This book is the first comprehensive history of the development of the British bicycle industry from the perspective of business and economic history. Focusing on themes such as entrepreneurship, personal capitalism, and organisational, technological and cultural change, the shifting fortunes of the industry are traced through the business history of one of its leading firms, Raleigh. The history of the company is then set within the context of more general trends in the industry’s evolution over three chronological periods: 1870 to 1914, 1914 to 1939, and 1939 to 1960. In addition to the story of Raleigh, the business activities of other leading bicycle firms such as Rudge-Whitworth, Hercules, BSA, J. A. Phillips and BCC, the bicycle division of Tube Investments, are examined to inform our understanding of the business evolution of the industry. The book demonstrates that the British bicycle industry was both tenacious and dynamic, typified by the personal leadership of entrepreneurs such as Frank and Harold Bowden at Raleigh.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Raleigh and the British bicycle industry; Boom, bust and progress: the British bicycle industry 1870-1914; Frank Bowden and the making of the Raleigh Cycle Co., c.1887-1914; The ’golden age’ of cycling: depression and recovery in the inter-war years; From father to son: Harold Bowden and entrepreneurial ’optimism’ at Raleigh, 1914-39; Progress and challenge: the British bicycle industry in the post-war years, 1945-60; Triumphs and adversities: Raleigh Industries Ltd, 1939-60; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
'... offers an informative, well-researched history of the firm... offers an informative business history of a major British bicycle manufacturer... provides a rich source of information.' Albion '... provides a fascinating insight into a relatively under-researched sector and illuminates issues such as personal capitalism, strategic management and the influence of overseas competition in British manufacturing industry... The book provides a welcome and enjoyable addition to British business history.' Business History