I worked at Raleigh for 32 years; biked it there and back for 32 years. .. They were great times, fantastic times!
The Working Day
You got up at quarter past five, got on your bike for half five, got to Raleigh at 6 if you started your shift then, and it was 8 hours. Then you done your shift and you come home.
All sorts of bikes were being made at Raleigh at this time – Shoppers, Raleigh Runabouts, mopeds. This gave workers the opportunity to work in all areas of the factory, helping out where they were needed most. After twenty- five years’ service, workers were rewarded with a gold watch and a long service certificate.
The hand built bike
Everything was hand built from start to finish.
You did the lugs, from the lugs went to the frames, all the lugs were fitted on, then on top of assembly, the women used to put the badges on. Then it went to the wheel shop. So you had a bloke putting the wheels on, a bloke putting the brakes on, a bloke putting the gears on until it was a finished product right at the end. Then you’d got quality control. By God, if you’d got something wrong and that they’d come down on you!
End of the Road
When I first started there were 10,500 I think and when I finished there were 28. I left with a heavy heart because it was a very close knit community.
Reg describes the strong family atmosphere at Raleigh and the sadness when they realised the end had come. As a memento, Reg took with him his original work bench which now sits on his allotment. He also rescued from the bulldozer some of the beautiful Victorian roses that grew on the Raleigh site.
I brought them home and 33 years they’ve been in my garden and it’s something for me to think. It’ll never go away. It’s part of Raleigh.
Listen to the interview here (link needed)