News from the Working Class Movement Library

Announcements and information

Early 2022 talks

You can now catch up on details of our new series of Invisible Histories talks at We're offering the usual wide range of topics - Spanish Civil War nurse Madge Addy, suffragist and scientist Lydia Becker, and the golden age of the broadside ballad; these are alongside talks drawing out the themes of our forthcoming guest exhibition about working class readers in Victorian Manchester and Salford. There's also a musical event planned for Wednesday 23 March, kicking off a focus for us on land rights in this 90th anniversary year of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass

The talks start on Wednesday 9 February, some online only due to the logistics of speaker location etc, but some with luck also available to attend in person. Watch this space...

Yes! Yes! UCS! - a new musical play from Townsend Productions

A reminder that we're welcoming back to the Library on three nights, 15 to 17 February 7.30pm, our friends from Townsend Productions with their latest musical play Yes! Yes! U.C.S! - originally due to be performed here last spring.

Townsend Theatre Productions’ new play is a celebration of the community solidarity and collective resistance inspired and led by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ shop stewards Jimmys Reid and Airlie, attracting massive national and international support that led to victory in the fight for Right to Work.
Tickets are already selling out but we've reasonable availability still for the Wednesday performance.  You can get your tickets price £12 via will be hosting the play in our annexe - please enter via the back gate to the Library. We ask you to be mindful of social distancing, and to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.


Guest exhibition 'Literature in the Mines'

There are just two more chances to see the free pop-up exhibition created by the Piston, Pen & Press project.  On Friday afternoons until 4 February, during the time we are open to drop-in visitors, we are now hosting the exhibition Literature in the Mines. This highlights miners who alongside their arduous working lives created poetry, songs, plays, fiction and prose, finding local and trades newspapers a welcoming venue for their works. The exhibition, which focuses on the period from the 1840s to the 1910s, also features women and mine work. A talk by project co-leader Kirstie Blair can now be viewed on our YouTube channel here.

Alongside the pop-up banners the Library is displaying related material from its own collections, including mineworkers’ poetry, songs and fiction from the 19th century to the present. Reports on sadly frequent mining accidents and disasters also feature, as well as examples of strikingly-designed 1840s broadsides relating to miners’ disputes with their employers. 

The Library is also sharing on its blog excerpts from a fascinating bound volume currently being digitised by a WCML volunteer, and which brings together a range of different handbills and pamphlets which relate to the coal trade c.1818-1845. It’s known as the Coal Trade Papers.