Please treat these dates as a guide only. Some dates are a year out. I am hoping that another enthusiast will update this page for me.
Early frame numbers were prefixed with a letter. They were stamped
on the left side rear dropout. The following is a list compiled from
various sources and is probably not 100% accurate. If anyone can provide
more accurate information, it would be very welcome.
(This series of letters needs revision. With more frames identified
it is clear that in the 1950's a single prefix letter was used for several
years. In the 1960's, as production increased to meet demand, more than
one letter was used per year. For example, E seems to be more relevant
to 1957-1958. I need to reinterpret the data I have to try and clarify
From 1968 to 1972 two numbering systems were used. The majority of
models had simple numbers, up to seven digits, sometimes with leading
zeros, stamped on the left rear dropout, at the top of the seat tube
to the rear or under the bottom bracket. I do not have sufficient data
to analyse these numbers and relate them to specific years.
Some models, the Professional and Giro d'Italia models
have been identified, had a letter and numbers. I am aware of bikes
with D, F and G. My initial view is that D was 1968-69, E was 1969-70,
F was 1970-71 and G was 1971-72, when the numbers changed to the new
From 1973 the numbers were in the form WP5000123 where:
W = Worksop (Carlton)
P = month of manufacture
|A = January
||G = May
||M = September
|B = February
||H = June
||N = October
|D = March
||K = July
||P = November
|E = April
||L = August
||S = December
The next digit indicates year of manufacture; 3 for 1973, 4 for 1974,
5 for 1975, etc.
The remaining numbers were sequential. The numbers were usually stamped
under the bottom bracket. Obviously this system would lead to duplicate
numbers every 10th year.
Note: the last cycles were made at Worksop in May 1981 and would thus
have been WG1xxxxxx, however Raleigh continued to use the W prefix for
Nottingham built Carltons for several more years.
(The full information including all other sources of Raleigh bikes
can be found on the Retro-Raleighs
Another possible source of dating are the Williams chainsets fitted
to many Carltons, which may provide a clue. The following information
was obtained from the Classic Rendezvous website.
Williams components are all marked with a letter or two letters
to indicate the season of manufacture which ran from 1st July
to 30th June until 1923. The season then ran from 1st August to
31st July thereafter. This list is taken from what appears to
be official Williams literature...
1918/1919 probably E