Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

LGSM display @ People's History MuseumWork in Progress has a new display to celebrate the release of the film Pride and to highlight the history and work of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).

LGSM formed during the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike. They decided to raise money for the mining communities as they believed the two groups were against the same things such as the Thatcher government and the police. LGSM soon became one of the biggest fundraising groups in the whole of the UK. The Pits and Perverts benefit, held in London in December 1984, was a huge success and raised over £5000 for the miners.

At the time it was seen as revolutionary that these two contrasting communities could stand in unity against a common enemy. Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus and starring well known actors such as Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, shows this unlikely relationship. The film tells the true story of the LGSM, led by campaigner Mark Ashton, travelling from London to a remote village in Wales to personally hand over the money they had raised.

The LGSM display in Work in Progress includes stills from the film, courtesy of Pathe films, and original LGSM photographs. It is also showcases some of the LGSM archival material which is held here at the museum, such as leaflets and posters.

If the display inspires you to find out more about the topic, we have an LGBT History Tour on Friday 22August. We also have a Q&A session on Saturday 23 August, which is a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the original LGSM members and the cast who play them in Pride. Hope to see you there!

The Pump House

A guest blog by our Senior Gallery Assistant (Buildings), Anthony Dillon

People's History Museum 011As a Gallery Assistant at the People’s History Museum we often get asked questions about the Pump House, which is situated in the old side of the museum.

A grade 2 listed building and built in Edwardian times the architect was Mr Henry Price.

Its purpose was to pressurise water up to 1200psi in the accumulator tower. This pressurised water was then pumped under the streets of Manchester through a system of metal pop riveted piping that led to the local cotton mills and factories that often leaked. This pressurised water was then used to power all the machinery in the factories.

The pressurised water was used to power the factories and  the local town hall clock and the emergency curtain at the theatres and anything else the Edwardians needed to power.

The Pump House today has a different use, it no longer pressurises water for the factories it now has a different use as a event space for weddings and conferences and also when not being used for theses purposes we use it as a Community Gallery space.

The Pump House is well worth a visit at PHM and if you need any help just ask any of our friendly front of house staff to assist you at anytime.

Playing Politics – Call for Participants

Saturday 14 June 2014

Playing Politics: Politics in Sport Festival

Call for participants

14 June 2014, Playing Politics, Chile Solidarity Campaign banner @ People's History Museum‘The cell was one of the team changing rooms… By the entrance to the tunnel where the players would go out onto the pitch, a heavy machine-gun was mounted.’

British eye-witness, imprisoned in 1973.

In 1973 General Pinochet led a military coup in Chile. Foreigners, trade unionists and anti-Pinochet protesters were rounded up and taken to detention camps. One such camp was the National Stadium in Santiago, where several detainees were tortured and executed. Others were forced into exile overseas.

Four years later, with Pinochet’s regime in place, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) arranged a friendly against Chile, which took place in the National Stadium on 15 June 1977. The SFA argued that there was no politics in sport. The issue was raised in the House of Commons, a group of Chilean exiles were refused a meeting with the SFA, a week long picket was organised outside SFA headquarters and many fans boycotted Scotland matches. Despite all of this, the game went ahead. Scotland won the match 4-2.

To commemorate the anniversary of ‘the match of shame’ and to celebrate the start of the World Cup in Brazil, we want to investigate when the worlds of politics and sport have come together. Our day long festival will bring out more of our sporting collections and visitors can get involved with lots of political fun and games.

We are looking for groups or individuals to contribute to the day, with short presentations or displays about anything related to politics and sport.

Topics covered may include:

  • How politics have influenced sport
  • How sport has influenced politics
  • Is there politics in sport?
  • Sporting boycott of South Africa during the Apartheid era
  • The controversy surrounding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
  • Racism in sport
  • Homophobia in sport
  • Women in sport
  • Debate about the World Cup in Brazil

If you’d like to get involved, please email your name, contact details, information about yourself or your organisation and a short (250 word) proposal to catherine.odonnell@phm.org.uk by Thursday 1 May.

