Photo: Mark Stevenson

Mark’s History: Do you remember Stanningley’s ‘Bootie Folding Cycle’?

1 December 2017

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The Bootie Folding Cycle – or ‘Bootie’ – was designed by Thomas Kitchin and made by FT Kitchin of Vickersdale Works on Grove Street, Stanningley, writes Mark Stevenson.

FT Kitchin were a ‘Jack of all trades master of none’ engineers. They were a fairly small engineering company who were willing to take on the jobs others might of turned down.

stanningley bicyle

One of the old Booth’s bikes. Photo via bootybike.com and used under Creative Commons licence

They were described as quirky, clever and innovative – so much so that they were in business for more than 100 years.

From 1965 to 1973 they produced the Bootie Folding Cycle, it was designed to fit in the boot of your car and as well as been able to travel on the roads it was adapted to run on the rails.

They tried a tandem version but that would only fit in a Rolls Royce boot and wasn’t as popular.

The ‘Bootie’ name was chosen because the bike was designed to be small enough to store in the boot of a car, it was not really a folding bike more a very small, rigid-framed bike with folding handlebars and seat post. The Bootie was sold via advertising in the cycling magazines.

In 1966 it was priced at £25.10.0 (inc. tax), delivered.

The Dispatch featured the planned demolition of the Old Roundabout pub (pictured, top) last month.


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A Murray says:

My dad worked at FT Kitchin and I used to ride to school on one of these bicycles!

martin kearsley says:

I was only a child at the time, but I remember it well, as my father worked at F & T Kitchins for probably 25 years or more.

A. Murray says:

Your dad would probably have known my dad. He worked there most of his life! He was a fitter and turner. Left in 1965 and went to Australia then returned to Kitchins in 1969, for a couple of years.