Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for February, 2012

How we’ve tried to ‘get the vote out’ to win our Museums at Night contest

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 29, 2012

Five more days in the public vote to ‘win’ photographer Simon Roberts to come to a Museums at Night event in May.  Vote here!

Library manager Lynette was asked by the Culture24 organisers to summarise what we’ve been doing to ‘get the vote out’.  Here’s what she told them:

Given I’ve been doing it alongside the day job (we don’t have a marketing/PR person) I’ve not been in a position to do anything radical. We do however have good contacts and very very loyal supporters, and they have been doing a brilliant job in getting the vote out for us.

So far we’ve had publicity here:

  • Live interview on Radio Manchester breakfast show, jointly with Manchester’s People’s History Museum. (They’re shortlisted too, in another category, and what’s been really useful is that we have been able to do reciprocal mentions of each other’s bids in e-bulletins, tweets etc.  You can vote for them here).
  • Front page of Salford Council intranet

Simon Roberts -® Francesco Niccolai


We’ve done features on Facebook, on our blog, and have featured the competition twice in our e-bulletin.

We’ve had tweets from Marketing Manchester (17,000 followers), Creative Tourist (7,000 followers), Salford City Council (5,000 followers), Archives Hub (4,000 followers), People’s History Museum (3,500 followers).  We’ve been tweeting like mad ourselves too of course…

Any further publicity anyone can offer us will be very welcome – we’re doing well in the voting, but with five days still to go there’s still time for plenty of last-minute drama!  If you haven’t already done so, please vote here.

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Was that really a man on a penny farthing making his way up The Crescent yesterday?

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 27, 2012

Great event at the Library yesterday, with 50 cyclists arriving from Bolton and Stockport, via the People’s History Museum, to come and visit our Clarion exhibition and enjoy a splendid Clarion tea (aren’t we lucky to have a former professional caterer as one of our team of volunteers? Thanks Jean!  Also the Co-op for helping towards the cost of the ingredients).

You can see the cyclists arriving (one on a penny farthing), and interviews with some of the participants in the ride including actress Maxine Peake who’s a great friend of the Library, on YouTube at (thanks Richard!)

The exhibition runs until the end of March, and is part of the Manchester Histories Festival.

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Aren’t you a library? Why would you want to win a photographer? Here’s why…

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 20, 2012

We’re keen to win a Museums at Night event with photographer Simon Roberts. The usual focus (pun intended!) of the WCML is on the power of words to make change. We’re eager to explore the collaborative dynamic between the power of language and the power of image.

Have you voted for us yet? We need your vote!

Click here to help us win a Museums at Night event featuring Simon Roberts!

The Library does already have many hundreds of photographs, until now hidden away in filing cabinets at the very top of the building.  But thanks to the University of Salford’s institutional repository, who have very kindly offered us space on their server, and thanks to the work of library volunteer Jess, some of them have been digitised and are now visible to the world.

Meeting in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester during 1926 General Strike

Meeting in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester during 1926 General Strike is the link to some fifty pictures, ranging from photos of the interior of the Clarion Café in Market Street, Manchester to photos of women workers during the First World War.

Industrial disputes feature, such as a 1934 wire drawers’ strike and the Roberts-Arundel dispute in Stockport in 1967.

There are pictures of crowds during the 1926 General Strike in central Manchester, too.

And there is a selection of pictures from the Spanish Civil War, focusing particularly on International Brigade volunteers.

Spanish Civil War - Aragon Front

Spanish Civil War - Aragon Front

And this really is just the tip of the iceberg.   There are dozens of drawers full of photos upstairs.  If there’s any topic you think we might have photos on and you’d like us to  get on and digitise, let us know at and we’ll see what we can do.

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Photographer Simon Roberts coming to Salford? We hope so…

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 16, 2012

Culture 24 is a Web site that brings together a range of cultural activities and hosts an annual event, Museums at Night: an ‘after hours celebration when hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening events’. This year they invited places like us to apply to have photographers, artists, and other creative people come and participate in their events. We did, and have been chosen for the public vote competition!

Vote here to make sure we get the chance to have the award-winning photographer Simon Roberts visit the WCML for our event on the Museums at Night weekend in May.  If we win, he will photograph modern dissenters, drawing inspiration from the stories of past campaigns archived in our library. We’ll use these, and the public’s photographic responses, to debate the power of pictures and writing to move and to persuade.

From Simon Roberts's Election Project

Election Project - Gordon Brown, Labour. Rochdale, 28 April 2010 (Rochdale constituency) Copyright Simon Roberts

Simon’s two projects Motherland and We English are especially interesting. In ‘Motherland’, Simon documented the lives of people in post-Soviet Russia as they are rather than as they are typically received by the west. The stunning photographs in ‘We English’ depict the activities of people in the British landscape, and remind us of our current exhibition on the lifestyle activities inspired by the Clarion newspaper such as rambling and cycling.

Simon was also commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to create a record of the 2010 General Election.  The image on the left comes from the portfolio of 25 photographs he produced.

I like to think we have an affinity with Simon’s work, and the way he approaches his subject matter as identified by critics on this page of Simon’s Web site — documenting the lives of ordinary people in their social landscapes in a way that challenges preconceptions and reveals their beauty and richness.  We’d be very excited to win this competition and have him come to Salford.

Jen Morgan, volunteer

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Mayor knocked over by an accelerating cheese

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 8, 2012

You couldn’t make it up.  According to a pamphlet I have just catalogued the mayor of Nottingham was trying desperately to intervene in the Nottingham Great Cheese riot  of 1766 when he was knocked over by an accelerating cheese.  This makes sense when you realise that cheeses were round and during the riot were ‘liberated’ by the rioters and rolled away as quickly as possible.  As the author, the entertainingly named Valentine Yarnspinner, says the tale catches the attention because it conjures up lovely slapstick images of politicians being publicly humiliated by foodstuffs.

The pamphlet Damn his charity, we’ll have the cheese for nought! is published by Loaf on a Stick Press, which isn’t some random name as I at first thought, but is named after the practice of walking around with a loaf of bread on a stick to signal the start of a food riot.

I love this job … you learn something entertaing almost every day.

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