was a Member of the former Institute of Information Scientists. For 29 years he worked in the property services department of Barclays Bank. He joined as a junior architectural assistant in a regional office and left as operational risk manager, reporting directly to the managing director of the department. At various times he was based in Reading, London and Coventry, and held positions including building surveyor, architectural team leader, technical writer, technical information manager and information security manager.
From 2004 until 2009 Tony was administrator of the award-winning Vale & Downland Museum in Wantage, Oxfordshire. He has also been a freelance editor, writer and document designer. Tony was on the advisory board for the refurbishment and improvement of Abingdon County Hall Museum, Oxfordshire; he chaired the advisory committee of the Alex Moulton Museum in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; and has been an occasional advisor to the Museum of Computing, Swindon and the Pendon Museum, Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire. Tony has also been Vice-Chairman of the Oxfordshire Family History Society and editor of its journal, and he was Chairman of the Oxfordshire Local History Association for seven years.
In the early 1970s Tony was a freelance radio disc jockey. For two years he created the weekly “English Spot” on the top-rated Jamazaki show broadcast from BRT2 FM, Brussels. For the same station he recorded monthly in-depth interviews with British rock stars, including artistes as diverse as Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span and Cliff Richard. During this period Tony also produced many of BBC Radio London’s promotional voice-overs and jingles, and did stand-in work on BBC Radio Oxford.
Tony was a co-presenter of a special all-British edition of the Belgian rock show Slalom. It featured many top acts of the day and a bunch of impressively flash newcomers called Queen. But perhaps Tony’s most unusual broadcasting-related achievement was doing the voice-over for a Wranglers jeans advert in Flemish.
Tony’s interest in bicycles started in childhood. His first bike was a ‘hand-me-down’ from an uncle – a pre-War Raleigh sports machine with a close-ratio Sturmey-Archer hub. Later he used an old black BSA three-speed hub. Both drew derision from his school chums. Thus he grew a thick skin – useful for any non-conformist in the world of cycling.
Impressed by John Woodburn’s legendary Cardiff-London record, Tony bought his first Moulton in November 1964. With this great load carrier he delivered newspapers and earned enough money to finance his first trip abroad – to Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands by bicycle. Leaving home the day after England beat Germany in the 1966 soccer World Cup, he and two friends enjoyed a great two week holiday for about £24 each. They even spotted England skipper Bobby Moore as they cycled through London on the way to the Dover ferry.
In March 1980 Tony’s brother Paul sent him a cutting from The Sunday Times. This featured Michael Woolf of Moulton Preservation. Tony contacted Mike to suggest that a booklet be produced to widen awareness of the versatility of the Moulton bicycle. This led to the modest first edition of The Moulton Bicycle and the start of Tony’s career as a writer. As at September 2019 Tony has authored or co-authored eleven books and contributed to fourteen others; three more are in preparation.
Apart from the books described on his website, Tony wrote and edited many technical manuals for Barclays Bank, both paper and screen-based. He has contributed significant material to other editors’ books, on matters as diverse as retail bank design, information management, information security and cycle history. He has also edited books by other authors, such as Mike Burrows’ Bicycle Design: towards the perfect machine (now in its fourth edition). In 2011, Cycle Publishing of San Francisco published Tony’s history of the Raleigh bicycle company, Raleigh: past and presence of an iconic bicycle brand, the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of that company yet produced. In 2014, MIT Press of Cambridge, Massachusetts, published Bicycle Design: an illustrated history, co-written by Tony and the eminent German historian Hans-Erhard Lessing. This proved an instant hit, being reprinted soon after publication and becoming the tenth best-selling science and technology book in the USA in November 2014.
In the 1980s Tony scripted, filmed and produced many corporate videos. In the late 1990s, with John Pinkerton, he produced in-depth video interviews with several cycling greats, including Jack Lauterwasser and Alex Moulton. (These are now on the Veteran-Cycle Club YouTube channel.) Tony has also written articles for magazines such as Cycling Plus, Bycycle, Cycling Science, New Cyclist, Encycleopedia, The Boneshaker, Human Power, DJ & Radio Monthly, Oxfordshire Family Historian, Berkshire Family Historian, Portsmouth People and Catholic Ancestor. In recent years he has presented about 400 illustrated talks on a wide range of topics at venues across southern England. He has appeared on radio about 80 times, mostly on BBC Radio Oxford but also on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Nottingham, BBC Wiltshire, Swindon 105.5 and London’s Resonance FM. He has also contributed to several films and TV documentaries about cycling and cycle history.
Tony is a British national and also has Irish nationality via his Dublin-born maternal grandmother.