Raleigh Workers Q – Z

David Sinclair

DAVID SINCLAIR joined Raleigh on a Youth Training Scheme around 1979. “I needed to get some work experience and to earn so that I could deal with everyday issues. I had a good spell there, but it wasn’t for me. I found it dirty and noisy and assembling bike parts on the production line wasn’t…

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Winston Smellie

WINSTON SMELLIE worked on the production line in the finishing shop on Faraday Road for about 11 months before leaving. He was seventeen years old at the time. “Racism was rife back then. We would get really angry because nothing was done about it and sometimes it would develop into fights. They did nothing to…

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Cordova Smith

CORDOVA SMITH, after undertaking a course in electrical welding, worked at Raleigh. He undertook light engineering work, welding car seats and some of the heavier bicycles. “I can remember welding frames which were going to Nigeria and they had a welding inspector so that if the job was not done properly you had to do…

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Winston Stewart

WINSTON STEWART worked at Raleigh on two occasions, the first being from 1976 to 1978. He later went back to Raleigh during the 1980s and by then there was a new department manufacturing the BMX bike. During his second stretch at Raleigh he was promoted as a trainer for trainees. “When I first worked at Raleigh…

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Nigel Sutherland

NIGEL SUTHERLAND found himself at Raleigh in 1970. He worked at Raleigh on two occasions and in total spent ten years working there “My first job was in the Ring Braze learning to put frames together. Then when I went back to Raleigh I worked in the finishing shop where the bikes were assembled and…

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Iona Walker

IONA WALKER, although not a Raleigh worker herself, recalls that three members of her family worked at Raleigh: her mother Vivianna Walker, her father David Walker and her sister Yvonne Walker. “My mother worked there the longest. I think she did about twenty years and my dad did a spell there, but he didn’t stay…

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Bettina Wallace

BETTINA WALLACE began working at Raleigh in February 1974 and stayed for five years. She worked in the tyre department, ensuring orders were typed up and sent to the shipping division. “I liked the secretarial work. I didn’t like the fact that I was the only Black person working in the office. So, when I…

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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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