front of kitchin workshop building from town street

F. T. Kitchin and the Vickersdale Works

Home of the Bootie Folding Cycle

The Bootie Folding Cycle was designed by Thomas Kitchin and made by F. T. Kitchin of Vickersdale Works, Grove Street, Stanningley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, England. The Vickersdale Works was an industrial area bounded roughly by Town Street,overhead view of vickersdale works Arthur Street, some residential properties in Fern and N View terraces and Hill Side Mount, and a special school to the east. It comprised around 1.3ha according to planning documents for a potential redevelopment in 2012. The area was bisected from south-west to north-east by an alignment known as 'Vickersdale', with two thirds to the east of that line.

F. T. Kitchin occupied two of the larger buildings: An unlikely looking shed along Grove Street (to the west of Vickersdale) was, I am told, used for offices. The other, taller (and just across Vickersdale), was the fabrication workshop, of brick construction but latterly clad in green/grey metal sheeting. Most of the 'Kitchin' signage ('F. T. KITCHIN ENGINEERS WELDERS EST. OVER 100 YEARS') remained on the Town Street overhead view of vickersdale worksfrontage after 'Metal Interests' took over the premises. They removed the 'Kitchin' name but didn't bother to remove the rest. The 'witness marks' for what they did remove remained clearly visible.

One who remembers the Kitchin firm describes it as follows (thanks to Stu Marshall):

…relatively small, true 'jobbing' engineers. Going into their premises was like stepping back in time, with drawings, objects laying all over the place. Very quirky and never really specialising in any one concept, but trying their hand at several. They were however, quite innovative as the above [referring to the Bootie] demonstrates. Some very clever ideas. Basically, if you wanted something that wasn't generally available, they'd make (invent) it for you! Sadly, they were never big enough to develop these through as was the need for modern manufacturing, so somewhere along the line, they lost their way somewhat. Some of the equipment and other paraphernalia in their premises would have been an antique dealer's dream. A well respected little company nonetheless, and one sadly missed in these days of mass production.
entrance from town street