A study has been made using transmission electron microscopy of the pinning of grain boundaries in aluminium during grain growth by fine dispersions of alumina particles. The boundary parameters have been determined with precision and the pinning effects measured using an approach due to Ashby and coworkers. These estimates of local driving pressures have shown that they are similar for both the low and the high angle boundaries encountered in the samples. The pinning effects by particles at high angle boundaries are in general accord with the model due to Zener whilst those at low angle boundaries are much higher than predicted by Zener. An explanation is offered.