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.
Votes for Women sash

Votes for women…or votes for ladies?

  • 12 December 2018 — 24 January 2019 *on now

This exhibition celebrates the first step that parliament took, one hundred years ago, towards all adult women finally gaining the parliamentary franchise (right to vote). Most accounts of the campaign that led up to this achievement have been constantly misinterpreted and distorted. This account draws on the collections in the Working Class Movement Library to try to do better justice to the long, complex and broadly based campaigns that led up to this partial success.

The exhibition is part of the Library's Heritage Lottery Fund project Voting for change and features various items acquired as part of this project.

Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

Website

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

Guernica Remakings

Guernica remakings

  • 31 January — 20 March 2019

A guest exhibition exploring the ongoing power of Pablo Picasso’s iconic 1937 painting Guernica through a display of 21st century reworkings from across the globe.
All are welcome to attend the exhibition launch evening – Thursday 31 January 6pm.
Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

Website

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

WCML interior

Sylvia and Silvio

  • 29 March — 23 May 2019

A guest exhibition about Sylvia Pankhurst and her companion, Silvio Corio, illustrating the lifelong activities of this couple in spearheading campaigns centred on social justice, human rights and anti-fascism.

Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

Website

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

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.
Rouse Ye Women publicity shot

Townsend Productions: 'Rouse, ye women'

  • 11 — 12 March 2019 7:30-9:30pm

Through traditional songs and ballads, Townsend Productions reveal the story of the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath in the West Midlands. In 1910 they began a successful ten-week strike, led by charismatic union campaigner Mary Macarthur, to more than double their earnings and establish the principle of a national minimum wage.
Tickets from www.wcml.org.uk/events

Admission

Tickets via www.wcml.org.uk/events

Website

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

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

logo: Heritage Open Days 2014 logo: Museums at Night

Website

http://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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