Snapshot on Health

The first Monday of every month brings a lunchtime Snapshot session down in the archive in the museum’s lower level. It’s an opportunity for anyone to have a look at some of the 80,000 photographs in our huge collection from the Labour Party and Communist Party archives in a friendly and informal setting.

On Monday 7 July, Snapshot focuses on health, from the nursery to the school nurse to hospitals . Come along and see how things have changed and browse our wonderful selection of images.

Snapshot sessions last from 12:30pm – 1:30 pm on the first Monday of every month (except January). Booking is advised and you can do this at the museum reception or by calling 0161 838 9190. A 15% discount in the museum cafe is available to anyone who attends.


Can you help? Participants wanted for tuition fees documentary

A guest post today from a student looking for contributors for a documentary. Please get in touch directly with Miah if you can help. 

This is Miah Wang from Cardiff University, Journalism School. I am working on my documentary film about tuition fees increase and student loans across the UK and looking for my contributors. It is a good chance to be a character in a short documentary for you!


Basically, I am looking for my BRITISH contributors in the UK. They could be high school/ college students who are wavering about attending uni, current undergraduates who have student loans or complain about tuition fees, or professionals who attended uni and have student loans to pay/ did not go to uni/ do not think a degree is necessary and so on. I just would like to know how people think about higher education’s value these days and how student loans/ tuition fees increase affect people’s life.


If you are or know some one who are like above, please do not hesitate to contact me!


My email address is


Appreciate it! I am looking forward to listening to your stories!

World War I ‘Guest Suitcase’ in Germany

Conscientious Objector postcard

Conscientious Objector postcard

A few weeks ago a school group from Ludwigsburg in Germany visited our galleries and Labour History Archive and Study Centre to find out more about our World War I collections and the history of the labour movement around World War I. History teacher Joerg also asked if we wanted to participate in a series of mini-exhibitions the school were curating which involved people giving them material to display in ‘guest suitcases’. Due to the amount of two dimensional items we have relating to World War I, we decided to make some replicas of a selection of items, which the group could display back in Ludwigsburg, and keep after the display was taken down.

Sergeant Dugdale

Sergeant Dugdale

People’s History Museum gave the school, Oscar-Walcker-Schule, two replica photographs of Ben Tillet, a Salford MP visiting the Ypres in 1918, two replica conscientious objector postcards produced by the No-Conscription Fellowship and replica material from our Dugdale collection.

Sergeant Alfred J Dugdale was a soldier in the British army during World War I and his collection of WWI material was donated to the museum after his death. During the war, Dugdale served in Egypt, Turkey, France and Germany. While stationed in Gallipoli in 1915, he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for bringing in wounded soldiers under heavy fire. At twenty-four, he was one of the youngest British soldiers to be given this accolade.  A day before he was due to leave Gallipoli in January 1916, he was shot through the thigh and had time out to recover at home. In 1917, he was captured during the Battle of Cambrai and remained a prisoner of war in Germany until the end of the war. Following the end of the war, he was admitted to hospital in Cologne to recover from the influenza epidemic. We do not know the exact date of his death, but he lived into his 80’s.

Items on display in Germany

Items on display in Germany


Amongst replica items given to the school were a photograph of Dugdale wearing a goat-skin coat in Gallipoli in December 1915 and a field service postcard sent from the front to his wife, Emma. Field Service postcards provided a way for soldiers’ to send short, simple messages that could be expanded upon in a longer letter at a later date. The postcards let family members know if the soldier was well or injured, and whether they had received a letter from them. It was strictly controlled, and soldiers were forbidden from writing anything else onIMG_0357 the postcard other than their name and the date.

Jeorg kindly sent us some images of our ‘guest suitcase’ display at the school and tells us it has been well received. We are thrilled to have some of our World War I items on display in Ludwigsburg!

Microresidencies – Winners announced

We are very excited to announce the three winners of our Microresidencies public vote.  We had a grand total of 1165 voters, who each voted for their three favourite artists.  Claire Curtin topped the public poll with 386 votes, closely followed by Oliver Bliss with 384 votes.  Sashwati Mira Sengupta & Jaydev Mistry bagged the third residency with 363 votes.  The voting was very close, and all of the 12 finalists got an overwhelming amount of public support.

Claire Curtin  Claire Curtin will use her residency to make a series of protest works with our visitors, which will be paraded at the end of the residency in a public demonstration. You can take part in the demo and highlight issues you’ve been fighting for.  Make placards & satirical collages, write letters and more…

Oliver BlissOliver Bliss will run creative textiles workshops crafting messages of hope to MPs who did not vote ‘Yes’ to equal marriage.  You can learn about the role of MPs, be inspired by the pioneering banner collections challenging Clause-28, and craft your own history-making messages. This craftivist project will champion a triumph in our collective history!

