The founder of Brentford’s very own Brompton Bikes has been recognised by royalty for his lifetime’s work as a designer.
Staff at the company, which has been based in Hounslow for more than 20 years, this week celebrated news that the Design Council had given an award to the bike’s inventor, Andrew Ritchie.
He was presented with the Prince Philip Designers’ Prize by the Duke of Edinburgh last Thursday at Buckingham Palace at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the prize’s inception.
He celebrated by jetting off on holiday but Brompton’s managing director, Will Butler-Adams, said he and staff were very proud to have won.
He said: “The award is well-deserved recognition for a man who has dedicated his life to the fine perfection of the folding bicycle.
“Andrew never gave up on his belief he had conceived a product to add real value to people’s lives – years of knockbacks, refusals and false starts never dented his determination to make the Brompton a reality.
“We have been making our bikes in the area since 1988, from underneath the arches in Brentford, then on to Chiswick, moving on to our current 22,000 sq ft site back in Brentford.
“We have made more than 175,000 Bromptons, being enjoyed all over the world.
“Andrew has now received this tremendous recognition for his life’s work, with the support of all of our staff.
“But the philosophy he instilled in the business continues – we remain committed to British manufacturing, hoping to make the next 200,000 in west London and continuing to improve on the Brompton’s ingenious design year on year.”
Mr Ritchie’s vision was born in his bedroom workshop in 1975 and by 1988 a tiny factory by Kew Bridge was producing 60 Bromptons each month.
The distinctive foldaway bikes are commonly seen being hurriedly folded up by their owners as they board commuter route trains.
Parliamentary candidate for Brentford and Isleworth and Brompton fan, Andrew Dakers, said: "I have used my Brompton every day for four years and have experienced first hand what a wonderful piece of design and engineering Andrew Ritchie has crafted over the past 20 years.
"As a lifelong environmentalist, Brompton’s manufacturing presence in the ward – and contribution to changing how people get about our cities – is one of the factors that has made representing Brentford such a privilege.
"I look forward to many more exciting innovations coming from the factory in the years ahead."