Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Posts Tagged ‘Library news’

Ringing out the old, ringing in the new – our new blog

Posted by wcmlibrary on May 12, 2015

Our new Web site allows us at last to bring our blog closer to home – our new blog features on the site at

We will not be adding any more blog postings at this address therefore.  But we will leave the existing postings here to be browsed through.

If you’d like to become a library blogger, reviewing new books for us or helping us highlight in other ways aspects of our amazing collections, let us know – enquiries @

Thanks for your interest and support, Lynette Cawthra, Library Manager

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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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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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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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Very chuffed librarian and library assistant to stay at WCML

Posted by wcmlibrary on January 4, 2012

I think that the headline says it all.  Both Tara (our Library Assistant) and I have been offered (and accepted) permanent contracts here at the libary.  And we are both over the moon to use a seriously overused cliche.

This doesn’t mean we are out of the woods as regards our fundraising.  As Dennis, our treasurer says “We recognise it is taking a bit of a risk with our outgoings still exceeding our income, so we’ll still have to dip into our reserves to cover any shortfall, but the Trustees, buoyed by the early success of the [fundraising] appeal, are prepared to take the risk of eventually reaching our target rather than making anyone unemployed when jobs are so hard to come by.”  And who are we to argue with him.

However we do still need to increase our donations to £80,000 per year by 2015 – we are currently at about £50,000 per year – so if you can give anything, or better still commit to give a regular monthly sum, visit our website at to find out more.

But in the meantime I’m still a chuffed librarian and looking forward to putting into place my master plan for the reorganisation of the book stock based on the colours of the rainbow!  You may not know, but the library is in a Victorian building that was formerly a district nurses home, and all the books are shelved in what were the nurses bedrooms.  So … my master plan is to have each room full of books with the same colour covers.  We’ll have a red room, an orange room, a yellow room and I’m particularly looking forward to setting up the indigo room.

Or has this new found job security gone to my head!


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Great news

Posted by wcmlibrary on December 17, 2010

I recently received some fantastic news here at the WCML.  My contract has been extended until the end of March 2012 (not 2011 as it says in Shelf Life – our Friends of the library bulletin).  Our treasurer has dug deep and, with the agreement of the trustees, has managed to find the money from the library’s reserves to fund me for a further year.

Having the Heritage Lottery Fund money meant that we were up to a staffing level of 4½ meaning that we were able to increase the profile of the libary, but this, of course, involves an increased workload – which is fantastic, but not sustainable with just the core staff of 1½, plus our former Librarian for one day a week, and the trustees felt that another full time librarian would help matters.

All of which means that I will be taking the place of three people!!  Although I suspect (know) I won’t be able to do the work of three, I’m chuffed to bits to be able to stay and work with a great group of people (staff and volunteers alike) in a library which has so much history and so much relevance to working people today.

Unfortunately we can’t look beyond March 2012 until our long term funding situation becomes clearer when Salford Council sets its budget in the new year.

In other people news – Kate, our project archivist, has moved on to a new contract in a business archive, whilst Caroline moved on in August to go and train as a teacher.  She was replaced by Marie Widger, who will be with us part-time until the end of February 2011.

Have a happy festive season

Project Librarian (for now)


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