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FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2002
|Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 20:29 GMT
Raleigh to close Nottingham factory
Raleigh has announced it is to close its last factory in Nottingham - ending 114 years of bicycle production in the city.
The closure of the assembly plant at the end of 2002 will mean the loss of some 280 jobs.
Raleigh UK said cheap imports from the Far East were largely to blame for the decision.
However, opposition to a proposed move to a new site had "not helped", a statement from the company said.
Chairman Phillip Darnton told the BBC that the closure might not mean the end of the company's links with Nottingham.
"It's a real tragedy that so many people will lose their jobs," he said.
However, he hoped that around 100 jobs would remain in the city in areas such as bike design, sales and distribution of "Raleigh quality" cycles manufactured by partners overseas.
Raleigh stopped making bicycle frames in 1999, and its Triumph Road site was due to be sold at the end of 2003.
The assembly plant had been considering a move to the Blenheim Industrial Estate at Bulwell on the edge of the city.
Nottingham North MP rolex replica watches Graham Allen said that some of the blame for Thursday's announcement lay with the "tiny handful of people who have used every possible means to delay the move" to the Bulwell site.
But he conceded: "Actually far more importantly than those selfish people is the world market conditions.
"It is possible to buy a bike on the High Street in Nottingham produced in China cheaper than it is to buy one which is made and assembled in Nottingham at Raleigh."
Raleigh was founded in 1888 by Sir Frank Bowden, who bought an interest in a small bike company in Raleigh Street in Nottingham.
At its heyday after World War II it employed some 8,000 people in the city.
Its "Raleigh, Nottingham, England" badge on brands such as the Chopper made it famous around the world.
Graham Allen MP told the BBC: "I go all around the world, I talk to people and once you've got over fake rolex Robin Hood the thing they know about Nottingham is the Raleigh cycle.
"It's the thing that every kid wanted for Christmas. It was the thing that was really a badge of pride for the whole of Nottingham."
Friday, 10 December, 1999, 16:18 GMT
British bicycle manufacturer Raleigh has auctioned off the machinery it uses to make its bike frames, ending a 100-year-old tradition.
The Nottingham-based firm, which dates back to Victorian times, now imports most of its frames and in omega replica future will concentrate on assembly and painting work.
The frame-making equipment, which was in use right up until Thursday, is estimated to be worth బ000.
A number of foreign manufacturers bid for the equipment at the auction in Nottingham so they could install it in their own plants.
Raleigh bike-riding Labour MP Alan Simpson, whose Nottingham South constituency includes the factory, is angered by the closure of the frame-making section.
He said: "It is sad that a company with over 100 years' record of producing bikes has come to this. It is now selling off state-of-the-art equipment which will be bought by its competitors from overseas."
'Soul of Nottingham'
Author Alan Sillitoe, whose bestseller Saturday Night, Sunday Morning was based on the Nottingham factory and who worked at the plant from the age of 14, also voiced his disappointment.
He said: "Raleigh is a kind of soul of Nottingham. I'm very sad about it."
Three multi-robot automatic welding machines, which are computer programmed to weld steel together to make frames, were among the auctioned items. They were installed only three years ago.
Equipment for cutting tubing, which cost Raleigh �hen it was installed less than nine years ago, also went under the hammer at a cut-price.
Charles Moses, from auctioneers DDM Asset Management, said interest in the sale was "phenomenal" with buyers from as far away as the Far East and North America.
In the 1950s Raleigh employed 7,000 people at its main factory in Nottingham and its bicycles were used around the world.
The company started in the Victorian era when Messrs Woodhead, Angois and Ellis made bikes in a tiny workshop in the city's Raleigh Street, hence the name.
By the 1960s parts were increasingly being imported from the Far East where production costs were lower.
The workforce at Nottingham is now just 700, the vast majority of whom are engaged in putting together cycles from imported parts and then painting them in distinctive Raleigh colours.
Only a small number of people were involved in the manufacture of frames for a limited range of the company's cycles.
'Half a million bicycles'
A statement issued by Raleigh said: "Contrary to press reports, Raleigh is not ceasing production of bicycles in Nottingham.
"We are completing a process which was announced in May which involves the cessation of frame manufacture.
"We will continue to control the design, specification and quality of the frames we use and of our final product. We will continue to produce half a million bicycles in Nottingham using our world class painting and assembly facilities."
The company has blamed changes in economic circumstances and British manufacturing for the decision.
RALEIGH CHOPPERS BRITISH WORKFORCE
Raleigh to stop producing in UK
By Steve Mccomish
BIKE maker Raleigh - the most famous name in cycling - is stopping production in Britain.
The firm, makers of the high- handled Chopper, announced the shutdown of its Nottingham factory yesterday and wrote the last chapter in a proud 114-year history.
Some 280 jobs will go in a closure blamed on cheap imports from China.
Staff who had hoped to move to a new site in the city were stunned. One worker with 34 years' service said: "It feels like my world has fallen apart. It's not just the end of an era for us, but also for Nottingham." The firm will keep a design and distribution centre there, providing about 100 jobs. For some time, it has been assembling 500,000 bikes a year from imported components, rather than building from scratch.
It was a different story more than a century ago after founder Sir Frank Bowden bought an interest in a small bike firm in Raleigh Street, Nottingham. By 1896, Raleigh ran the largest cycle factory in the world. In the 1950s, it was the setting for Alan Sillitoe's novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
The firm, closing at the end of this year, said it was difficult to "compete effectively and profitably against imported finished bicycles".
Nottingham North MP Graham Allen was "deeply saddened". He said: "Being able to buy a Raleigh licensed bike from China cheaper than the one made in Nottingham made this inevitable."
Plans to move elsewhere in the city had been delayed by a legal challenge.