History of Working Lives

Ann: WCML is awarded HLF grant
The Working Class Movement Library is delighted to announce that its application for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been successful. The Fund has awarded £313,000 to the Library over the next three years for its project 'The Past Meets the Present: a History of Working Lives'.

The project will bring to life the Library's unique collections and make them accessible to the whole community. The archives, books and documents that comprise the Library tell the story describe of working the history of ordinary people's fight for social justice and political rights over the last 200 years. They depict radicalism in all its forms and trace how individuals and groups have fought for the rights of working people. The collections give rich insights into 'history from below', The Library will particularly focus on encouraging use of its collections by schoolchildren, especially in the local Salford area, and by working people involved in lifelong learning activities, encouraging both these groups to use and contribute to working class heritage. Money has also been awarded to make the entrance hall a more welcoming space for drop-in visitors.

The Working Class Movement Library was founded by Ruth and Edmund Frow in their home in Old Trafford in the mid 1950s. For years they travelled Britain in their holidays with a caravan, collecting items that few then valued. Eventually the collection filled every room in their house. In 1987 the Library, now a Charitable Trust, was offered a new home in Jubilee House, a former nurses' home, where it now fills 40 rooms. The Library is now recognised nationally and internationally as one of Britain's most important collections of working class history. It hosts banners, posters, books, pamphlets, photographs, films and much else.

Eddie Frow died in 1997 aged 91 but Ruth Frow, now in her mid 80s, is still very involved with the Library on a day to day basis. Ruth said: 'The Library is unique. It is a focus for the community, and for those interested in the history of working people nationwide and worldwide. This project will ensure that the collections are preserved and accessed accessible for generations to come'.

Actress Maxine Peake, a supporter of the Library, added: 'This is great news. I'm over the moon. The Library is a very special place with an amazing archive. I know this project will put many more working people in touch with their rich history'.

Working Class Movement Library
Jubilee House, 51 The Crescent, M5 4WX, Salford
Tel: +44-161-736.3601, Fax: +44-161-737.4115
Email: [mailto]enquiries@wcml.org.uk[/mailto]