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British Industrial History

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Raleigh Cycle Co

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of Nottingham.

See sections-

The Raleigh Cycle Company produced light delivery vans and bicycles at Nottingham from 1887. They also manufactured motorcycles from 1901 to 1906, 1920 to 1923 and 1958 to 1971 (see below).

1885 Started as a small cycle manufacturing shop on Raleigh Street in Nottingham formed by Richard Morris Woodhead and Paul Angois

1887 Joined by William Ellis to form Woodhead, Angois and Ellis, producing roughly three high-wheel bicycles each week.

1887 Based in Russell Street

Autumn 1888 - Frank Bowden, a lawyer and cyclist, visited the makers of his tricycle, Woodhead, Angois and Ellis of Nottingham, and persuaded the company to accept him as financial backer. Later that year, Ellis left the partnership.

1889 January The Raleigh Cycle Co was incorporated as a limited company.

1891 The Raleigh Cycle Co was registered on 12 December.

1891 Frank Bowden acquired a controlling interest.

1894 Richard Morris Woodhead and Paul Angois left the board.

By 1896 it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world.

1896 A new factory was opened in Faraday Rd, Lenton. On 4 March, a public company of similar name was registered to take over the old company's properties; the company was one of those promoted by E. T. Hooley [1]; Frank Bowden retained a substantial interest. A new factory was opened on Faraday Road, Lenton.

1898 3rd AGM. Lively meeting with questions being asked about Bowden's trip to Australia and his promotion of the products of the Gazalle Co

1899 In connection with the extinction of a debit to profit and loss and the absorption of another concern, reconstruction took place, the present company being registered on 15 February. [2]

1900 The "All-Steel Bicycle"

1901 First motorcycle constructed.

1903 Formation of Three-Speed Gear Syndicate

1905 Introduced motorcycles

1906 Acquired Robin Hood Cycle Co

1908 After another financial crisis, Bowden was prepared to secure the debts on his personal fortune only if he had complete ownership. The company went private.

1914 Expected to make 65,000 machines that year; also made the Sturmey-Archer gears for Sturmey-Archer (Gears).[3]

1915 Formation of the Raleigh Company[4]

WWI: Munitions production

1920 Acquired Nottingham Presswork

1921 Sir Frank Bowden died; Harold Bowden took over. Motorcycle production resumed.

1922 The firm opened a large new extension of the works bringing up the annual capacity for 100,000 cycles, 10,000 motor cars and around 250,000 three-speed gears. The firm had found that the Germans, because of the low rate of exchange, could place bicycles on the British market at a price that was less than the cost of production in this country. The company's work people, in view of this fact, had consented to a reduction in wages, and the company had, in keeping with that sacrifice, agreed to make a 50 per cent reduction in its profits. With the assistance thus afforded, he hoped they would soon be able to work up towards their capacity, provided something was done to stabilise the foreign rates of exchange.[5]

1929 Selling Sturmey-Archer engines to other makers and this practice lasted until 1933.

1931 Introduction of the Safety Seven car.

1932 Acquired the cycle division of Humber

1932 Acquired the cycle manufacturing assets of Triumph Cycle Co

1934 See Raleigh Cycle Co: 1934 Review.

1934 Public flotation of a new holding company: Raleigh Cycle Holdings Co Ltd of which there were 2 operating subsidiaries - Raleigh Cycle Co Ltd and Sturmey-Archer Gears Ltd; Raleigh had always manufactured the gears sold as Sturmey-Archer; the companies together had 4000 employees[6]. Formation of Raleigh Industries

1936 Production of motorcars and motorcycles ended.

1937 See Raleigh Cycle Co: 1937 Catalogue

WWII Munitions production

1943 Acquired Rudge-Whitworth

1951 One Million cycles produced

1954 Acquired Associated Cycle Manufacturers of Coventry and the share capital of Triumph Cycle Co Ltd (which was its predecessor company)[7].

1955 Sir Harold Bowden retired.

1957 Acquired BSA Bicycles including Sunbeam and New Hudson

1958 Introduced mopeds

1959 Raleigh Industries acquired the saddle interests of J B Brooks Industries, a company that Raleigh had had a close working relationship with for many years[8]

1960 Tube Investments acquired Raleigh Industries. The board of Raleigh, enlarged with a director of TI and the MD of British Cycle Corporation, would control all cycle, component and motorized activities of the TI group[9]. 2500 models being made by the group for the home market[10].

1961 One of the largest manufacturers of cycles and cycle gears in the commonwealth. 8,000 employees. [11]

Early 1960s: at some point, TI/Raleigh turned down the opportunity of making the Moulton folding cycle [12].

1963 Total number of employees now 12,000, including those producing toys and mopeds [13].

1967 Acquired Moulton Bicycles Ltd and Cox of Watford.

1970 End of production of motorised products.

1974 Formation of Ilkeston Specialist Bicycle Unit.

1987 Derby International took control of the company

2001 Management acquired Derby Cycle Corporation and renamed it Raleigh Cycle Ltd.

2002 UK production ceased.

2003 Triumph Road factory demolished. Production moved overseas. Head Office relocates to Eastwood.

Notes

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The affairs of Mr E. T. Hooley - The Times, 25 July 1898
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Jan 28, 1914
  4. The Times, 15 February 1934
  5. The Engineer 1922/05/12
  6. The Times, 15 February 1934
  7. The Times, 3 February 1954
  8. The Times, Dec 08, 1959
  9. The Times, 16 November 1960
  10. The Times, 3 December 1963
  11. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  12. The Times, 3 December 1963
  13. The Times, 3 December 1963
  • [4] Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
  • [5] Yesterday's Antique Motorcycles web site
  • [6] Cyber Motor Cycles web site
  • [7] Wikipedia
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • British Lorries 1900-1992 by S. W. Stevens-Stratten. Pub. Ian Allen Publishing
  • Miller’s Price Guide to Classic Motorcycles
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • Biography of Sir Frank Bowden, by Andrew Millward, ODNB [8]
  • National Archives [9]