For many years, in many parts of the world, the Raleigh "Sports" three-speed bicycle was considered the ultimate in human-powered transportation.
These bicycles were not toys, and, despite the model name, they were not sporting equipment..were serious vehicles.
hub (c1903-1990s), it should have on the hub a date of manufacture, which would normally also be the cycle's date of manufacture. "6" for "1936." After that, they started using two-digit date stamps.
If you are not sure the rear wheel on your bike is original, the charts below should help you determine the approximate date of manufacture.
Contemporary bicycles have many parts made of aluminum (or "aluminium," if you prefer) for lightness, strength and corrosion resistance.
Contemporary bicycles that have steel rims, or cranks, or handlebars, or brakes do so as a way of cutting corners and saving a little bit of money, for a low-end bicycle.
Raleigh 3-speed bicycles were introduced around the turn of the century, and kept improving in technology over the years, reaching a peak in quality probably in the mid-to-late 1950s.The mystique of steel caused the British cycle industry to be slow to adopt newfangled materials such as aluminum, and many British cyclists believed, even well into the 1960's, that steel rims, for instance, were superior to aluminum ones.