Things worth remembering

Guest blog by Matt Hill (singer-songwriter Quiet Loner)

As a songwriter I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration. A hard felt emotion, an overheard conversation, a spectacular location, even a turn of the weather can be a catalyst that sparks the creative process. And so can museums.

In 2012 I was a few weeks away from recording my third album Greedy Magicians but was missing a song. This album was exploring the ways political issues can shape our lives. But I needed a song that could pull all these threads together.

I needed something like ‘For the people’, a poem by Tony Walsh that had knocked me sideways when I’d first heard it. A trade union had asked Tony to write a poem about cuts to public services. But in talking about cuts to libraries or home care services Tony reminded us of our history, of the battles that were fought to lift people out of lives that were barely an existence.

Tony’s poem moved me deeply. And it inspired me. I decided I would take the baton and run, I would try and write a song that explored those same ideas. But I didn’t pick up my guitar, instead I headed to the People’s History Museum.

This remarkable building in Manchester is full of beautiful objects. If you need inspiring, look no further. These objects once held ideas that were so powerful  they changed the world.  As I walked the collections I saw the desk where Thomas Paine wrote a book called The Rights of Man. On that desk ideas were born that would cause a global revolution. I saw posters and pamphlets,  banners and badges that were full of ideas, passions, dramas, aspirations and dreams.

The People’s History Museum is special to me because it tells the stories of people. Not the tiny 1% of royals and aristocrats who keep their wealth across centuries and want to maintain the status quo, but the rest of us. The people who make things happen, who make things change.  The people who build things, invent things, and whose radical ideas propel the human race forward.

This is a museum full of dreams that were dreamt in secret. A collection of quiet objects that once spoke loudly of dangerous ideas like equality and democracy. Ideas that were firmly spoken but met with violent oppression from the ruling classes.  Ideas that became the things we now take for granted. Things like a walk on the moors at the weekends,  turning on a tap to get clean running water, a visit to doctors for a prescription when you’re poorly, paid holidays from work and the right to vote come polling day.

What I saw in the museum was also the story of my own family. My Great-Grandparents who lived in the slums and poverty of Narrow Marsh in Nottingham, my Grandparents who moved into the brave new world of council houses and indoor toilets, my Parents who grew up on those estates and then became homeowners and me and my sister who were the first in our family to go to University.  In the space of 150 years our lives were transformed by the political battles of the day.

I went away and wrote a song called We will not forget.  It’s a song inspired by the story told in the People’s History Museum. About places like Tolpuddle and Peterloo , about ideas like suffrage and sewers, and about people like Paine and Pankhurst, Bevan and Benn.  But it’s also a very personal song and mentions events, writers, places that have been important in my life and I even give a name check to my granddad.

Remembering is important but it’s not just about looking back, it’s about looking ahead. Many of the freedoms and rights we take for granted, hard won over many years, are being taken away. The People’s History Museum is important because we must understand our past if we are to build a better future.

Quiet Loner will be performing at the People’s History Museum in Beneath its folds, flagwaving, poetry and song along with Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) Book your place and find out more.

PHM…Coming to a town near you

Play Your Part - resized for webCalling everyone in the Greater Manchester area, the People’s History Museum is going on tour!

In the New Year, the Play Your Part project is heading out of the museum and coming to a town near you (well, within the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester). We want to know what has been happening in your local area, events, campaigns, protests or petitions. Can you help? These can be from within living memory or something that took place today!

We believe there are always ideas worth fighting for and want to hear your stories of events you’ve been involved with from campaigns for change, rallies to raise awareness of injustices or petitions to save your local services.

Being on tour gives us the opportunity to get out into local communities and towns where these events and campaigns are taking place. Bring along an object that represents what you have fought for and are passionate about in your area and share your memories and experiences with others. And if you let us know what you love, we can see if there’s something we love in our collections that we can bring to you!

Get in touch and watch this space for dates!