I can though tell you a little about Stan Perry and Sudbury Cycle Works, as I worked for Stan at Sudbury Cycle Works 1977 to 1978: it was my first full time job. (And that is why I am so envious of your find: the closest I have to a frame like yours is a (Holdsworth built) Claud Butler Panache, c.1984, which is also in 531ST.)
I spent my school years and a bit more in Harrow, West Middlesex. In 1977 I started looking for a summer job, and walked in to Sudbury Cycle Works, Harrow Road, Wembley. There I met Stan who, after quizzing me a bit about what I knew about bikes and what mechanical experience I had, said yes, that when I was ready, he’d take me on. Characteristic of the man. And so I started in June, working mostly in the workshop, rather than behind the counter, which suited me fine.
I learnt that Stan’s father had started the business – I have always understood – before the First World War. He started out – as so many did then – making frames and assembling machines with mostly commercially available components. The workshop still held quite a bit of equipment from those days, and the shop wasn’t short of a few seriously old bits and pieces. Stan had a nephew who managed the shop, although Stan was in every day and very closely involved (without interfering). The nephew was very good company, and a good sub-boss, but his heart was not in bicycles. There were other lads there too, some part time, some full, and we all learnt heaps. Our week was five and half days, with Wednesday a half day.
Time trials and Sunday rides were the thing of the day, and there was a very good association with – or at least patronage by – the nearby Wembley Phoenix, so we built wheels and generally prepared and set up machines for the weekend – racing and recreational. The Wembley Phoenix were a good bunch.
The notion that Stan’s father started the business before the Great War is I think quite plausible: in 1977 Stan was a few years older than my father who was 53, so Stan, in his late 50s or pushing 60 could well have had a father of the right age. I remember new Stan Perry frames coming in from time to time mostly if not only to order, and after a while I was privileged to build up some of them. But – and this is probably one of THE questions you may have – I don’t know who was building the frames in the 70s.
I left Harrow in 1979, and fairly soon after, but I can’t remember even the year, a former neighbour contacted me to say that Stan had died. A little later I was in the area and called into the shop where Brian was still running things, but he said that it wouldn’t be for much longer – and it wasn’t!
So, seeing your frameset is a true delight, and you have prompted me to save a search on eBay in the hope that I may find one for myself.
I wish I could interpret or even just verify the frame number, but the truth is I can’t. Without the leads from other posts suggesting that the 71 refers to 1971, I would have suggested mid to late 70s based on style and fittings. I agree that it is unlikely to have been repainted – and I don’t know of anyone making Stan Perry decals, which substantiates that idea. So any dating from the Reynolds decal could help, but appears to be a bit of a contradiction as Stan died in 80 or 81, and very few frames were produced even in my time, never mind in the late 70s or after his death.
I like your ideas for building it up – not unlike how I did the Claud Butler: Campag Victory groupset, Mavic Module E2 rims, Cinelli stem, bars and tape, Brooks Professional saddle, Sun Tour New Winner six speed block and Sedisport chain – all as close to period as I could get.
So good luck with it, and happy riding.