Milton Fitzroy Cosdale

MILTON FITZROY CROSDALE worked at Raleigh for four years as a Production Controller until he left to work for the Race Relations Board in 1979. Crosdale’s work involved ensuring that all of the components needed were in place for the production of between 10-12 different models of prams being built by Raleigh.

“After the 1958 riots in St Anns between the Teddy boys and Black residents there was a delegation from the Federation of the West Indies.  In that delegation there was Grantley Adams, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Norman Manley who was Premier of Jamaica among others. They came to Nottingham and as part of the presentation made to them by the Black community they discussed Raleigh, which at the time didn’t employ Black people. The Federation collectively threatened to send back a shipload of bicycles to England. There was a representation made to meet the Chief Executive of the Raleigh Company while they were here and that’s where the discussions took place and changed things in 1959.”

Milton Fitzroy Crosdale

Published by When We Worked at Raleigh

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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