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Last updated:06 May 2015


Leisure: an introduction

Illustration from the cover of an Ancoats Brotherhood programme for 1914Hard-working people have always wanted to make the most of their time off. The genius of the Clarion Movement was its combination of socialist campaigning and education with the pleasurable pursuits of cycling, choral singing and other sociable activities. Also part of this push for working class education was the Ancoats Brotherhood, which provided a range of educational and leisure activities.

Workers May Day events, which started in 1890, have often been a mixture of agitation for change and a celebration of the strengths of the labour movement.

In the 1890s an alternative to church based Sunday Schools were launched. The Socialist Sunday School movement quickly spread across the country.

In Manchester area rambling on the peaks and moors has long been a favourite past time. In the early 1930s the privately owned moors were, often aggressively, guarded from the incursions of the upstart city folk. The challenge to this lack of access was carried out by means of organised trespasses the most famous of which, the 1932 Kinder Scout mass trespass, was led by a young communist and his  friends. Benny Rothman remained a rights of way, environmental and trade union activist all his life. His archives are held by the library.

Logo of the Manchester and Salford Film SocietyBefore arts cinemas like Manchester's Cornerhouse the main venues for independent and foreign (non Hollywood) films were film societies. In 1930 socialists in the area started Manchester and Salford Workers' Film Society. It still exists, though it dropped the 'Workers' from its name in 1937.



Related Objects of the Month

August 2012: Workers' Sports Movement pamphlet

Workers Sports Movement pamphletThis 1928 pamphlet describes some early international sporting events, and gives an account of the experiences of a British Workers' Sports Federation football team tour of the Soviet Union.


May 2009: Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester 1887

May's object was the Royal Jubliee Exhibition official catalogue, Manchester 1887, chose by Veronica Trick, volunteer