Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Posts Tagged ‘invisible histories’

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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Invisible Histories – it’s all coming along!

Posted by wcmlibrary on December 4, 2012

My name’s Neil Dymond-Green and I’ve taken on the role of co-ordinating the Invisible Histories project from Carrie Gough (who has done an excellent job in setting up the project and who we all wish well for her new job in Wigan).

This is my third week and I feel like my feet have hardly touched the ground – in a good way, of course!

haworths 28We’ve had three interviews in the last two weeks with people. We’ve been lucky enough to have one interviewee from each of the former workplaces which are at the core of our project: Agecroft Colliery, Ward and Goldstone Ltd and Richard ‘Dickie’ Haworth’s Mill.

We’ve heard some really interesting memories and anecdotes from our interviewees and we’re sure we’ll hear many more as our brilliant team of volunteers continue to interview other former employees of these workplaces. And we’re still looking for people to be interviewed, so if you used to work at one of these workplaces (or know someone who did), please do get in touch: neil.dymond-green @ or 0161 736 3601.miner 1970

In addition to getting to grips with the project and finding out about all the resources we have in the library, I’m also heading across the road this week to plunder the treasure trove which is the Local History Library. I’ve also been fortunate enough to take part in a condensed version of the Oral History training which our volunteers have done, which certainly got me thinking.

Ward and Goldstone Ltd, Frederick Rd

Ward and Goldstone Ltd, Frederick Rd

In the next few weeks, I will also be meeting up with the school we’ve enlisted to help us with the ‘Radio Ballads’-style podcast we will be making as a later part of this project. It will be really interesting to see how we can involve local young people in learning about the important industrial past of Salford. I’m also really looking forward to see how their creativity will come to life when creating music for the podcast.

All images courtesy of Salford Local History Library

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Invisible Histories Project Moving Forward

Posted by wcmlibrary on November 15, 2012

We have now held two oral history training days here at the library which were a great success. Our two trainers, Michelle Wilnslow and Ros Livshin, both from the Oral History Society delivered one full day session each which covered the skills needed when conducting oral history interviews. There was much to take on board and think about, the training will be of great benefit to the project.

Haworth’s Mill c.1950s
All Images Courtesy of Salford Local History Library

We are now in the process of  conducting interviews and creating the first recordings so it is an exciting time.  We have recruited 28 volunteer interviewees so far.  All the recordings will become a part of the permanent collection here at the Library and will contribute to a new oral history archive which will complement the existing audio material in the collection.  If you are interested in being interviewed then please get in touch with the Library.

Ward and Goldstone Ltd, Frederick Rd

Just to recap – the workplaces we are focusing on are Agecroft Colliery, Ward and Goldstone Ltd and Richard ‘Dickie’ Haworth’s Mill.

I recently met with a small group of former Ward and Goldstone employees who are now keen to come into the library and investigate our collection of Volex (Ward and Goldstone) documents.  Among other things they shed light on, an interesting snippet was that Ward and Goldstone were very economical with left over materials from the cable division.  Rather than discard unused materials, more often than not they would turn them into something else useful and marketable.  For example they produced clothes line made from left over cable plastic and also claim to have invented the Hula Hoop! (the toy not the snack).  A good customer of theirs was Woolworths which as we know has also sadly vanished from our high streets / working lives.

Aerial View of Agecroft Colliery

This is sadly my final week here at the Working Class Movement Library but it has been a real pleasure to work here and be a part of such a great project.  I intend to stay in touch but am handing over the role to Neil Dymond-Green who will be taking over immediately following my departure.  We have been working together over the past week to ensure a smooth transition.  I look forward to hearing the finished podcast next year and hope everyone involved has a great time working on the project!


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Invisible Histories update

Posted by wcmlibrary on September 7, 2012

The Invisible Histories Project is gaining momentum. We have now filled the places for the oral history training and are hoping to confirm dates this week.  There is a reserve list for those still interested though so do still get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

We will be publicizing the project over the next month or so to spread the word and hopefully recruit some more volunteer interviewees. If you worked at Richard Haworth’s, Ward and Goldstone Ltd or the Agecroft Colliery and want to share your memories and add to the Library’s audio archive then drop us a line.

I have been across the road to Salford’s Local History Library and found some good photographs of the three workplaces> The Library kindly allowed us to take scans of the images and some of these now feature on our project poster:

I am off to the Museum of Science and Industry’s archives to have a look at their collection relating to Agecroft Colliery which was housed there following the closure of the Lancashire Museum of Mining at Buile Hill.  I’m looking forward to having a rummage and seeing what I can find.

I am also writing a few paragraphs about our object of the month which will go up on the website and will be highlighting the 160th anniversary of the first free public library! Something Manchester should be very proud of.

I am very grateful for the re-tweets and re-blogs that we have been getting and for the general positive response to the project.


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Invisible Histories Project is Underway!

Posted by wcmlibrary on August 23, 2012

ImageIt is only my 5th day as new team member at the WCML and I’ve had a lot to take in!  I’m fantastically excited about this project and it has real potential to be the beginning of something wonderful for the Library and for the community.  For those who are not yet aware we are now working on our Invisible Histories – Salford’s Working Lives Project which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  There is a brief intro on our website:

I have a background in oral history projects but more importantly I love capturing memories and snippets of information that might otherwise go unheard or undocumented.  So-called ‘ordinary’ working lives are more often than not really quite extraordinary.  This project will be recording memories and using existing collections to breathe life back into some of Salford’s lost workplaces and hopefully will make younger generations more aware of Salford’s industrial heritage.  Focusing on Richard Haworth’s Mill, Ward and Goldstone and the Agecroft Colliery we will, over the next 17 months, be creating podcasts and a touring exhibition.

We are recruiting interviewees who wish to share their memories and experiences as well as volunteer interviewers.  For those interested in becoming a volunteer please do contact me at the Library (  Oral history training through the Oral History Society will be delivered and it is hoped that this training will then lead to further projects and become an ongoing activity which the library will be able to build on in the future.

At the moment I am in the process of researching our collection to see what can be used and made more accessible as part of this project and I have had lots of help from staff and volunteers already.  I am also arranging the first round of training and compiling lists of interested volunteers and I am going to be researching the next object of the month display.  I’ll be posting regular updates on our progress so keep an eye out.


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