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Last updated:21 April 2015

Who we are and what we do

Working people have always struggled to get their voices heard. The Working Class Movement Library is a treasure trove with records of over 200 years of organising and campaigning by ordinary men and women.

Library exteriorBased in a former nurses’ home just a 15 minute walk from Manchester city centre, the Working Class Movement Library is a charity with a social conscience and a fascinating history.

The Library started life in the 1950s as the personal collection of Edmund and Ruth Frow. The founders were proud that their love of books created a unique and valuable resource for people wanting to know more about working people’s lives and political beliefs.

By the 1980s their house was at bursting point and so Salford Council agreed to house the magnificent library in a Victorian building called Jubilee House on the Crescent in Salford. The collection has been here ever since.

Our collection captures many points of view to tell the story of Britain's working classes from the beginning of industrialisation to the present day.

Our oldest items date from the 1760s. From the 1820s we have some of the earliest trade union documents to have survived.

We have artefacts about the Peterloo massacre of 1819 as well as fascinating insights into the lives of the Suffragettes. We have moving accounts of life on the front line in the Spanish Civil War as  well as the real life stories of tradesmen and women struggling to make ends meet.

We have material on politics of all shades and come up to date with the archive of Jim Allen, the Manchester-born screenwriter who worked on Coronation Street and collaborated with film director Ken Loach.

We’re a living collection, growing all the time with fascinating donations from campaigners, activist groups and unions.

So what are you waiting for? Find out how to get here, then come and visit us and see what we have to offer.

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