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Former Raleigh HQ becomes England's 400,000th listed building

Joe Robinson
22 Aug 2018

The Howitt Building, Nottingham will now be Grade II listed on advice of Historic England

The former headquarters of historic British bike brand Raleigh has been made a listed building, the 400,000th in England. The Nottingham-based factory has been listed Grade II by the Government on the advice of Historic England. 

The milestone for Historic England comes after the Howitt Building joins the Elmdon terminal at Birmingham Airport, Plymouth's Royal Theatre and a 200-year-old Shropshire cottage on the protected list. 

The decision to grade the former Raleigh offices by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was made on the recommendation of Historic England.

The Howitt Building in Nottingham was constructed in 1931 for the Raleigh Cycle Company, which at the time was the world's biggest manufacturer of bicycles producing in excess of 1 million bikes per year.

The former factory still retains its original designs from almost 100 years previous with the exterior of the building covered in panels with scenes of children constructing bicycles.

Raleigh has a long association with professional cycling, most notably its TI-Raleigh team 

The Raleigh headquarters also became the focal point of African-Caribbean rights activism after Oswald George Power challenged the company's 'racially-discriminatory employment policy'.

After seeking the support of Jamaican premier Norman Manly, who halted all imports of bike parts from England, the factory eventually become one of Nottingham's largest employers of people of African-Caribbean descent. 

The building covers a 60-acre plot and today acts as a community centre, offices and ballroom named after late Jamaican activist, writer and poet Marcus Garvey.

Local Councillor Chris Gibson commented on the decision stating, 'Nottingham is known the world over as the home of Raleigh bikes and so we’re really proud.

'[This] will help preserve this historic building for future generations to come.'

Chief executive of Historic England Duncan Wilson also commented on the announcement and the importance of grading buildings.

'The List is a treasure trove of special historic places that demonstrate the rich variety of England’s history,' said Wilson.

'Reaching 400,000 entries is a milestone – it confirms just how important our heritage is and how much deserves protecting for future generations.'

Image credit: Historic England archives

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