Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for April, 2011

Gagarin in Manchester

Posted by wcmlibrary on April 12, 2011

50th anniversary today of the first human in space – and a great story about nearly-lost film of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s visit to Manchester  on a trade union-sponsored tour in July 1961 at

The Library has lent a Soviet flag from its collection to Gagarin50, an exhibition of photography, fine art, mixed media and Soviet artefacts at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale celebrating the anniversary and Gagarin’s visit to Manchester and Trafford.

The exhibition runs from 9 April to 4 June.  Astronomer Gurbir Singh will give a talk about Gagarin’s Manchester visit on Saturday 28 May at 1.30pm.

Details of the exhibition and its related activites can be found here.

For the Library’s own Web page on Gagarin in Manchester head here.

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Trades Union Congress

Posted by wcmlibrary on April 7, 2011

The first meeting of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) took place in the Mechanics Institute, Manchester in June 1868 and the library holds a wide range of TUC publications from its earliest days right up to the present and these have now been fully catalogued.

Highlights of the collection include items from the General Strike and its precursor, the mining dispute of 1925 anCover of Songs to singd at least one item spans the TUC and Songs collection – Songs to sing: Dorsetshire Labourers’ Centenary Commemorations is a selection of songs sung at the centenary of the transportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and includes Song of Freedom by George Loveless who was one of the Tolpuddle labourers sent for transportation.  The library also holds items commemorating the centenary of that first meeting of the TUC in the Mechanics Institute.

On the theme of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, another highlight is a brochure for the TUC cottages which were erected in 1934 using money gathered from the trade unions of the day.  Each union was levied one penny per member and enough was raised to build six cottages to house retired agricultural workers who were also trade union members.  The cottages are still in use as housing today.  To find out more about the Tolpuddle Martyrs go to

To find any of our TUC material search our catalogue at

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