One of the joys of being a photographer is that you can combine your love of photography with the other loves of your life. When I don’t have a camera in my hand I can often be found cycling around the Oxfordshire countryside or pottering around with one of my bikes.
So it was with great excitement that I made my way to the Brompton factory to photograph the production of one of the most unique bikes on the market. You may not recognise the name Brompton but you are sure to have seen them being pedalled around particularly if you find yourself in any city. The thing that makes a Brompton bike unique is the folding design. This allows the bike to be taken on public transport & even into the office. If you travel into London you often see someone board with their Brompton ready to alight at the other end & pedal away at speed!
Each bike & many of its components are made at the Brompton factory. You can custom build your bike to your own specifications from handlebars & lights down to the colour! Brompton’s history can be traced back to 1975, when the inventor and founder, Andrew Ritchie, created prototypes of Brompton bikes from his bedroom in South Kensington, London. Each bike is hand brazed by a skilled craftsman at the London factory. This makes every bike incredibly tough and unique. Each brazer is trained by Brompton for 18 months and has a ‘signature’ which they stamp on the parts of the bike that they work on.
The factory was state-of- the art & a long way from the small studios I often photograph in but I love the contrast between the modern surroundings & the traditional skills of the workforce.