Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for March, 2013

Invisible Histories update

Posted by wcmlibrary on March 26, 2013

We’re at an exciting point in the Invisible Histories project (I say that, but pretty much every day on the project is exciting and fun!). We’ve completed twenty interviews with people who used to work at our three former workplaces:

  • Agecroft Colliery
  • Ward & Goldstone’s factory
  • Richard Haworth’s mill

While we’re still happy to have more people come in and be recorded, we’re also moving into a new stage of the project. Some of the wonderful volunteer team are listening through all the interviews, selecting the extracts that appeal to them, whether as a good piece of social history or description of workplace conditions, or where there are special memories of workplace friends or practical jokes at work. Some of our volunteers have braved the basics of audio editing, discovering that it’s not actually scary (and not really much more complicated than copying and pasting in Word!).

We’ll soon begin choosing which interviews we are going to fully or partly transcribe too, so plenty of work for the team to get their teeth into.

Meanwhile, we’re beginning our collaboration with Buile Hill Visual Arts College ( which will see a group of Year 9 students work with a creative practitioner, a musician and us to create a podcast inspired by Ewan McColl’s 1950s Radio Ballads ( The students will be using the interviews, and especially the selected extracts, as original historical source material to help them understand the work and social situation in Salford and how it’s changed, as well as creating music and song to link themed extracts together. The students will also be helping the volunteers and me with what goes in the end-of-project exhibition.

We’re currently advertising for the freelancers to support this part of the project. Follow these links to find out more (and pass them on to anyone you think will be interested):

Creative Practitioner –

Musician –


Neil Dymond-Green, Project Learning Coordinator, Invisible Histories Project

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A lovely donation of lovely union membership cards

Posted by wcmlibrary on March 20, 2013

Yesterday we received a parcel of union membership cards for a Mr Leonard Roe who joined the London Society of Compositors in August 1912, and left the National Graphical Association in 1969 presumably on his retirement.

There are cards for 1912-1955 for the London Society of Compositors, cards for 1956-1966 for the London Typographical Society and cards for 1967-1969 for the National Graphical Association – 57 years worth in all.

As you would expect from a typographical/graphical trade union the cards are quite distinctive, although the National Graphical Association cards are a bit plain – as you can see below.

We particularly liked the art deco ones from the 1930s.

A big thank you goes to Michael Wood who donated the cards to us.

Leonard Roe membership card 1912Leonard Roe membership card 1934Leonard Roe membership card 1969

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From AASA Viewpoint to Zip – a journey through one library’s periodical collection

Posted by wcmlibrary on March 8, 2013

Another day, another major project completed! I have just finished my ‘journey’ through our short run periodicals.

As you may know the library gets donations of materials from all sorts of places and people and amongst those donations are a variety of magazines and journals. In general we don’t get a full set, but only a few copies of each title – and these are our short run periodicals.

And I have just finished cataloguing them – all 3000 of them. Prior to this they were tucked away in filing cabinets, with only an incomplete spreadsheet to let us know what we had. Now they are in boxes with relevant subjects or organisations.

One result of this is that we have discovered we have 3 boxes of Anarchist periodicals, and 7 boxes of periodicals about Socialism. We have also added substantially to our collections of Irish and Labour Party periodicals.Cunningham Amendment

I have catalogued items from trade unions, political parties, pressure groups, community groups as well as general political and social issue magazines, most deadly serious, but some are funny, such as The Cunningham Amendment, published by the East Pennine Anarcrisps – but if you want to see how funny it is you’ll have to come and visit us – or search our catalogue at to find out more (and yes, it is held together with elastic bands and lolly sticks).


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Never a dull moment at WCML – young visitors, and a donkey’s hoof…

Posted by wcmlibrary on March 4, 2013

It’s great to have University of Salford PhD candidate Matt Kavanagh as a volunteer here one day a week during his second year of study. This is part of our joint Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD series with the University.

Matt has a teaching background, and we were delighted to welcome a group from Sir John Deane’s Sixth Form College here recently to have a session with Matt exploring primary sources from our collection relating to Peterloo. 6th form visit feb 14 2013 7

6th form visit feb 14 2013 11

Last week also saw my favourite enquiry in a long while.  Someone researching Bristol local history wanted to know whether our papers of activist Angela Tuckett held any information about an 1891 footpath preservation case involving her dad, solicitor Richard Clapton Tuckett.  Remarkably they did – even some illustrations of the local area at the time.   Sadly we have not, however, found any trace of a peculiar relic the enquirer had heard was found at the time in a well, and which was said to have been hung over the door to Richard’s Bristol office  – a donkey’s hoof . We’ll keep looking though.

Lynette Cawthra, Library Manager

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