If this bike was mine, I would replace the wrong saddle spring and remodel the handlebars in the way they once were - straight. But the owner likes it this way: it's a bicycle with a story. It is the nice thing about restoring old bikes: there are choices to make. As long as people don't start welding saddle springs on the backbone, or paint it orange, it's okay for me. We have to leave some projects for the generations after us.
The front wheel of this Hillmann, Herbert & Coopers 'Premier' is 50 inch. It is clear that a taller man once wanted to ride this bike. So what did he do? He bend the handlebars upwards, and replaced the original spring by a patented 'Howe-spring', which might be a bit higher. Furthermore he put the pedals, (which are refitted with totally out-of-style Lyotard blocks) as close tot the hub as possible. In this way he could ride it, and I guess he could even put a leg to the ground if he wanted!
The original spring should look like this. And I have my doubts about the brake lever.
This makes an interesting story, but an ugly bike. Luckily, a lot of original Hillman, Herbert & Cooper details are still there. Watch the original brake, brake spoon, and details around the stanley head. this one has the famous and characteristic ball bearing hub of HHC, but not the double hollow forks. It has got single hollow forks, though. This makes it a quality machine, but not top level. Serial number is 13063, it must be around 1882-1883.
I made a graphic drawing of HHC / Premier serial numbers, click here.