Sashwati Mira Sengupta & Jaydev MistrySashwati Mira Sengupta & Jaydev Mistry will use their residency to focus on the migrant communities that have changed the course of UK workers’ rights. They will explore the museum’s archives, creating an original music composition & visual piece on this theme.  Visitors will be encouraged to share their experiences of migration, protest and workers’ rights, which will be included in the composition.

We look forward to welcoming Claire, Oliver, Sashwati & Jaydev to the museum during our exciting Work in Progress exhibition over the summer.  Full programme to be announced soon!

Work in Progress – Play Your Part

Play Your PartNext month will begin our exciting experimental exhibition Work in Progress (12 July – 14 September 2014).  This exhibition will be a true work in progress, allowing you to see behind the scenes of our Play Your Part project.  Help us test out ideas for our new Welcome Wall, debate topical issues and get creative with a series of exciting workshops.

The exhibition will start from nothing and evolve over time as we invite community groups, activists and you to experiment, contribute and create.  Three artists will base their studios in the gallery space in our Microresidencies project and staff will be on hand for regular office hours to discuss anything about the project.

We don’t yet know what will happen, but we’re excited to find out!

  • Are you an activist group wanting to share your campaign with a wider audience?  Or are you just looking for a city centre venue to hold a meeting?
  • Are you a community group or artist thinking about submitting a proposal for our community gallery, and you’d like to test out your ideas on our visitors?
  • Are you passionate about an issue and want a platform to air your views?
  • Are you an academic wanting to share your research?
  • Have you always fancied going behind the scenes of a museum and putting together a display of objects that tell your story?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to do with a blank canvas and a museum of ideas worth fighting for?

Sound like you? Come and Play Your Part!

If you’re interested in using the space for a meeting, workshop, display, debate or anything else then please get in touch with Catherine O’Donnell on 0161 838 9190 or

It goes without saying that we won’t accept any proposals that are in any way offensive (eg racist, sexist, homophobic, etc). Proposals should link in some way with our story of ‘people’s history’ and ideas worth fighting for and should include an element of participation. Unfortunately we can’t offer any fee to groups or individuals – just a free space for you to experiment, engage and enjoy!

Chartist Leader William Cuffay’s book donated to People’s History Museum

Cuffay's bookWilliam Cuffay’s book of Byron poetry has been donated to the People’s History Museum and will go on display in our Labour History Archive and Study Centre throughout June.

Son of a former slave, William Cuffay was a prominent member of the Chartist Movement and one of its most militant. He was one of the key organisers of the rally at Kennington Common in 1848, but was said to be disappointed by the fact that many members were reluctant to use force to advocate their demands.

In the same year, Cuffay was convicted of conspiring to start an uprising against the government and was sentenced to transportation to Tasmania for 21 years. After 3 years, he wasCuffay's book pardoned, although he chose to stay is Tasmania until he died a pauper in 1870.

The book is said to have been given to Cuffay by his Chartist colleagues before his transportation. It was found with a thumb print marked on one of the pages and leaves pressed in the cover.

Professor Malcolm Chase, author of Chartism: A New History said of the acquisition;

Thumb print on page

“What a wonderful find. William Cuffay is an inspirational figure in the history of Chartism, and in the struggle for democracy generally. This is the only object, anywhere in the world, that we definitely know belonged to Cuffay. His homes in London and Tasmania, and the workhouse where he died, have all been demolished. It’s all the more poignant because this book was a gift from his fellow Chartists. When you see the thumb print on the page that includes Byron’s ‘Song for the Luddites’ you can almost hear and feel the breath of history.”

The book will be on display in our Archive throughout June. Following this, it will be available to access upon appointment. Please note that the Archive is open 10am-5pm Monday to Friday. Please contact us before you make a special visit.

Volunteering – Helen’s Story

HelenVolunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK – and it’s taking place from the 1-7 June 2014. Here is the story of Helen – just one of the wonderful volunteers who give up their spare time to volunteer at PHM.

I was working full-time, teaching English in a local high school when I decided that life was about more than spending weekends marking books and analysing data.  Fortunately I was able to reduce my teaching commitment to three days and I was determined I would do something useful in at least one of my extra days off.  The advertisement for volunteers at PHM seemed like an ideal opportunity to do something different in my spare time.

Three years later I am still volunteering; it has been such a rewarding experience: I have been able to see what goes on ‘behind the scenes of a museum’; learn more about history, and get the chance to work in the shop, serving customers and pricing stock – which is particularly therapeutic!  I even had the opportunity to take a day trip to Shrewsbury when I was asked to return a banner to the local college.  Meeting visitors to PHM has been especially rewarding, they are usually pleased to be visiting and frequently make very positive comments about their experience.

Volunteering is something I would definitely recommend to others.  Hopefully I have been of some use to the museum; it certainly has enhanced my life and given me the chance to work with some interesting and lovely people!