Image of Raleigh Cycle Company's Former Head office- the Howitt Building on Lenton Boulevard, Lenton, Nottinghamshire.
Raleigh Cycle Company's Former Head office, the Howitt Building on Lenton Boulevard, Lenton, Nottinghamshire. © Historic England. View the List entry.
Raleigh Cycle Company's Former Head office, the Howitt Building on Lenton Boulevard, Lenton, Nottinghamshire. © Historic England. View the List entry.

Raleigh Bicycle Company Head Office Listed as National Heritage List Reaches 400,000 Entries

  • The National Heritage List for England has reached a record 400,000 entries today, recognising and protecting precious historic sites across the country
  • Raleigh Cycle Company's former head office in Nottingham is listed at Grade II, as British cycling celebrates 200 years
  • An Art Deco airport terminal, Plymouth Theatre Royal and a ‘squatter’s cottage’ in Shropshire are also newly listed
  • 99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed place. Find out what’s special near you by searching the List

Today, the National Heritage List for England has reached an impressive 400,000 entries for the first time.

Encompassing historic buildings, monuments, battlefields, shipwrecks, designed landscapes and World Heritage Sites, the List records the extraordinarily varied built heritage of our country and offers protection so these places can continue to be appreciated for years to come.

Hitting the 400,000 mark is the purpose-built flagship office for the Raleigh Cycle Company in Nottingham, listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

Raleigh was the world's leading manufacturer of bicycles when the head office was built in 1931. At its largest, the company produced over one million bicycles in a year across a 60-acre site.

The factory was also the focal point for a challenge to the racially-selective employment policy of many of Nottingham's biggest companies, which resulted in the factory becoming one of the city's largest employers of African Caribbean workers.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: “The List is a treasure trove of special historic places that demonstrates the rich variety of England’s history. Reaching 400,000 entries is a milestone: it confirms just how important our heritage is and how much deserves protecting for future generations.”

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The National Heritage List for England tells the story of our past, and the people, places and events that shaped it. This landmark highlights the huge diversity of historic places that we have protected and the integral role heritage plays in our culture."

Newly listed buildings

Howitt Building, Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham – Grade II

This 1931 building was the main office of the Raleigh Cycle Company, one of Nottingham's most important and prestigious manufacturing companies. By the early 20th century, Raleigh had become the world's largest manufacturer of bicycles and remained a major employer in the city until the 1950s.

The Howitt building is one of the last tangible reminders of the 100 years Raleigh spent in this part of Nottingham. Despite the closure of the factory, the history of bicycle manufacture on site is still visible - the front of the building has decorative panels showing putti (cherubic children) holding bicycle parts and using the tools of the trade, mimicking a production line.

The putti were sculpted by Nottingham-born artist Charles Doman and modelled on the architect Thomas Cecil Howitt’s son, Ian. Locally, they are known as 'the little Ians'.

The building also has an important place in the history of the African Caribbean community in Nottingham.  Oswald George Powe, a leading member of Nottingham's African Caribbean community and an activist for racial equality, campaigned for change to Raleigh's racially-discriminatory employment policy.

Having failed in negotiations with the company, Powe sought the assistance of Jamaica's first premier, Norman Manley, who promptly placed an embargo upon bicycle imports from England.

This action helped change the company's employment policy and led to Raleigh becoming one of the largest employers of African Caribbean workers in Nottingham.

Now known as Lenton Business Centre, the building houses office space, the Marcus Garvey Centre and the Marcus Garvey Ballroom, both named after the celebrated activist, journalist and poet who became Jamaica's first national hero.

The centre provides support facilities for older members of Nottingham’s African Caribbean community and the spacious concert hall was re-opened in 1981 as a music venue known fondly as 'the Garvey'.
Elmdon terminal building, Birmingham Airport – Grade II

The Elmdon building at Birmingham airport is a 1930s ‘Moderne style’ terminal. It was the original terminal building when the airport first opened in 1939 and is evocative of an era when aviation was at its most glamorous. It was designed to be an experience for passengers and spectators alike - it not only looked elegant but also housed a public bar, tea lounge and restaurant.

The striking concrete 'wings' playfully reflect air travel while also being functional as they provided cover for passengers boarding beneath. Balconies hugging the bowed end of the building were for people to watch the airport activity below, and the control tower was housed on top.

Theatre Royal, Royal Parade, Plymouth – Grade II

The Theatre Royal is a striking and sophisticated example of 20th-century design, completed in 1982. The theatre was commissioned by Plymouth City Council, who wanted a venue catering to large and small productions within a single auditorium. The architects created a moveable auditorium roof that could be lowered to conceal the upper tier of seating, providing a smaller venue while not detracting from the quality of the overall space.

The idea of making an auditorium adaptable in size rather than shape had never been attempted in Britain before. The building features distinctive geometric forms inside and out – from the octagonal concrete pillars, to the lift shaft.
Birches ‘Squatter’s cottage’, Cleeton St Mary, Shropshire – Grade II

This smallholder or squatter’s cottage and nearby barn was built in the late 18th or early 19th century and is an increasingly rare representation of a very humble, simple form of accommodation which was once common in rural areas. The cottage would most likely have been built by a ‘pioneer’ smallholder drawn to the area to graze livestock on the moorland and quarry coal and stone.

An animal shelter was built onto the original structure, housing livestock alongside the owner. The building is made from painted rubble stone and was converted for domestic use in the twentieth century.

What is listing?

The National Heritage List for England identifies the buildings, structures and sites which are architecturally or historically special enough to receive protection, so they can be enjoyed by current and future generations.

Listing is the term given to the practice of listing buildings, scheduling monuments, registering parks, gardens and battlefields, and protecting wreck sites.

The first powers to protect historic sites were established in 1882 with a list of 50 ancient monuments. From 1947 historic buildings started being protected through listing with nationwide surveys to identify buildings to protect, following on from the “Salvage Lists” compiled during the Second World War – these were created to identify which bomb-damaged buildings were special enough to be saved from demolition.

Over time the listed building system has evolved, as more and more special historic sites have been identified and protected.

What’s protected near me?

99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed place. The List can be searched online by postcode, keyword and type of protection, with results displayed on a map to show what is protected near you. From ancient to post-modern, England is full of fascinating places waiting to be unearthed.

You can also share your own understanding and photos of the places you know through the Missing Pieces Project.

Next Steps

Find out more about listing

Find out how to contribute your photos and insights

Search for a listed building or place near you