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Raleigh Workers A – D

Roydon Allen

ROYDON ALLEN, on leaving school, was offered four opportunities of employment, one of which was at Raleigh. Allen’s mother was already an employee at the factory. His decision to become a Technician apprentice was influenced by the conditions he saw his mother working in. “I saw my mum in the press shop where there wasn’t…

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Burnett George Anderson

BURNETT GEORGE ANDERSON worked at Raleigh between 1966 and 1992, moving between several different departments, including: the hubs department, the Toy Fab department, and then onto electrical welding. “I was the only Black person to enrol on The National Education Board of Supervisors Studies training course at Loughborough University in 1975. It was a one-year…

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Lydia Benjamin

LYDIA BENJAMIN came to Nottingham in 1969. After working at Players for a short period, she moved to Raleigh in the 1970s and stayed until Raleigh closed in 2002. Her work was hard and involved lifting bicycles off the conveyor belt and working with toxic chemicals. “Sometimes I had to mix my own glue as…

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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…

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Gladstone Deslandes

GLADSTONE DESLANDES worked for over 30 years at Raleigh in three different departments, including: the general machine shop, the plating shop (a job he detested because of the harmful chemicals he was exposed to) and finally, for the last eight years of his employment, he worked as a tool setter and operator cutting racing bike…

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Jasmine Deslandes

JASMINE DESLANDES worked at Raleigh for nine years from 1965. She worked in the finishing shop putting the final touches to the bikes. Like many of her colleagues she worked piece work. “If you went in on a Saturday, you might take home £7, but you had to work hard for it, really hard.” Jasmine…

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Lloyd Dunwell

LLOYD DUNWELL was part of a team of young Black men aged between 16-17 years old working in the rim shop assembling wheels at Raleigh in 1961. We were getting more work done than our white colleagues and we were being paid less for the piece work.  Nothing was done about it and there was…

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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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