The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Raleigh Bicycle Factory and Advertising


Photographs | Lenton Listener Articles | Memories


Photographs and Illustrative Material


Early Raleigh Posters

This Raleigh poster was created by Tom Browne and produced by his printing company which in 1898 would have been based in Lenton.

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Raleigh Posters - 1900s

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Raleigh Posters and Catalogue Images - 1910s

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Raleigh Posters, Catalogue Covers & Advertising - 1920s

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Raleigh Posters, Catalogue Covers & Advertising - 1930s

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Thus We Served - 1939 to 1945

In 1946 Raleigh produced a publication entitled 'Thus We Served' which was a record of the part the company played in producing armaments during the Second World War. It was one of the publications we drew on to produce our own article 'The Raleigh at War' which appeared in Lenton Times No.41. The following set of photographs all appeared in 'Thus We Served.'


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Aerial View

Electric Power House - Sub-Station

Tool Room B

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Physical Test Laboratory

Press Shop

Section of Automatic Shop

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Fuse Assembly Department

Press Shop - Annealing Department

Section of Cartridge Case Production Department

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Fuse Inspection Department

Cycle Assembling

40mm Shell Machine Shop


Raleigh Posters, Catalogue Covers & Advertising - 1940s

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How a Bicycle is Made - 1945

To be found on the British Council film archive website is 'How a Bicycle is Made', a short documentary film shot at the Raleigh factory in 1945. The following images are taken from that film.


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The film begins with an exterior panning shot above the factory to give the viewer an clear indication of its overall size. It then cuts to this shot of the Raleigh head-offices on Lenton Boulevard. After a subsequent shot of people hard at work in the technical drawing unit we are taken to the office of the chief designer who will explain to a prospective purchaser and his inquisitive son 'How a Bicycle is Made.'

Strips of steel are fed into a machine that converts the steel into a tubular shape by means of heavy rollers and these 'tubes'are then heat-sealed all in one continuous process. Here the tube is emerging from the machine and it will be cut to the required lengths in order to make the frame of the bicycle.

These two Raleigh employees are assembling the sections of tubing together into the frame. Each end of the tube slots into a specially-made bracket. Once in position holes are drilled into the jointed portion and metal pegs slotted in to hold everything in position. The frame is now brazed in a furnace in order to seal the joints and the excess metal subsequently removed by various chemical processes.

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The front fork is made by a similar fashion. The metal surfaces are then polished on an emery wheel as shown in this image. The polishing needs to take place so that when the enamelling process is carried out the enamel goes on evenly and smoothly.

After a process that gives the metal a rust-proof surface the frames and forks are dipped into tanks of enamel which leaves the surface lustrous and shiny. That process is going on in this image.

Using flat strips of steel the machine shown in this image bends the metal into the shape and size of a mudguard in one single operation.

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A flat piece of circular steel undergoes a series of pressings to make the gear wheel. To generate the teeth around the outer edge of the gear wheel it is clamped into a machine, as seen in this image, which then cuts away portions of the circumference of the metal.

Each spoke is a specific length of rustless wire, which had been bent at one end and a short length of thread milled on to the other end. Each spoke is then slotted into the central hub as shown in this image. After this the other ends are laced into the metal rim. and the spoke held in place with a tiny nut.

The spokes are now all in place and fitted on to the rim but the nuts holding them have so far only been hand-tightened.

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Each nut is now tightened more firmly by another operative. After this the wheel is inspected to make sure it runs true and if necessary the tension on specific spokes is adjusted.

The tyre and inner tube are now fitted and although this process was done manually a skilled operative could complete the whole process in less than fifty seconds.

The various individual parts are brought from the different workshops by conveyor belt to the main assembly line. In this image the backstay is being fitted on to the main frame.

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Now the wheels are being added and once in place handlebars and brakes will be added. The fitting of a saddle and tool bag completes the assembly.

After the bicycle has received its final inspection it is conveyed to the clearing department where the bicycles await despatch to all parts of the world.


If these images have given you a desire to see the film for yourself - it lasts about seventeen minutes - click on the link below. The structure of the film is an actor playing the part of one of Raleigh's top designers and talking to two other actors playing a father and his son, supposedly potential purchasers. The set-up is a little cheesy but the shots of the manufacturing process are well worth watching and to think it was all happening in Lenton.

'How a Bicycle is Made' from the British Council film archive.


Raleigh Trade Cards - 1957

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Raleigh Posters, Catalogue Covers & Advertising - 1950s

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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - 1960

The first part of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning directed by Karel Reisz and released in 1960 focuses on Arthur Seaton (played by Albert Finney) on Friday afternoon at work in the Raleigh. These shots are taken from the film.


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A general shot panning across the factory.

Close-up of Arthur Seaton at work.

Arthur Seaton receiving his pay packet. Although the name of Raleigh is not actually mentioned in the film the box holding all the pay packets can be seen to bear the name of the company.

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Arthur Seaton musing on his philosophy of life - 'don't let the buggers grind you down.'

Workers making their way out into the factory yard at the end of their Friday's shift.

A shot looking along Faraday Road with Raleigh employees cycling home.


Raleigh Advertising for the RSW model- 1960s

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Lenton Listener Article

Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine


Raleigh Cycles - Issue 10 & 11 - January to February 1981 & March to April 1981



Memories

Let us know your memories of Raleigh




Do you have any historical information or other photographs of this Raleigh? If so, email us with the details or write to us.




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