In May 1974, over 500 Asian workers went on strike at the Imperial Typewriters factory in Leicester. Their grievances came from the lack of opportunities for promotion for Asian workers and unpaid bonuses. The striking workers saw the local TGWU as complicit in their underpayment. As the strike got underway strikers claimed that the "white workers don’t suffer from the same degree of discipline as blacks do." The representative of the TGWU for Imperial Typewriters was George Bromley. He objected to the unofficial nature of the strike and the demands being made. The factory closed in August 1974 and many say the strike was a "nail in the coffin." The typewriter, like Leicester’s industrial pride, was on its way out. It ushered in a new era of technology, migration, and worker rights. This shift from analog to digital, so ruinous to Imperial’s business model, provides an important lens through which to consider our relationship with technology today. I researched the strike and its history for my 2014 story, 'An Imperial Typewriter' and have been working with B3 Media on a multimedia & film project since winning B3 Media's TalentLab in 2015.  

Archival Research on Leicester's Imperial Typewriter Co.

Archival Research on Leicester's Imperial Typewriter Co.

Leicester Mercury Archives Housed at the University of Leicester

Leicester Mercury Archives Housed at the University of Leicester

Imperial Typewriter Good Companion Model 4 - the machine from my short story. 

Imperial Typewriter Good Companion Model 4 - the machine from my short story. 

Race Today backed this unofficial strike - an indictment against the local TGWU.

Race Today backed this unofficial strike - an indictment against the local TGWU.

Leicester Mercury Archives. 

Leicester Mercury Archives. 

Switch from analogue to digital meant that Imperial Typewriters was on its way out. Factors other than the Asian Workers Strike sealed its fate.

Switch from analogue to digital meant that Imperial Typewriters was on its way out. Factors other than the Asian Workers Strike sealed its fate.

Imperial Typewriter Co. is situated on East Park Road and is home to many small businesses owned by the local ethnic population.

Imperial Typewriter Co. is situated on East Park Road and is home to many small businesses owned by the local ethnic population.