Nottingham’™s Raleigh immortalised

Famous bicycle factory featured in website and smartphone app launched this week by University of Nottingham

By Steve Banting

The ‘I worked at Raleigh’ app and website are the results of a three-year collaboration between the University and theatrical event team Excavate (formerly Hanby and Barrett) to research the history of the factory and bring it to a wider audience.

The enormous factory on Triumph Road in Nottingham employed thousands of local people from the 1950s until it shut down in 2002, ending more than a hundred years of bicycle manufacturing in the city. The site is now home to the University’s award-winning Jubilee campus.

The Raleigh Project has involved researchers from the Schools of Computer Science, Education, English and History, who have worked with writer-performers from Excavate to create community events and historical resources for future generations.

Over the past three years the team has been gathering archive material, interviewing former Raleigh workers and staging events and performances to bring Raleigh back to life. The app and website will allow users to ‘walk’ the site of the former factory, hearing voices and seeing images from the past as they stand where thousands of people once worked making bicycles.

Professor Christine Hall, Head of the School of Education, said: “This project has been about capturing the voices and stories of local people who worked at Raleigh, an industry which has been hugely important to the history of Nottingham. We wanted to explore and celebrate the history of our site and make it available to as wide an audience as possible. We hope the website will be used in schools, in the university and by anyone interested in local history, and that visitors to the Jubilee Campus will enjoy using the app.”

Writer Andy Barrett from Excavate said: “We really wanted to tell the story of this iconic Nottingham factory from the people who worked there, from across the ages and across the many, many departments. And the best way to do that is to go and meet the workers, have a cup of tea and a chat. People have a real attachment to the factory, which came across in the stories that they told.”

Producer Julian Hanby added: “We’re really proud of both the quality and quantity of material the website contains. The site isn’t a list of statistics, it is a collection of memories of what it was really like to work at a huge twentieth century factory.”

The ‘I worked at Raleigh’ website and app will be launched at a public event in the Exchange Building on Jubilee campus at 6pm on Thursday 13th March 2014. Registration for the event is available via Heidi Mather in the School of Education. Contact: heidi.mather@nottingham.ac.uk

www.nottingham.ac.uk

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