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!


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.

People’s History Museum exceeds annual target of 100,000 visitors!

1 & 2 March, Play Your Party @ People's History MuseumWe are all really excited at the museum to announce that we achieved over 100,000 visitors in 2013/14. Four years since the museum re-opened after its capital redevelopment in 2010, the museum has seen visitors grow and grow each year from around 25,000 before our new building was opened to 108,600 in the last year!

The museum continues to attract a mix of visitors with 50% of people visiting coming from Greater Manchester, 30% from across the UK and 15% international tourists. We work hard to promote the museum far and wide and to provide services and activities for local residents and for visitors to the city region.

And all these extra visitors are also donating to the museum and spending money in our shop and cafe – with March 2014 seeing the highest ever amount received in our donations boxes and the highest ever amount spent in our shop.

Thank you to everyone who has visited and supported the museum this year!

We look forward to welcoming and working with even more of you in 2014/15 – please do come along and see what we have to offer at the People’s History Museum.

As the National Museum of Democracy – we are the Home of Ideas Worth Fighting For and a place to explore the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people who have changed the world we live in today…

Family Friendly Highlights over Easter

If you follow our blogs, you’ll know that in November 2013, year 5 from St. James’ Primary School in Rusholme came to the People’s History Museum and took over our jobs for the day. They got involved in front of house duties, exhibition checking, evaluating our shop displays and much more!

As you may also know, we’ve recently launched a new aspect of our collections website, our Collection Highlights, and over the next few months, we hope to update our Takeover Day - St James' CofE Primary School, 22.11.2013, copyright People's History Museum (135)highlights page to include many different themes. The first of these is our Family Friendly Highlights, chosen by none other than our Year 5 class from St. James’- who better to test our interesting interactives, fun dressing up areas and immersive displays! The group were given half an hour on each gallery to inspect, test and evaluate what they most preferred, and what they wanted including in our new Family Friendly Highlights.

We then came down to our offices and (after a lot of working out) we decided on our highlights. Year 5 then went on to the marketing department to tweet about what they’d been doing. On their return back to school, they very kindly wrote us some blogs telling us about their time at PHM.


Ellie decided to share the objects the group decided to be in their highlights in her blog:

“We have just finished judging the top ten family games. Here they are:

  1. The co-op shop
  2. Football display
  3. Life boxes
  4. 1945 living room
  5. Wheel of fortune
  6. Build a bridge/ picket line
  7. Hannah Mitchell’s kitchen
  8. Match box making
  9. Badge making
  10. Dress up”


Aman described his morning at the museum:

‘…On Friday I went to the Peoples history museum and we wrote a twitter we all thought which part we liked in the museum. There was a co op shop and a football display and a TV that showed football..’


Maham also liked the Coop shop:

‘.. The history is very interesting and its only 10 minutes till lunch we saw a co-op shop was very fun for children to play in, that would be fun admit it. ..’


Zain told us about his favourite part of the day:

‘..In our group we decided the top ten “Family Friendly Activities.” It was so fun!

My personal favourite was defiantly the “Build A Bridge”’

You should visit.”


Finally, Larry gave some sound reasons for visiting PHM!

Hi, my name’s Larry, and I recently went to the Peoples History Museum with St. James Primary School, Rusholme. Me and my class, Year 5 went for National Takeover Day, an idea by Kids In Museums on 22nd November 2013. We had quite an eventful day…

My group were mainly involved in marketing, but did do a certain part on the Top Ten Family Friendly Activities, the top three being:

  • Pre-WW2 Co-op Shop
  • Football Displays
  • Life Boxes

It was a very exciting day altogether, and checkout the P.H.M. website for more information! I have one more quote, and it’s on the Family activities

“I was impressed, and if you want to see more, then come to the Peoples History Museum!”


We’re really excited to have our PHM Family Friendly Highlights chosen by St. James’s Primary School. Check the collections page on our website over the Easter holidays to find out more about their expert choices!

PHM Top 20 Tweets of 2013

A guest post from our Marketing & Development Officer, Daisy Nicholson

One of my favourite parts of my job is tweeting (along with my colleague Karen Moore, Marketing Manager) about all the exciting goings on at the museum and especially hearing what tweeters have to say about PHM.  It was too difficult to narrow it down to a top ten tweets of 2013, so here’s the top 20.  Why not join the conversation and follow us @PHMMcr.

We’re always happy with more attention..

  1. 01/02/13: @marieemonaghan: @visit_mcr People’s History Museum is my fave, interesting & fun & I feel gets less attention than other Manc museums #followamuseumday

Visitors are often moved by the story we tell of those who fought hard for the rights we enjoy today

  1. 10/02/13: @michaelquille: At @PHMMcr today, was reminded of the tremendous optimism and collective confidence people had in making a better world in post war Britain.

