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Last updated:20 April 2015

Creativity and culture

Making music, having fun, telling stories and creating beautiful things have always been part of working people's lives. Our collection contains information on how people spent their time away from work.

If I had a hammer song sheetWe also have many examples of how working people's lives have been portrayed in paintings, plays, poetry, songs and novel. The leaflets, posters and newspapers in the collection also reflect developments in typographical and graphic design.

Art - we have a wide range of articles and books as well as a small collection of paintings, prints and sculpture. Highlights include a copy of the first ever photograph of a crowd, taken at a Chartist demonstration in 1848.

Drama and literature - from stories captured and performed by working people to tales and information on established writers such as Brecht, Orwell and Salford-born Walter Greenwood.

Making music - Our collection reflects the rich musical history of the working class including: folk songs, protest songs, peace songs, ballads, opera, choirs and pop music.

Leisure - hard-working people have always wanted to make the most of their time off. Find out about charabancs, picnics, galas, rambling clubs, cycling clubs and more.


Related Object of the Month

September 2012: Manchester Public Free Libraries - A History and Description, and Guide to their Contents and Use (1899)

This book, published nearly 50 years after the opening of the Campfield Library, commemorates and celebrates the Free Library Movement in Manchester.