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Motorcycle Helmet

circa 1935

This motorcycle crash helmet with leather chinstraps was worn by speedway rider Clem Beckett.   The helmet was once brightly painted in red and yellow stripes.    

Clem Beckett was a famous speedway rider who toured Europe with his daredevil displays and pulled in crowds to see his ‘wall of death’. He was born at Scouthead near Oldham in 1906 and ran a motorcycle shop in the town.

Beckett was also a committed trades unionist and activist who organised speedway riders into a union to ensure better terms and conditions. He took part in the famous Kinder Trespass and his political beliefs also led him to join the International Brigade in the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War.

Clem Beckett was killed at Jarama in February 1937. In one of his last letters home to his wife he wrote “I’m sure you’ll realise that I should never have been satisfied had I not assisted. Only my hatred of Fascism brought me here.”