Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest.It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age.Almost all English 3-speeds have Sturmey-Archer rear hubs.
The company was sold to a group of money manipulators who shut it down in hope of making a quick profit by selling off the assets.
The Taiwanese company Sunrace bought the equipment, stock and rights to the name and is back in business.
Most older Sturmey-Archer hubs have two or three-letter model codes, which are usually stamped onto the hub shell.
Conveniently, they also usually have the month and the last two digits of the year of manufacture stamped onto the shell.
This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear wheel.