Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

A new blog contributor adds to yesterday’s account

Posted by wcmlibrary on November 5, 2009

Lawrence asked us to talk about what we had been doing over the last few years interviewing Salford people about their lives in the past.

We at Salford LIDS (mainly Mike Scantlebury and Jane Wood) have been working for Retracing Salford since its beginnings. We had however been recording in Salford since we moved here and Community Radio started in the city. I had got the Community Radio bug a few years before in Longsight, Manchester where the first programmes in the country started.

I have become quite passionate about the amazing stories that have emerged at exhibitions around Salford of Old Streets, family photos, films and lots more. I was born in the last century! in Levenshulme, Manchester but I had never come across stories like this before. The conditions that some folks from some parts of Salford (mainly S567) experienced even in the 60s were so deprived. Diphtheria, Bugs, Midwife, were some of the titles of the excerpts we played. A lot of people in the room recognised the pictures that the stories portrayed and had indeed done some recordings of their own.

The midwife never locked her new mini in the street where she attended regularly and she remembered the names of “her mothers” and often delivered babies by candlelight without any phones in the middle of the night, and regarded her families with respect and enjoyed them as characters. We heard the lady who was willing to share all her food and soap with great good humour. Hunger was common as were bed bugs, blackjacks, mice and rats, despite constant cleaning. These people often “described everyone being in the same boat” and “everyone helping each other” and I am convinced that we have a lot to learn about how to make the most of our resources.

All the people in the room joined in and I think there was an agreement that these stories are so valuable. We are going to the sound archive next week to see how the general public can gain greater access.

In the meantime…they are being acted out by Blueberry Youth Theatre at Salford Arts Theatre on Sat 14th November at 7p.m. Ring 07770 769424 for details.
There is a wide variety of our recordings for radio and otherwise including one on the Working Class Movement Library on

and there are some recordings on http://retracingsalford/



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