LLOYD FERRON, born in St Catherine, Jamaica arrived in Nottingham at the age of 14 in 1957. His first job after leaving school was working at Raleigh. He worked in the fender shop, putting fenders on Choppers and other bikes as they moved down the conveyor belt.
“It was my first job when I finished school in 1969. I liked it because all my friends worked at Raleigh. It was like home from home. I also liked it because I was financially independent. I actually worked for two years the first time and then worked there a second time on an apprenticeship scheme.
The history of Black people working at Raleigh Industries in Nottingham is one which demonstrates the power of community activism. Raleigh, established in 1887, is one of the world's oldest and best-known bike brands. At its peak Raleigh produced 100,000 cycles, 250,000 hub gears, 15,000 motorcycles and 50,000 motorcycle gearboxes annually and despite the rising popularity of the car during the 1920s Raleigh become a world leader in bicycles, marketing its product to the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere.
Over time Raleigh would become one of the largest employers of Black people in Nottingham however this privilege would be one that the Black community would need to mobilise for politically. Oswald George Powe was one individual who challenged systemic racism in relation to employment.
Powe was a World War II radar operator and lifelong community activist, having founded a number of Black political organisations in the city. He arrived in the UK during the late 1940s and had a significant presence in Nottingham prior to taking up residence in the 1970s. While he advocated for Black people to work at Raleigh he never worked at Raleigh himself.
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