A BOOK about a world famous Redditch business that was changing hands for £200 on the internet has been reprinted.
Royal Enfield, by local resident and social historian Anne Bradford, tells the story of the iconic company from its early days making bicycles to its role at the heart of the British motorcycle industry.
The book’s beauty is that it is written in the words of the workers themselves who give a warts and all account of life in the company.
There’s the tale of the old testers who would take a motorbike to a cafe, chock it up, fix the throttle and artificially clock up the miles while they enjoyed a cuppa and a natter, to that of enthusiast Nigel Buckingham who would ride to Weston super Mare or Bream in an evening to test the bikes out.
Nigel tells of the testers lined up at home time waiting for the hooter to go when they’d race for the gates to roar up Bates Hill and home.
Then there were the works teams, including the highly successful Brittain family who really put Royal Enfield on the competitive map, as well as testimony from the many women who also worked at the factory, some loving it, others hating it.
Inevitably it ends with the rising tide of Japanese imports that swept the British motorcycle industry away, but of course with Royal Enfield the marque lives on thanks to its Indian connection.
Lavishly illustrated, this book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in Redditch, motorcycles, bicycles and social history.
Royal Enfield: The story of the company and the people who made it great 1851-1969 by Anne Bradford, edited by Ray Knight, is published by Brewin Books of Studley and costs £14.95 from all good bookshops.