Frank Bowden was born in Devon and made a fortune in the stock market by the age of 24. When he returned from Hong King he was seriously ill and his doctor gave him six months to live. Bowden took up cycling on his doctor’s advice and bought a bicycle from a small shop on Raleigh Street, Nottingham, run by Messrs Woodhead, Angois and Ellis. He was so impressed with his recovering health and the bicycle that he bought the company; it was making three bicycles a week. Production rose, and three years later Bowden needed a bigger workshop, which he found in a four-storey building in Russell Street. He changed the company’s name to Raleigh Cycles to commemorate the original address. By 1896 it was the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world and occupied seven and a half acres in Faraday Road, Nottingham. He lived at The Ropewalk, Nottingham.
Bowden married Amelia Frances, daughter of Alexander Houston, in 1879. He had six children: Caroline, Helen,Winifred, Sylvia, Harold and Claud
Sir Frank died in April 1921, aged 73, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son Sir Harold Bowden, 2nd Baronet who ran Raleigh for the next 17 years and became President of the British Cycle and Motor-Cycle Manufacturers and Trader Union. Lady Bowden died in 1937.
Frank Bowden was buried in the Church Rock Cemtery in Nottingham. His grave is among many other graves of the rich and well to do of Nottingham’s Victorian Society.
It looks from the grave that Frank Bowden was buried with just two of his children. The grave marks his name and two of his youngest children, Claud and Winifred.