News from the Working Class Movement Library


    Townsend Productions play Rouse, ye women – tickets still available for 12 March

    Townsend Productions present their new musical drama Rouse, ye women here next week. Tickets are SOLD OUT for Monday 11 March but some tickets are still available forTuesday 12 March (7.30pm start). Through traditional songs and ballads we will learn the story of the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath in the West Midlands.  In 1910 they began a successful ten-week strike, led by charismatic union campaigner Mary Macarthur, to more than double their earnings and establish the principle of a national minimum wage.

    The strike was a prelude to the ‘Great Unrest’ of industrial action that swept Britain in 1911, and led to a landmark victory for a fair wage, changing the lives of thousands of workers, whilst proving their economic power.

    The evening features original songs and music composed by folk musician John Kirkpatrick (Steeleye Span, Home Service, Richard Thompson Band, etc.).

    Tickets price £12.75 (£10.75 concession, £6.75 student) are available here.

    Invisible Histories talks

    Our spring series of free Wednesday 2pm Invisible Histories talks starts up again on 13 March with Nicola Ashmore, curator of our current Guernica Remakings exhibition, and artist Claire Hignett speaking about aspects of the exhibition.

    Subsequent talks include:
    27 March Tom Woodin  Working class writing and publishing in the late 20th century: literature, culture and community
    10 April  Sally Groves  Out on the Costa del Trico!
    24 April  Rob Hargreaves  Beyond Peterloo: Elijah Dixon and Manchester’s forgotten reformers.
    8 May Joe Darlington  British terrorist novels of the 1970s

    The talks continue until July.  For further details go to

    A focus on Sylvia Pankhurst

    Our current guest exhibition Guernica Remakings, exploring the ongoing power of Pablo Picasso’s iconic 1937 painting Guernica through a display of 21st century reworkings from across the globe, runs until 20 March.
    After that a guest exhibition about Sylvia Pankhurst and her companion, Silvio Corio, illustrating the lifelong activities of this couple in spearheading campaigns centred on social justice, human rights and anti-fascism, opens on Friday 29 March, and runs until23 May.  To mark the opening of the Sylvia and Silvio exhibition we are hosting a free talk on Saturday 30 March at 2pm by Sylvia’s biographer Katherine Connelly.  Katherine will explore the revolutionary partnership of socialist suffragette Sylvia and Italian exile Silvio Corio.  Meeting in the revolutionary year of 1917, they fell in love and worked side by side in radical campaigns that influenced the course of the 20th century.

    Exhibitions are open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and the first Saturday of the month 10am-4pm.

    Radical Readings fundraiser – new cast announcements!

    Following on from our previous three highly successful Radical Readings fundraisers for the Library, Those who were there – the people at Peterloo have their say will take place on Sunday 14 April at 2pm at Maxwell Hall, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WU.  Actors Christopher Eccleston, Carla Henry, Mike Joyce, Nico Mirallegro and Maxine Peake will participate in an afternoon of prose, poetry and song.  There will also be poetry from Oliver James Lomax, ballads from Jennifer Reid and rousing music from the Oldham Tinkers. This event aims to give context, and pause for reflection, in the run-up to the commemorations this summer of the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre.

    Tickets price £15 plus booking fee are still available online via

    The Library’s Peterloo bicentenary exhibition Peterloo: news, fake news and paranoia will open on Friday 31 May.

    Tenth annual Frow Lecture

    The tenth annual Frow Lecture, in honour of the Library’s founders, will be given at the Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford on Saturday 11 May at 2pm by Professor John Callaghan from the University of Salford who will speak on the topic 1919 – every place a storm centre.   More details at

    Admission free; all welcome.

    Museums at Night – Oliver James Lomax

    Oliver is a 35 year old poet from Bolton, who has recently been working with WCML to respond and write poems about the Peterloo Massacre. He will perform these poems here on Friday 17 May alongside new work from his next collection, as the Library’s contribution to the national Museums at Night festival which this spring runs from 15 to 18 May.

    Come along from 7pm and browse some of the Library’s rich collections relating to Peterloo. Oliver’s poetry reading will begin at 7.30pm.

    Free (though donations very welcome!); light refreshments available.

    Masque of Anarchy first edition on display

    A first edition of The Masque of Anarchy, the poem written by Shelley in response to the Peterloo Massacre, was purchased by WCML as part of our joint Voting for Change project with the People’s History Museum, using funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund Collecting Cultures programme.  It is on display at PHM from now until the end of April and will then return to WCML for display from Friday 31 May until Thursday 19 September in our exhibition Peterloo: news, fake news and paranoia.

    A blog post about Masque of Anarchy, ‘From Paul Weller to Peterloo’, is on the PHM Web site here.