They said it'd never work when it was launched, but 33 years after the company was founded Brompton is the biggest bike manufacturer in the UK, knocking out 22,000 bikes a year of which 70% are exported around the world. And to mark that achievement Andrew Ritchie, founder inventor of the Brompton, has been awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize, awarded annually to recognize a lifetime contribution to design. His Royal Highness made the award at a reception held last night at Buckingham Palace to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Prize.
Run by the Design Council, the Prize recognises the work of the most talented designers and it's the most prestigious award for design in Great Britain. Ritchie came through from a strong field of nominees including Peter Saville, husband and wife team Jay Smith and Howard Milton, David Adjaye, Hussein Chalayan MBE, Wayne Hemingway MBE, and Eric Parry. Two Special Commendations were also awarded by the judges – to Michael Peters OBE and to Jeff Banks CBE.
Speaking after the award, Ritchie said he was “not finished yet”; although he stepped down as Managing Director in April last year he continues to work on the bikes in his capacity as Technical Director. Will Butler-Adams, his successor as MD, said, "This 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 that he had conceived a product that would add real value to people’s lives; years of knock-backs, refusals and false starts never dented his determination to make the Brompton a reality."
"Over thirty years on from the first prototypes, and with over 175,000 Bromptons being enjoyed all over the world, he has now received this tremendous recognition for his life’s work. The philosophy he instilled in the business continues: we remain committed to British manufacturing and to improving on the Brompton’s ingenious design year on year."
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.