Working Class Movement Library
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.
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 to the library is free.
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.
Social History, Photography, Music, Literature, Industry, Film and Media, Archives
Exhibition 'Spirit of ‘45: from warfare to welfare'
- 1 May — 25 September 2015 *on now
Following the end of the Second World War the people of Britain elected a Labour government. It was a landslide victory. Seventy years later we recall the achievements of that government and explore what remains of its radical reforms.
Open during our drop-in times, Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.
Ewan MacColl, his life, his words, his music
- 10 May 2015 From 2pm
Gerard Cairns ("Shameless") is the young MacColl, Mike Joyce (The Smiths) is the (slightly) more mature MacColl and John Conolly ("Fiddler's Green" and "Mr. Punch and Judy Man") sings the songs.
£12 (£8 Salford University students), available from the University online shop http://shop.salford.ac.uk/ (NB tickets are not be available from the Library).
Songs for Cottonpolis
- 14 May 2015 5-7:30pm
Come and Enjoy the fine acoustic of the Library's hall - drop in any time 5-7.30pm to hear singing, browse exhibits and enjoy refreshments.
The Bailey Sisters are a trio who perform early and traditional music. Though known for their fine acapella performances, they also accompany their singing with fiddle, guitar and percussion.
They are marking Museums at Night 2015 by busking on the stairs at the Working Class Movement Library.
Their material draws on the Library's resources to present a history of the Manchester cotton trade in story and song.
- Family friendly
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent
0161 736 3601
0161 737 4115