Great to hear our Family Friendly activities are enjoyed!

  1. 24/03/13: @ybuck82: Yet another lovely family day @PHMMcr was fab munchkins really enjoyed the bug hunt 😉 xx

Some excellent advice to union reps

  1. 26/03/13: @TradeUnionStudy: @PHMMcr Students thoroughly enjoyed visit thanks .All union reps should go to see the history of our movement. Keep up the good work.

Some more excellent advice!

  1. 06/04/13: @nickbason: The @PHMMcr is BRILLIANT. If you are in Manchester, go.

We really do have something for everyone

  1. 22/04/13: @benkenyon: Great day out at @PHMMcr yesterday looking at 200 years of struggle for democracy in UK. Take your family, your kids, your granny. Everyone!

Couldn’t agree more

  1. 12/06/13: @arwallis: Visited the people’s history museum. Worth it to see how people can change society for the better.

Passing on the story on to the next generation!

  1. 16/06/13: @spunshon: I am totally in love with @PHMMcr. If @danielbye & I ever have kids, we’re coming on a yearly pilgrimage.

A lovely description of PHM

  1. 16/06/13: @beardedcynic: Manchester People’s Museum is just swell. Modern and accessible yet with oodles of lovely history to swallow.

From someone in the know

  1. 24/07/13: @DanJarvisMP: “There have always been ideas worth fighting for.” Anyone interested in politics and democracy should visit the @PHMMcr in #Manchester

Following their wedding at PHM (get in touch with our Venue Hire Team if you’re planning a wedding or civil partnership)

  1. 07/09/13: @cathfeely: @PHMMcr Thank you for everything. Everyone at the museum was wonderful and everyone loved the venue. We will be in touch very soon!

Well we won’t argue with that

  1. 15/09/13: @salegirl: Been at @PHMMcr again today, such a great place, most important museum in the country/world I think! #manchester

Chile Fights, Scotland vs Chile Don’t Play Ball with Fascists, 1977 © People's History Museum

Following our Object of the Month for September 2013

  1. 23/09/13: @janoveliz: @PHMMcr Well done with the Object of the Months guys. Quite nice story, regards from a Chilean in Manchester 😉

Exactly why we’re here

  1. 05/11/13: @Anthillel: @phmmcr is a fantastic museum. Shows us how far we’ve come and reminds us how far we have to go!

Some of the gems in our collection

  1. 05/11/13: @edithmayhall: Completely stunned by old Trade Union banners at Manchester People’s History Museum–and the table on which Tom Paine wrote Rights of Man!

Couldn’t ask for more!

  1. 13/11/13: @HTrub88 just been around the people’s history museum. It’s AMAZING . Explains some difficult concepts, great objects, hands on & friendly staff.

Direct action following one of our POLLfest events (don’t worry if you missed it – POLLfest strikes back in 2014!)

  1. 16/11/13: @i__like__eggs: @LucyMPowell is rather inspirational! I just went to her talk at @PHMMcr and have now joined a political party! 🙂

Following a fab day with pupils from St James CofE Primary School for Kids in Museums Takeover Day22 November 2103, Takeover Day - St James CofE Primary School © People's History Museum

  1. 22/11/13: @andyuk71: Many thanks to the fantastic folk @PHMMcr today for the inspiration and activities – children loved it! #TakeoverDay @visit_mcr

Lovely feedback following one of our Little PHM story sessions

  1. @sonnyandluca: The little PHM at the Manchester Peoples History Musuem is fab, and only £1. Highly recommended, thanks for a lovely morning @PHMMcr

And finally, a brilliant photo originally tweeted by @robnitm & @StephenGParker, shared with us in light of our current changing exhibition, The People’s Business – 150 Co-op milkman, 1972Years of The Co-operative, on until Sunday 11 May 2014

  1. 31/12/13: @susienich33: Thought you would like this! @PHMMcr The 1972 winning entry to the Co-Op milkman uniform competition…

Staff Top Picks: Badges and stickers in the Citizens section

In the second of our ‘Staff Top Picks’ series, PHM Marketing and Development Officer, Daisy Nicholson, explains why the badges and stickers in the Citizens section of Gallery Two are her most-loved objects in our collection. What’s your favourite item in the museum? Tell us on Twitter using #phmtop10.

Daisy Nicholson (5)

My favourite object(s) / bit of the museum are the badges/stickers in Citizens (pink) section – having grown up in the 80s and spent lots of time as a child on marches & demos etc.(very politically active dad!), I loved collecting related badges and stickers, though at the time didn’t appreciate the various campaigns’ significance. Seeing such collections on the galleries is a nice trip down memory lane, but more importantly reflects the importance of preserving this aspect of history.