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• A unique account of a workforce taking over the factory to save the world's most famous motorcycle, the Triumph Bonneville
• Written by the welder who became chairman of the workers' board of directors
• The most controversial chapter in the history of Triumph and the British motorcycle industry
• The most famous of Labour's/Tony Benn's workers' co-operatives
• John Rosamond was at Meriden under BSA, Triumph, NVT and the Triumph co-op until the bitter end
• An integral part of the decision-making process, John witnessed the final negotiations to save Triumph
• John was the public face of Meriden, often featured in the contemporary press
• This part of Triumph's story has never before been written firsthand
• Previously unpublished photographs from the personal collections of the Meriden workers
• 2009 coincides with the 50th anniversary of the legendary Bonneville
Written by the ex-Chairman of the workers’ board of directors of the famous Meriden co-op, this is the real story of the last bastion of British motorcycle production following the collapse of the industry. It’s also the story of a workforce’s refusal to let the Triumph Bonneville die ...
There is no more famous motorcycle than the Triumph Bonneville, the Bonnie, "the best motorcycle in the world," and the Meriden factory producing this icon was a personal Mecca to fans of the marque. Film stars such as Steve McQueen visited Meriden for their Triumphs. But on the brink of what should have been its biggest ever sales season, the BSA parent company dramatically collapsed. The Conservative government reacted, and Norton-Villiers-Triumph was created. The new owners decided to close down Meriden ... so the workers locked them out.
There followed protracted political negotiations, affected all the while by national government changes, ministers’ attitudes, national and international economic conditions and, throughout all this, the world's continuing desire for the Triumph.
As much a study of changing sociopolitical attitudes as of an economically traumatic time for both Triumph and the country, socialist John Rosamond's unique position within the workers’ co-operative makes this work a fascinating account of a story never before told from the inside. The reversal of his role from worker to chairman brought with it new responsibilities, bringing home to him the passion that employees, customers and dealers had for Triumph, and how that could keep Meriden from closing and the Bonneville in production. During all these desperate struggles, the Triumph Bonneville became the best-selling motorcycle of its class, winning the coveted Motor Cycle News Motorcycle of The Year award at the end of the seventies. Yet within just a few years of this, Meriden and the Bonnie were finally gone.
All the rescue attempts, the lifesaving international orders, and the negotiations for a reprieve with the new Thatcher government are covered here in unique detail, as is the introduction of new models that Meriden hoped would attract a 'white knight'. Lavishly illustrated with never-before-seen photographs from the personal collections of the factory's workers, this inside-story of Triumph's last years at Meriden is the definitive history of the most famous of the Tony Benn worker's co-operatives.
"THE reference book about the Meriden Co-op and one which will be referred to by future historians." – Nacelle
"A lively glimpse of the Midlands of the 70s. ****" – Coventry Telegraph
"Any devotee of the British industry must read this book published by Veloce, which is a landmark publication that will no doubt be studied by scholars and students for many years to come." – inter-bike.co.uk
"As a case study of how political idealism and industrial realism cannot work together, this is a must for any student. As a book of interest to a classic motorcycle enthusiast, John Rosamond is to be commended." – Classic Bike Guide
"A densely packed narrative reproducing detailed reports, letter and minutes of meetings from the era that portray an unremitting and unequal struggle against under-funding, economic depression and a collapse in the motorcycle market. It rewards the effort though, and is sure to bring a lump to the throat of all but the most hard-hearted of readers. " – Triumph World
"This is set to become an important historical record of the efforts of the workforce to save the iconic Bonneville." – British Motorcycle Charitable Trust News
"Recommended – if you want to find out why such a well-known name went to the wall." – Teme Valley Times
"A compelling read." – Truck & Driver
"an enthralling read" - The Road