NEWS: From the Working Class Movement Library


    Poetry book launch – Citizens

    This Thursday, 21 September at 7pm we are pleased to host the launch of Citizens by Ian Parks.

    Citizens explores the tensions between poetry and politics, the spoken and the unspoken, the private and the public.  At this event Mike Sanders from the University of Manchester will interview Ian about his work and the radical tradition, after which Ian will give readings from his book.  More information about the event here.

    The Library will stay open on Thursday after its usual closing time of 5pm – drop in any time to browse items reflecting the themes of Ian’s poetry, and purchased as part of Voting for Change, a joint project between the Library and the People’s History Museum.

    Admission free; light refreshments available.

    Come and debate whether Salford could  produce another Shelagh Delaney nowadays…

    Our popular free Wednesday 2pm talks continue next week with:

    27 September                 Could Salford produce another Shelagh Delaney? – round table discussion

    In anticipation of this year’s Shelagh Delaney Day, join Shelagh’s daughter Charlotte Delaney, her biographer Selina Todd and MaD Theatre Company to discuss whether opportunities exist for young working class women to find a voice and an audience almost 60 years after A Taste of Honey first appeared.

    This talk is part of the Invisible Histories series – all welcome, admission free, light refreshments afterwards.  Please note however that we are planning for this to be a longer event than usual – the running time is two hours.

    Future Invisible Histories talks are:

    11 Oct                   Sheila Cohen
    The Grunwick strike – drowning in support, starving for action

    25 Oct                   Angela Whitecross
    The Co-operative Party 100 years on – a reflection

    8 Nov                    Andy Clark
    The occupation of the factories – women’s resistance to factory closure in Scotland, 1981-82

    22 Nov                  Cathy Hunt
    Brave hearts and missionary zeal – the National Federation of Women Workers 1906-21

    6 Dec                     Neil Faulkner
    A people’s history of the Russian Revolution

    Full details at

    Last chance to see our Marx and Engels exhibition

    If you haven’t visited already, do come to see our very popular Marx & Engels exhibition. It runs until Friday 29 September and celebrates the truly creative partnership between Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and the body of revolutionary, philosophical and economic writings that their collaboration produced.

    Exhibition open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm.  Admission free.

    There is now a booklet available containing text and illustrations from the exhibition.  It is available price £2 from the Library, or via our online shop.

    A travelling version of the exhibition will soon be available for groups to borrow – let us know by if you’d like to know more.

    Our next exhibition, starting 4 October, will be by Manchester-based community group Southern Voices, and is entitled Out of the shadows: 1914-18 perspectives of colonised people. More information here.

    Lancashire cotton famine poetry – project launch

    News of an interesting event we’re hosting here in our annexe on Saturday 7 October at 1pm on the topic of Lancashire Cotton Famine Poetry:

    The event is to introduce a large-scale Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project – in which the WCML is a partner – on the poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine (1861-65) which was caused by the American Civil War. The poetry lies largely in local newspapers all around the Lancashire region and initial investigations indicate that there are well over 1,000 examples of this type of text, making it one of the largest bodies of working class Victorian literature yet to be collected and studied. The poems were often written by ordinary people and express the suffering caused by the crisis, but also function as calls for charity and expressions of political dissatisfaction.

    The project is based at the University of Exeter and its purpose is to collate and interpret the poetry and publish it on a publicly accessible database ( The event in our annexe on 7 October will feature an introductory talk by Simon Rennie who’s leading the project, an performance of some of the newly-discovered poetry in Lancashire dialect by Jennifer Reid, and a talk on the process of discovering the texts.

    It’s free and open to everyone, no pre-booking required.

    Grunwick Strick Play 

    Townsend Theatre Productions’ new play is coming to the Library for two performances on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October at 7.30pm.

    We Are The Lions, Mr. Manager! is based on the experiences of Jayaben Desai, the inspirational leader of the 1976-78 Grunwick Strike and of members of the Strike Committee, and tells of their long battle against the management and establishment forces to gain union recognition.  Jayaben Desai brought the issue of workplace exploitation and racism to the fore, and was recently listed amongst the women who have had the biggest impact on women’s lives over the past 70 years as part of Radio 4 Women’s Hour’s ‘Power List’.

    The last play performed here by Townsend Productions, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama, sold out so we encourage you to book tickets in advance here, price £12.50 (£9.50 early bird, £10.50 concessions).

    Fighting Unemployment, Poverty and Austerity

    On Saturday 30 September 2pm to 4pm in the WCML annexe the Mary Quaile Club are putting on a free event entitled Fighting Unemployment, Poverty and Austerity.

    Seán Mitchell will discuss his recently-published book, Struggle or starve: working class unity in Belfast’s 1932 outdoor relief riots (Haymarket Books) which looks back at the events of October 1932 when Catholics and Protestants united in protests against the Means Test. Sean is a founder member of People Before Profit, an all-Ireland socialist party.

    Charlotte Hughes will also speak from first-hand experience about similar struggles of today. Charlotte is an activist in Tameside Against The Cuts which for four years has held a weekly picket outside the Job Centre in Ashton under Lyne, offering solidarity, advice and support to claimants.

    Further information about the event from

    Salford Histories Festival

    Also on Saturday 30 September, 10am to 4pm, the annual Salford Histories Festival takes place at Langworthy Cornerstones, 451 Liverpool Street, Salford M6 5QQ.  Come and say hello to the volunteers on the Library stall!  Other participants include Salford TUC, the Irwell Valley Mining Project, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and various local history societies.

    Entry is free, and refreshments are available.