So just rode the bike into work - 10 miles over country lanes and a bit of bridleway.
Really nice ride, very comfortable, not at all racey - perfect for me, very pleased
I'm assuming its 531, which makes me happy - I love the ride of 531 - magic stuff
I should have asked more questions, but 2 hours on the M25 getting there had fryed my brain
Anyway bike was sellers commuter when he lived in London (hence block, comedy 20 inch cut down bars, slicks etc)
He bought it out of Loot (remember that!) from the Roberts employee brother.
I just wonder if this was the guy knocking up a frame on the side/as a practice, as the Reynolds stamp isn't something I would normally expect to see on a frame being sold to the public. Also the brazing around the headtube hasn't been finished as smoothly as you might expect. That plus the odd frame number. Who knows. I will get some pictures up tonight of these bits so you can have a little speculation!
Glad you are enjoying it already...
It wouldn't be at all uncommon for the bike to have had frame parts bought in for a frame like this to hit a price point, often BB shells supplied by companies like Reynolds might bear the makers name.
Reynolds is a tube set used extensively by them, and to my mind bears no relation to providing a definitive answer to the company responsible for making it. Models like the White Spider, Stratos etc all used Reynolds at one time or another.
Frame number also doesnt surprise me I have a couple of frames like this, One of my Roberts simply has the Number 10 and my oldest Spider doesn't have anything at all. (both since worked on by them).
Also you might find that given it did have an impact resulting in a replacement fork the slightly less tidy head tube brazing might have been worked on since, perhaps even recoated anyway, this in it self may lead to the an obscured number especially if powder was used for the recoat..
Sadly none of this sleuthing is an "Exact" science, I had thought it might even be a a Rigden frame, I have seen a couple of these over the years, and a very similar fabrication to look at. A Reynolds 753 builder based out of Brighton, but im buggered if I can find any pics to show you, my best guess at this point is still a Roberts, but without the frame in hand I might never know.
Regardless though you have a lovely fillet brazed British frame and usable bike for little more than the cost of a BSO.