The 1970s was a traumatic decade for London. Changes in global trade disrupted all sectors of the economy. As docks and factories closed, so inner city London developed a landscape of dereliction and decay. The IRA bombing campaign brought fear to the capital’s streets. The population was shrinking and unemployment rising. Some people predicted that London was dying.
Londoners grew more assertive about their rights. The Equal Pay Act and a tougher Race Relations Act, had brought better conditions, in theory, for women and ethnic minority Londoners. But industrial relations worsened, along with other social tensions. A prolonged and bitter strike at the Grunwick film processing plant in Willesdon in 1976 was one of many London events that played out the decade’s conflicts in front of the world’s media.