The Haden family’s long involvement in bicycle manufacturing began with George Joseph Haden (1851-1903), a glass-cutter born in the Stourbridge glassmaking district.

During his youth a craze for the new sport of bicycle riding and racing swept the country and it was in 1869 as a young man that he is believed to have first become involved in the manufacture of bicycles.

About 1872 he moved to Birmingham where there was an emerging cycle component industry. While still relying on the glass industry for his income, he was able to slowly develop his cycle manufacturing business so that by 1882 this had become his principle activity.

The Princes End & District Cycle Club, Season 1895 photograph
The Princes End & District Cycle Club, Season 1895

This photograph was kept by the Haden family. Neither the identity of the people nor the exact location of the photograph have been preserved but it is believed that George Joseph Haden is third from the left in the back row, and his two sons are third and fourth from the left in the front row.

Princes End is near Tipton in the Black Country of the West Midlands. At the time of the photograph George Haden and his sons were living in Birmingham, manufacturing bicycles and bicycle components. It would have been easy for them to take the train or cycle along the canal towpaths from their home to Princes End, for a day’s cycling from there out into the countryside.

Glass and bicycles, the twin industrial heritage of the Haden family