Friday, February 04, 2011

Look after our heritage

NOT long ago I was writing about the People's History Museum in Manchester, a treasure house of photographs, trade union banners and contemporary pamphlets and papers recording the struggles of past generations for a better world.

This started life with the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative History Society established by Terry McCarthy in the 1960s, and a collection housed at Limehouse Town Hall in London. Without detracting from East Enders' pride, or my conveniance, I thought its move to Manchester was appropriate, that being where the TUC was formed, and before that an area of great Chartist activity. It was also where Fred Engels observed the results of industrial capitalism, as well as being the birthplace of the Pankhursts.

Not that there's anything local about the People's History Museum. It's significance is national and interest international. But Manchester has done the museum proud, and after some closure for redevelopment it opened again a year ago in good central premises with support from the unions and Manchester City Council, as well as some help from the National Heritage Fund. State funding has provided about 20 per cent of its budget. But then the Department of Culture, Museums and Sport (DCMS) announced it would no longer fund eight "museums that should be the responsibility of local communities".

The People's History Museum was one of the eight. All but one outside London, naturally.

But now for a bit of good news. In a report to trades union councils in the South-East, regional secretary Megan Dobney writes:

"I know many colleagues support and have a great affection for the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The TUC has a long association with the museum and its predecessor, the National Museum of Labour History. The museum had some brilliant news this week – it’s on the long list for the 2011 Art Fund Prize. This is the UK’s largest arts prize with a prestigious £100,000 award for the winning museum.

"For further information about the award, if you’re interested, please use the links below:

- Link to the news story on the museum’s website about the Art Fund Prize -

- Link to the Art Fund Prize website with the list of the judges for 2011 –

- Link to an article on the Guardian website by Charlotte Higgins (one of the judges) -

But most importantly, please consider voting for the museum in the online public poll, and you might want to encourage your friends and contacts to do so too.

- Link to the online poll to vote for PHM –

It would be wonderful if this museum of working class and trade union history won and got a financial boost from the prize!

All best wishes, Megan

Megan Dobney
SERTUC Regional Secretary

Megan's official responsibility covers London, the East and South-East, but she is plainly not as parochial as the government.

Having seen some of the other museums that are candidates for this grant, I am sure they are all doing a good job and are deserving. But I had no hesitation in casting my vote for the People's History Museum, and urge you to do so.

Naturally I am biased.

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At 11:14 AM, Blogger scott davidson said...

"I saw this picture in the school library where someone's face was all made up of fruits and vegetables," my son said. "Would be cool to have one of those in my room."
He and I searched for art about "vegetables" in and immediately found this one,, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, which fits the bill to the nearest pear.


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