The collapse of Fordist manufacturing industries and labour, characterized by a steep gradient of industrial disinvestment and decline, and visceral socioeconomic consequences for employees and for working-class communities, looms large both in urban studies narratives and in discourses of economic geography (Bluestone and Harrison 1982). The wrenching imageries of firm closures, rationalization and relocation, and attendant contractions of employment and incomes, were greatly exacerbated by both the scale and rapidity of collapse, and also by the locational specificity of the impact, with the inner city bearing the brunt of industrial decline. This was especially the case in Britain, where the restructuring of the 1960s and afterwards swept away many of Europe’s oldest industrial districts (‘first in, first out’), but was also manifested in other western European societies, as well as in the industrial heartland of North America.