News from the Working Class Movement Library, as we mark the anniversary of Peterloo

Announcements and information

Opportunity to visit the Library this Friday 

We are delighted to be running a second pilot 'return to WCML' day for exhibition visitors this Friday, 20 August.  Our ground floor will be open by appointment between 10.30am and 4.30pm that day - click here to book free tickets. You'll be able to view our exhibition Thomas Paine: citizen of the world and view our ground floor display area which contains lots of new items - we've been busy during the time we've had to be closed! So even if you've been here before, there will be something new to see. If you've friends who have never visited and you think would be interested, please pass on this booking link to them.  Tickets are very limited so please only book if you are sure you can definitely come.

We are booking individuals, or groups maximum three people, in one-hour slots through the day. We feel an hour is sufficient to have a good look round.  

A reminder too that our reading room is open Tuesdays to Fridays by appointment for a maximum of three people per day who wish to come in and delve deeper into our amazing collections. To book a place contact us on

85 years of workers' music - a joint online event with the Workers' Music Association

On Thursday 26 August from 5.30 to 7.30pm we are very pleased to be hosting a joint online event with the Workers' Music Association (WMA). Founded in 1936, the WMA strives to bring the greatest music to the broadest selection of the working class. The Library holds a range of interesting WMA material including early song books.

Stalwart founding figures Alan Bush and Rutland Boughton helped steer the early beginnings of the WMA towards something that can help celebrate the skills, talent, and arts of the labour movement.

To celebrate the 85th anniversary of its founding, this joint event will show off the past victories and achievements of the WMA, the legacy of the Summer School, and the challenges faced by the WMA moving forward.

This online event is free and a link to join will be provided in next week's ebulletin. 


Heritage Open Days garden tour
There are only a few tickets left to join us on Friday 10 September at 2pm as we discover some of the unusual and amazing plants, shrubs and trees in the garden of Jubilee House, the home of the Working Class Movement Library. Who knew that kiwi fruit grew in Salford?...

You'll hear from volunteers who are helping to care for the garden, and from a herbalist who will give some historical context to some of the rare plants found in this secret garden.  You can book a free ticket for this event here.

This event is part of Heritage Open Days 2021, a chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. Please note that this is an external tour only; there will be no access to the building on this occasion sorry.

Autumn talks, including booking link for Winter Hill talk

We are piloting a return to live talks in our annexe by offering 25 free places to hear Paul Salveson speak on Wednesday 15 September at 2pm to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Battle for Winter Hill. This was the biggest rights of way campaign in British history, with thousands of people marching over Winter Hill, outside Bolton, on three successive weekends in 1896 to reclaim a right of way. More details here.

You can book a free ticket to attend the talk in person at We will be asking you as an attendee to wear a face covering unless you are exempt, and social distancing guidelines will be in operation.  Refreshments will be offered after the talk, also in our annexe - please note that access to the main library will not be possible on this day.  The event will also be live-streamed on Zoom.  

All of our Invisible Histories talks through to December are now listed on our Web site; some are listed as 'online' meaning that our speaker is attending remotely rather than in person, so we will not have a live audience in the annexe.  Other talks we are hoping, if this pilot goes well, to offer both in person and via Zoom.  All talks are free and will continue to be live-streamed, with a Zoom link available to ebulletin subscribers on the Monday ahead of each talk. 

Peterloo and The Masque of Anarchy

On this, the 202nd anniversary of Peterloo, we draw your attention to an hour-long BBC Radio 3 programme with WCML trustee Maxine Peake performing Shelley’s great poem of protest, The Masque of Anarchy, with eyewitness accounts of the massacre and ballads performed by Jason Done, Christine Bottomley and Jennifer Reid.  It's at

Charles Parker Prize

Charles Parker was a pioneer of radio broadcasting and oral history, a folk musician and a political campaigner.  One of his most significant contributions was to recognise the enormous value of the kind of language that we ordinary folk take for granted in our everyday conversations. He worked with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in the late 1950s to mid-1960s on The Radio Ballads - read more about these on our Ewan MacColl Web site here.

The winners of the 2021 Charles Parker Prize were announced in April and their winning features were broadcast on BBC Radio in late July. They continue to be available on BBC Sounds - see the Charles Parker Archive Trust Web site for all the links

A programme about the 2021 winners and other finalists went out on Radio 4 Extra on Tuesday 27 July, and will stay on BBC Sounds for 27 days.