Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for October, 2011

‘Someone has to keep the records’

Posted by wcmlibrary on October 10, 2011

Heard on the Today programme last week – an account of a work by Jonathan Coe set to music of the High Llamas called Notes and Letters. Basically about memories and what happens when buildings where people lived are torn down. At the end of the excerpt the line, delivered with emphasis, was ‘Someone has to keep the records’. A mantra for the Library, I thought.

Jenny, volunteer

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Well done, Clarion cyclists

Posted by wcmlibrary on October 4, 2011

Cheers to WCML volunteer Stuart and all the other cyclists who have just completed a tour of Britain and Ireland to remember the volunteers from the British Isles who joined the International Brigades to fight Franco’s fascist-backed revolt against the Spanish Republic 75 years ago.  The tour, organised by the National Clarion Cycling Club and supported by the International Brigade Memorial Trust, covered 645 miles, calling at International Brigade memorials along the way to pay homage to the 527 men and women from Britain and Ireland who were killed in Spain.  The cyclists arrived in London in time for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street – see previous blog entry.

And an anecdote we couldn’t resist.  Stuart has brought us in – alongside some very welcome money for WCML badges and books he sold along the route! – a book compiled by Lynda Walker recollecting Madge Davison, policital activist and campaigner.   Having gone to work in a tobacco factoy in her native Belfast after leaving school she became active in the civil rights movement and later returned to study, eventually becoming a barrister.  The book describes Madge being respected in the profession for her ability to combine hard work and a down to earth approach. Her colleagues say that she could be heard in court saying ‘Well the craic is this M’lord’…

Lynette

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4 October 1936 – Battle of Cable Street remembered

Posted by wcmlibrary on October 4, 2011

On this day in 1936, a fascist march on London’s east end was stopped by a large counter-protest. It became known as ‘The Battle of Cable Street’. There’s a link to some good quality newsreel footage of the event at the 75th anniversary commemoration Web site.

As that site says:
In 1936, fascism was gaining ground across Europe. In Britain, Sir Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirted British Union of Fascists (BUF) portrayed Jewish people as the cause of the country’s problems. East London had the largest Jewish population in Britain and the announcement that Mosley and his Blackshirts planned a provocative march through the area on October the 4th was greeted with anger and a determination that it should be stopped. A petition was signed and local politicians tried to have the march called off – but to no avail.

On the day, up to 250,000 people gathered to defend the East End. There was a fierce battle with the police when they attempted to clear a path for the march and a barricade was erected and defended in Cable Street. People in their houses threw eggs, milk bottles and the contents of chamber pots from upstairs windows, whilst at ground level, marbles were rolled under police horses’ hooves. The march could not proceed and Mosley was ordered to abandon his plans. It was a blow against fascism and that night there was dancing in the streets.

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