Working Class Movement Library

Library displays
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Working people have always struggled to get their voices heard. The Working Class Movement Library records over 200 years of organising and campaigning by ordinary men and women. Our collection provides a rich insight into working people's daily lives as well as their thoughts, hopes, fears and the roles they played in the significant events of their time.

We have information on:

• The trades and lives of people who worked in the past - brushmakers, silk workers, tailors, boilermakers and others

• Trade unions, where people have banded together to improve their working conditions

• Politics and campaigns, from Chartism to the General Strike and more recent protests

• Creativity and culture - drama, literature, music, art and leisure

• Important people who have led activist lives

• International events such as the Spanish Civil War, and aspects of Irish history

Much of this information is held in books, pamphlets or leaflets. Many more stories are told by our photos, banners and tape recordings.

Our collection captures many points of view to tell the story of Britain's working classes from the beginning of industrialisation to the present day.

Our oldest items date from the 1760s. From the 1820s we have some of the earliest trade union documents to have survived.

We have material on politics of all shades and come right up to date with the archive of Jim Allen, the Manchester-born screenwriter who worked on Coronation Street and collaborated with film director Ken Loach.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

Tuesday 10.00a.m. until 5.00p.m.
Wednesday 10.00a.m. until 5.00p.m.
Thursday 10.00a.m. until 5.00p.m.
Friday 10.00a.m. until 5.00p.m.
Saturday 10.00a.m. until 4.00p.m - third Sat of each month only, and by appointment

Closed: Sundays, Mondays

Admission charges

Admission to the library is free.

Additional info

Everyone is welcome to drop by to view our ground floor displays. To use the reading room to study, please contact us in advance to make an appointment.

There are important collections on Thomas Paine, Peterloo, Chartism, rise of trade unionism, Socialism, Labour Party, Communist Party of Great Britain, Ireland, Spanish Civil War, General Strike, CND, suffragettes and suffragists, Co-operative movement.

Collection details

Social History, Photography, Music, Literature, Industry, Film and Media, Archives

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
WW1 trenches

Exhibition: To end all wars

  • 20 November 2015 — 1 April 2016 *on now

The north-west had a vigorous anti-war movement from 1914 onwards. This exhibition looks at some of those involved, both men and women, who fought for peace. Bill Chadwick from Westhoughton and Hugh Hutchinson from Bolton, whose stories were previously known only to their families, can now take their place amongst more famous names. Documents from the Hyde branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship, a unique collection held by the Library, are also on display. This is an alternative narrative of the war that deserves to be remembered as much as we commemorate those who fought and died.

Exhibition opening times: Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

The Library is extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the funding for this project, awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme.

A specially-written 'Living History' performance, No Power on Earth, will accompany the exhibition thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Based on the true story of Salford man, James Hudson, this monologue tells the story of an ordinary school teacher at the start of the First World War who finds himself at odds with the popular mood. The story celebrates his courage to stay true to his beliefs despite considerable pressure, and asks the audience to consider what they would do in such a circumstance.

The 30-minute free performance can be seen at the Library on Wednesday 2 March at 1pm and Saturday 5 March at 12.30pm, and at Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Sunday 21 February at 2pm. It will also be put on in Salford schools during February.

Website

http://www.wcml.org.uk/wariswrong

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Jame Hindle Hudson

'No Power on Earth' - a Living History performance

  • 21 February — 5 March 2016

A specially-written 'Living History' performance, No Power on Earth, will accompany the Library exhibition To End All Wars, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Based on the true story of Salford man, James Hudson, this monologue tells the story of an ordinary school teacher at the start of the First World War who finds himself at odds with the popular mood. The story celebrates his courage to stay true to his beliefs despite considerable pressure, and asks the audience to consider what they would do in such a circumstance.

The 30-minute free performance can be seen at the Library on Wednesday 2 March at 1pm and Saturday 5 March at 12.30pm, and at Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Sunday 21 February at 2pm. It will also be put on in Salford schools during February.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
TV Interference by Richard Milward

Richard Milward - Luddites' Nightmares

  • 27 April 2016 2-4pm

Taking inspiration from the machine-breaking Luddites of the early 19th century, artist Richard Milward is producing a series of paintings which, in his words, ‘expose, exaggerate and ridicule the ways in which modern technology encroaches on – and distorts – everyday life’. A month-long loan to WCML of one of these paintings is marked by this event, when we are delighted to welcome three of the country’s most inventive young authors to read from their own work on themes surrounding our relationship with technology.

Joe Stretch, novelist from Stockport who recently won the W Somerset Maugham Award for his book The Adult, will be reading, alongside London poet Salena Godden and Richard Milward himself.

Website

http://www.wcml.org.uk/events

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent
Salford
Greater Manchester
M5 4WX
England

Website

www.wcml.org.uk

E-mail

enquiries@wcml.org.uk

Telephone

0161 736 3601

Fax

0161 737 4115

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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