Nottingham's Raleigh history immortalised in new app and website

10 Mar 2014 14:29:28.367

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The fascinating history of Nottingham’s world-famous Raleigh bicycle factory has been captured for the 21st century in a new website and smartphone app to be launched this week at The University of Nottingham.

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

Raleigh’s 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.

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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 in the place where once thousands of people 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 what we found out available to as wide an audience as possible. So we hope that 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 of course, the best way to do that is to go and meet the workers, to have a cup of tea and to 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 that the website contains. The site isn’t an official history of the company, with lists 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:

The website and app will be available here.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university among graduate employers, the world’s greenest university, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World's Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

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More information is available from Heidi Mather in the School of Education

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