These films share an intimate view of British South Asian women’s lives, connected through a shared history of working at Mansfield Mills, Loughborough, Leicestershire. Focussing on women I have grown up around, this project is about first & second generation women from the Indian subcontinent that have spent their working lives in Britain’s textiles & hosiery industry. Looking closer into their lives, I realise that there are multiple relationships and complexities relating to:

“…the past, the peasant past, the tribal past and the colonial past each with it’s own particular prescriptions for the woman’s role, constantly intruding on the present”. (Wilson 1978)

In October 1972, 500 workers at Mansfield Hosiery Mills Ltd came out on strike because the Asian workforce had been effectively denied access to the best paid jobs on knitting machines and their union, the National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers, had failed to support them in their attempts over many years to gain promotion. The strike lasted some 12 weeks and the Union did make the strike official, but the eventual success of the strikers was made possible through the support of local community organisations and political groups, and Asian workers from other factories.

 

The lives of the women in these series are linked through their shared history of working at Mansfield Hosiery Mills.