This month, we are launching a campaign to support one of our other great historical jewels in the North West labour movement crown - the Working Class Movement Library in Salford.
Put simply, the library tells the story of how working people have worked together over the last 200 years to change society for the better. The collection includes holdings on the Peterloo massacre of 1819, two centuries of trade unionism, Chartism, socialism, the suffragettes, the General Strike of 1926, the International Brigade and many other movements.
The late Ruth and Edmund Frow started the library in their own home in the 1950s because they believed that working people should remember and value their own history. For forty years this remarkable couple spent their spare time travelling the country with their caravan and collecting many thousands of rare items, including books, newspapers, banners, photographs, posters, photographs and much else.
Ruth was a teacher and active in the
The library is a national collection and is recognised as one of the most important working class historical archives in the country. It is a registered charity and run in a democratic manner by a voluntary Board of Trustees in partnership with the staff and our volunteers. It is open for all to use without charge and has many visitors and researchers. We have two rooms of engineering union records from 1851 onwards, including Steam Engine Makers’ as well as local branch materials. Our transport union archives include many official and rank and file periodicals including The Busman’s Punch from the 1930s.
Supporter of the campaign, Frances O Grady, General Secretary of the TUC said:
“Whatever our race or heritage, the inspiring story of working class people in Britain belongs to all of us. This isn’t about nostalgia - on the contrary, it’s vital that we understand our past so that we can win a more equal future. Please dig deep to support the Working Class Movement Library.”
How can you help?
The running costs of the library are met by contributions from individuals and trade unions and by an annual grant from Salford Council. We are currently drawing on our reserves to keep going but these will not last forever. We are therefore appealing to those who support the aims and ideals of the library to become Trade Union Supporters of the library.
Follow WCML on social media
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wcmlibrary
Union Regions - We encourage you to make a monthly supporter donation to the library. This can be done online using the CAF Donate function here or using the attached standing order form. Alternatively, you can make an annual supporter donation to the library, and you can do this by standing order (form attached or online here) or by annual invoice. We would suggest up to £250 a year for smaller unions and more for larger unions.
Union Branches – We encourage you to make a monthly supporter donation to the library. This can be done online using the CAF Donate function here or using the attached standing order form. Alternatively, you can make an annual supporter donation to the library, and you can do this by standing order (form attached or online here) or by annual invoice. We would suggest between £50 - £150 per year depending on the size of the branch.
For your members - We would encourage them to become a “Radical Reader” and make a regular donation to the work of the library. Our radical readers will receive a gift on signing up and will receive direct information about library events, priority access to tickets for our most popular events. You can find more details of this on our website here and we will be re-launching our radical readers programme in the Autumn so do keep checking back.
I hope you can join us in exploring the past to help us change the future. Thank you.
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