Friday, 31 January 2014

New history and politics discussion group launches with a public meeting on Ellen Wilkinson and the future of the welfare state

A new historical and political discussion group, the Mary Quaile Club, will hold its first meeting on 15 February 2014 in Salford.

The  Mary Quaile Club was set up in December 2013. It will hold regular discussions on working class history and its links with  contemporary political issues facing working people in Tory Britain.  The Club takes its name from the  Manchester trade unionist, Mary Quaile  who was prominent in the 1920s and 1930s.

The organisers say, “We  believe there is  a new generation of political activists campaigning  on issues such as the bedroom tax, the privatisation of the NHS, zero hours contacts, fracking,  the slashing of welfare benefits etc   who would engage with  discussions on history and politics,  but who  are  not being reached at present. We will be holding regular meetings linking history with current political issues.”

The first public meeting of the Mary Quaile Club will be on Saturday 15 February 2014, 2pm, at  the Cornerstones Community  Centre, 451 Liverpool Street, Langworthy, Salford M6 5QQ.  

The theme of the meeting will be “What Ever Happened  to the Welfare State?”

The speakers will be Paula Bartley and Hugh Caffrey

Paula Bartley will discuss the life and politics of Ellen Wilkinson. Paula is the author of Ellen Wilkinson, from Red Suffragist to Government  Minister,  to be published by Pluto Press in February 2014.

Ellen grew up in Manchester and was an active socialist and suffragist. She was a Manchester City councillor for a short time before becoming a Labour MP for Middlesbrough and later Jarrow.  In 1936 she took part in the Jarrow Crusade, a march of the unemployed to London. In 1945  the Labour party won a landslide victory and set up the NHS and welfare State.  Ellen became Minister of Education. She died suddenly in 1947.

When I went to the Ministry of Education I had two guiding aims, and they come largely out of my own experience. I was born into a working-class home, and I had to fight my own way through to the University. The first of those guiding principles was to see that no boy or girl is debarred by lack of means … the second one was that we should remove from education those class distinctions which are the negation of democracy.Ellen’s speech to the 1946 Labour Party  Conference

Hugh  Caffrey is Secretary of Greater Manchester Keep our NHS Public.. which campaigns against the privatisation of the NHS. He will outline  what is happening at the moment and explain what people can  do to save the NHS from being taken over by the private sector.

 For more information,

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Forthcoming events at the People's History Museum

Below are a number of events that are coming up at the People's History Museum that might be of interest 

Saturday 22 February
Founded in 1883, the Women’s Co-operative Guild rapidly became the largest working class women’s organisation in Britain, mobilising thousands of female consumers for economic, social and political change. This talk will introduce some of the co-operative ‘wonder women’ who made their voices heard in the decades before women gained the right to vote.  Part of Wonder Women Radical Manchester.

Rachael Vorberg-Rugh is a historian, whose research and publications focus on the co-operative movement and its role in British society since the mid-19th century. Her current work focuses on integrating women’s involvement in co-operatives – as customers, members, activists and business leaders – into the wider history of co-operatives in Britain. She is the co-author of Building Co-operation: A Business History of The Co-operative Group, 1863-2013, recently published by Oxford University Press. Rachael is a researcher with the Co-operative College, where she previously served as Project Officer with the National Co-operative Archive and Rochdale Pioneers Museum.

Suitable for adults and young people
Booking advised, please contact 0161 838 9190 or
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
1.00pm – 2.00pm

Monday 3 March
Did you know the museum holds an archive of over 80,000 photographs?  Go behind the scenes and delve into our unique photo collections, the Labour Party photograph collection and the Communist Party of Great Britain photograph collection.  In this lunchtime drop in session, browse through photographs on the theme of women and uncover history through the lens.  Part of Wonder Women Radical Manchester.

Suitable for adults and young people
Booking advised, please contact 0161 838 9190 or
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
12.30pm – 1.30pm

Saturday 8 March
Celebrate International Women’s Day and watch our Living History character based on the life of suffragette Hannah Mitchell.  She spoke out for women and the poor and became a peace campaigner after World War I.  This event has been kindly supported by a grant from Manchester City Council.

Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 7s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite –
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
1.15pm – 2.00pm

Sunday 9 March
Celebrate International Women’s Day and join our Green Badge Tour Guide Suzanne Hindle, on a walking tour around the city centre.  Uncover the stories of historical and modern Manchester women and find out about their contribution to harmony through radicalism, war effort, nursing, science and community work.  This event has been kindly supported by a grant from Manchester City Council.

Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 10s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite –
Meet at the People’s History Museum, walk through the city centre and end back at the museum
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
2.00pm – 4.00pm

Saturday 29 March

Join Natalie Bradbury, writer, researcher and Information Co-ordinator at the Co-operative College, for this fascinating talk.  Between 1919 and 1967 the women of the co-operative movement had their own magazine, Woman’s Outlook.   Providing an enticing mix of the personal and the political, Woman’s Outlook was surprisingly similar to women’s magazines today, and its concerns such as women’s representation in parliament, equal pay and healthy eating remain ever-relevant.  Part of Manchester Histories Festival.
Suitable for adults and young people
Booking advised via Eventbrite –
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
1.00pm – 2.00pm

Saturday 29 March
The Liberal government demanded every household comply with its census requirements.  So suffragette organisations urged women, all still voteless, to boycott.  Many did.  Join author and research fellow Dr Jill Liddington for the fascinating insight into the events of Census Night 1911.  Jill is co-author of One Hand Tied behind Us which quickly became a suffrage classic.  Her most recent book, Rebel Girls:Their Fight For The Vote was shortlisted for the Portico Book Prize.

Suitable for adults and young people.  Part of Manchester Histories Festival.
Booking required via Eventbrite –
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation
3.00pm – 3.45pm

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

21st Century Feminism, Wed 5 March, The Friends Meeting House, Manchester

Feminism in the 21st Century: Privilege, Bias and Feminist Practice
The Friends Meeting House
6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS
Timed to lead up to International Women’s Day, this one-day public forum will consider contemporary gender issues and persistent sexism. What does it mean to be a feminist in the 21st century and what are the new challenges facing women in an era marked by on-going global conflict and economic crisis? A panel of internationally renowned feminist thinkers will discuss the feminist now and the feminist future, alongside a day of networking opportunities and activities.
Questions under discussion will include: 
Given recent high profile debates in the media and via social networking, what is the possible future relationship between Trans*/feminists?
What does the debate about intersectionality tell us about the state of feminism right now?
Does the current worldwide scapegoating of the poor and working class have a particularly deleterious effect on women?
Can new grass roots movements against austerity offer hope of positive change in gender issues?
What are the connections and differences brought to light by recent media and legal attention to rape and sexual assault, both in the ‘bad old’ 70s and in the hyper-sexualised present of assaults posted to YouTube and ‘Everyday Sexism’?
Does it still make any sense to speak of ‘post-feminism’, empowerment and sexual autonomy in the current context of commodification of sex and pornification of culture?
The day will be accompanied by an information fair including:
- Stalls featuring women’s groups and feminist activities
- Women’s choir
- Feminist artwork
Timetable for the day:
Fair opens at 11am with free tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival!
12.00 – 1.30pm Panel One: ‘Objectification’
Dr Jules Holroyd  (Nottingham)
Dr Anna Bergqvist (MMU)
Dr Finn Mackay (Feminist activist and researcher)
1.30pm – 1.45pm – break
1.45pm – 3.15pm Panel Two: ‘Intersectionality’
Rhian E Jones (writer and blogger)
Caroline Bayliss Green (MMU)
Reni Eddo-Lodge (writer and blogger)
3.15 – 3.45pm – break – free tea, coffee and biscuits
3.45pm – 5.45pm: Panel Three: ‘Post-feminism and silencing’
Dr Katherine Angel  (Queen Mary, University of London)
Jinan Younis (Altrincham Girls Grammar Feminist Group)
Dr Ginette Carpenter (MMU)
5.45pm – 6.00pm – break
6.00pm: Generating Feminism: Plenary from Professor Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht)
7.00pm- 7.30pm: Discussion and closing remarks
This event is convened by members of the Institute’s research cluster on ‘21st Century Feminist Agendas’: Dr Ginette Carpenter, Dr Anna Bergqvist and PhD candidate in English Caroline Baylis-Green, and IHSSR Project Manager Helen Malarky
Please sign up to attend at
If you would like to be involved in the information fair, or for any other questions, please email

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Update - Suffragette Legacy; How does the History of Feminism Inspire Current Thinking in Manchester?

A quick update to let you know that we are finalising the programme and booking procedures for our forthcoming conference on Saturday 8 March 2014.

All information will be available through this blog, including links to our venue, People's History Museum, and the programme.

If you don't want to miss anything, sign up to follow this blog via email - sign up box is in the left hand column

Venue: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER


Fee: £25/£15 (concessions for students or unwaged). Bursaries will be announced at the same time as the full programme. 

Twitter: @WonderWomenMcr @SuffragEvent

Wonder Women:

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

No More Page 3 Manchester Meet-up

No More Page 3 Manchester meet-up

Wednesday 8th Jan 2014 5.30/6pm start

The Penthouse, 5th Floor Hilton House, 26-28 Hilton Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1EH

Anne Louise Kershaw, the Manchester campaigner for No More Page 3 would love to invite everybody to come along this Wednesday evening for a No More Page 3 brainstorm and chat.

No More Page 3 would love to raise the profile of their campaign in and around Manchester city, so if you have any ideas, are interested in the campaign, or just want to nosy in, feel free. Everyone is welcome.

The meet-up is a relaxed and very informal way to get together and brainstorm any ideas we have to get more people aware of the No More Page 3 campaign, and to get more signatures on the petition. Tea and coffee available.

If you need any further information or just want to get in touch contact: @Anne_L_Kershaw on twitter. I really look forward to seeing you there