Where – The People’s History Museum, Manchester. See > http://www.phm.org.uk/
When – Sat Mar 16th 2013.
How much – Free, donations welcome.
I’m not much of a political animal these days. Party politics bores me, and whereas when I was a toddler and teenager the ideologies of the differing political parties were miles apart, these days I find little to distinguish them from each other. The People’s history museum is an easy fifteen minute stroll from the centre of Manchester towards the Lowry Hotel.
Ros and I are interested in history and social history, and this museum is a little cracker. If you are interested in particular about the struggles of the working man/woman over the last 200 hundred or so years, you will find this place fascinating.
On entrance, you at first see a striking large painting of what was dubbed the ‘Peterloo’ massacre of 1819, which happened just half a mile from the museum in St Peter’s field, 15 demonstrators were killed, seemingly for having just been in the way of sabre charging cavalry.
The museum features heavily on the forming of the workers unions in all shapes and forms. How the working
man tried to empower himself for better living and working conditions, all the time fighting against political and power corruption from the ruling and land owning classes (sound familiar?).
Of course over history, this was a dangerous thing. For instance The ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’ were found guilty of trying to form an ‘illegal’ trade union to improve their rights and livelihoods. Charged and found guilty by a kangaroo court, they were transported from their Dorset homes to Australia, but then, years later after further demonstrations receiving a pardon, with most of them returning home.
This is another fine little museum worth dropping into for half hour when near Dorchester in Dorset >
The people’s history museum touches on the evils of slavery as well as covering more recent political periods and upheavals, the Spanish civil war, the poll tax riots etc. But also there is humour, heads used in the famous 1980s/90s puppet TV prog ‘Spitting Image’ feature, as well as plenty of hands on things for children to do.
Political Posters, Massive Union flags, photos, displays, and heart-rending speeches from times gone by all feature, and the displays are very well presented.
We spent sixty to ninety minutes looking round, but you could easily spend longer, it really was very good indeed and well worth a visit and does make you realise if you hadn’t already, that most of the rights we have and take for granted in the 21st century in Western Europe, were hard-earned, and in many cases caused much hardship and suffering to those who had the courage to stand up and be counted during less democratic times.