Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Archive for July, 2014

Then and now – two decades of growth at the Working Class Movement Library

Posted by wcmlibrary on July 15, 2014

Sorting through some old photographs recently we came across a picture of the library taken in 1990 and what was striking was the lack of greenery around the library. Visitors to the library nowadays cannot help but be struck by the garden surrounding us, with all its large shrubs and colourful flowers, but as the picture on the left shows this has only happened in the last 24 years.

Photograph of the exterior of the Working Class Movement Library in 1990

July 1990

Photograph of the exterior of the Working Class Movement Library in 2014

July 2014












And much of the change was down to Ruth Frow, one of our founders, who was a keen gardener as well as an avid bibliophile.  We were also helped by Mike Weaver, who came to the library as a garden volunteer and ended up as our library assistant, and by our (now retired) librarian Alain Kahan, who still puts in a few hours in the garden each week.  We also have had invaluable help from a volunteer, Sally Richardson, who as well as helping out in the garden, has been working on her PhD here at the library.

Other changes include the blocking off of Aldred Street where it joins The Crescent and the creation of the grassed area, with the sign that stops us recreating the 1990 photograph exactly.  Keen eyed viewers will also notice we no longer have someone standing just inside the gate and that’s because we now have a flower bed there as well.

We think the garden is a vast improvement to the library and thank everyone involved in keeping it looking so good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A new treasure of a donation, from someone who’s just found out about us

Posted by wcmlibrary on July 11, 2014

A lovely treasure has come our way, thanks to Sally Swift who read the recent article about us in The Observer and reckoned we sounded like we’d provide a good home for an autograph book that’s been in her family since the 1920s.   Her grandparents Melanie and William Moody were keen long-term members of the Salisbury Labour Party and Co-operative Movement, and Melanie compiled the autograph book with signatures mostly taken from letters addressed to the Moodys in relation to Labour Party matters.

The names are a veritable Who’s Who of the early 20th century Labour Party – George LansburyEllen Wilkinson, Ramsay MacDonaldMargaret Bondfield,  A.A. Purcell the subject of Kevin Morgan’s new book and recent talk at the Library, and many more.


Even Oswald Mosley makes an appearance, from the time when he was a Labour Party member and then MP.

What a wonderful addition to our collection – and what a great by-product of the Observer article (which also resulted in a highly welcome £350 in Paypal donations to the Library).

Like everything else in the Library the autograph book is now available for everyone to come and have a look at. Our opening times for drop-in visitors remain Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.


Lynette Cawthra, Library Manager

Posted in Collections, News | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »