Murals of the iconic Grunwick Strike unveiled in Dollis Hill
PUBLISHED: 08:29 03 October 2017
The ‘Lions of Grunwick’ will always be remembered in Dollis Hill now two murals have been unveiled detailing their iconic strike 40 years ago.
Former strikers were among the crowds who met at the former Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories factory site in Chapter Road at on Saturday for the unveiling of one of two murals.
A dhol band then led the way to the railway bridge on Dudden Hill Lane where the second mural, 28 metres long, was revealed.
Vipin Magdani, a former striker who attended the event, said: “We are so happy that our struggle of 40 years ago is still being remembered by people today. Some of our memories have faded but the mural is bringing them all flooding back.”
The dispute was sparked by the dismissal of Devshi Bhudia for working too slowly which led to a two-year strike between 1976 and 1978.
Strike leader Jayben Desai told her boss: “What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager.”
At its peak more than 20,000 people came out to support the women, known as the “strikers in saris” by marching down Willesden High Road.
The murals, part of the Grunwick 40 commemoration project, were painted by artist Anna Ferrie who ran a series of community workshops.
Ms Ferrie said: “More than 60 people,including those who had been on the picket line, family members of local supporters, trade unionists, young activists and even the strikers themselves, were involved in creating these murals. They will be a significant visual presence in the local area and illustrate the value and benefits of community participation in public art.”
The project, which included an exhibition, and took two years to put together, was supported by a £24,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (ILF)
Sujata Aurora, chairwoman of Grunwick 40, said: “The efforts of those involved in the strike brought communities together at a time of racist division and still serve as an inspiration to us today.
“These artworks are a colourful public reminder of their contribution and bring a piece of history to light and to life.”
Stuart Hobley, head of HLF London, said: “The Grunwick 40 anniversary project will serve as a timely reminder of the 1976 strikes at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratory in Willesden. Thanks to National Lottery players, the history of the workers who demanded better working conditions and rights will be commemorated through the construction of new murals, an exhibition and a series of workshops for the public.”
This project was funded by generous donations from more than 300 individuals, trade unions, Near Neighbours and the Heritage Lottery Fund.