Save the Triumph Bonneville: The Inside Story of the Meriden Workers' Co-op

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Veloce Publishing Ltd, Sep 15, 2009 - Transportation - 448 pages
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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, minister's 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 worker's 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.
 

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About the author (2009)

John Rosamond was, like the British motorcycle industry, born in the West Midlands. After leaving school, he learnt his trade as a skilled welder and shortly thereafter was employed by the world famous Triumph motorcycle factory at Meriden to work producing their new oil-bearing frames. A socialist and union man, John was elected to speak on behalf of his fellow welders. Returning to welding frames after the Meriden sit-in, John became, in 1977, the second and last chairman of the Triumph workers' board of directors in particular, seeing through the continuing development of the world famous Bonneville model until the factory's closure in 1983. After Meriden, John was employed by the new Triumph firm in Hinckley and then returned to his original trade as a welder, assessing students in the craft until his retirement in 2003.

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