British-made bicycles: then and now

We love the contrast of these two films portraying British bicycle manufacturing – one from 1945, and the other made 8 decades later

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/39401575]

The first film, shown above and entitled ‘How a Bicycle is Made’, was produced  in 1945 by the British Council. It portrays a factory in the heart of industrial Britain making bicycles for Raleigh. Sadly Raleigh stopped manufacturing bikes in the UK   in 2002, and is no longer British owned, but at one point it was making more bikes than any other company in the world.

In ‘Made in England: The Artisans Behind the Handbuilt Bicycle’, Matthew Sowter and Ricky Feather travelled around the country with photographer Kayti Peschke to interview artisans who handbuild bicycle frames.  It is one of many such films that are now being produced that depict craftsmen at work in the British Isles, and shows how, more than ever, there is an appreciation of  the hand-made  and the one-off.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/43690903]

Great Britain, a nation that was once renowned for its mass-manufacturing, is now starting to see a return to old-fashioned values and an appreciation of things that are hand crafted; items that cannot be recreated by mass-production are much more individual and have far greater longevity than something that is sold in its thousands from a high street retailer. We love to celebrate this sort of product on Make it British – if you know of a brand that makes beautifully crafted British goods then please get in touch, or leave a comment below.

The film ‘Made in England’ was created to tie in with a book of the same name that depicts  framebuilders and their working environment.  For more details about the book and the project visit the Made in England Book Facebook  Page.


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