Red Wedge badges: from Constructivism to Neil Kinnock and the Style Council

Red Wedge brought both music and the most cutting edge designs to Labour politics in the mid 1980s. Mark Crail looks at the badges coveted by a generation – and at the organisation that produced them. The platform was too small for the numerous politicians and musicians intent on making their presence felt in front of a battery of press cameras. But despite the crush, … Continue reading Red Wedge badges: from Constructivism to Neil Kinnock and the Style Council

Daily Herald’s front page reports the first Labour government and the death of Lenin

What a day to be a headline writer on a Labour newspaper. On 23 January 1924, the TUC-owned Daily Herald led its news coverage with the formation of the first ever Labour government. But big as it was, the story had to share the front page with news from Moscow of the sudden death of Lenin. Born out of a strike bulletin first published by … Continue reading Daily Herald’s front page reports the first Labour government and the death of Lenin

Labour Party League of Youth members’ badge

The Labour Party began to recruit individual members in 1918, and youth sections appeared in a handful of divisional party organisations soon afterwards. But it was not until 1924 that the National Executive Committee formalised their existence and established a Labour Party League of Youth to act as a national co-ordinating body – albeit one with strictly limited representation and voice within the party’s structures. … Continue reading Labour Party League of Youth members’ badge

The Labour Leader and the Clarion: rival socialist newspapers in the Edwardian era

Two men sit facing one another, rival socialist newspapers in hand as they debate the issues of the day. Clues in the picture have more to tell us about it, and about the political differences between the Labour Leader and the Clarion. But the reason it was taken remains a mystery. Continue reading The Labour Leader and the Clarion: rival socialist newspapers in the Edwardian era

Manchester wiredrawers’ strike, 1934

This photo dates from 1934, during the nine-month strike by 650 workers at the firm of Richard Johnson & Nephew Ltd, Wiredrawers, of Forge Lane, Bradford, Manchester. Strike leaders Alf Bywater and Bill Dunn are shown addressing the workers. The cause of the strike was the introduction of a system designed to maximise productivity: the Bedaux System. This represented a method of time and motion … Continue reading Manchester wiredrawers’ strike, 1934

Conscientous objectors: A Gaol Bird’s Lay

This is a pamphlet from the Peace Collection held at the Working Class Movement Library in Salford. From August 1914 until January 1916, the British government relied on volunteers to produce an army to fight on the Western Front and other areas of the war. Towards the end of 1915, a reduction in the numbers volunteering and the sheer scale of casualties meant that conscription … Continue reading Conscientous objectors: A Gaol Bird’s Lay

Socialist International delegate’s card, 1896

In 1896 the Socialist International met in London. Edward Aveling was in charge of its organisation. His partner, Eleanor Marx, (daughter of Karl) was secretary of the ‘Hotels Committee’, which meant the delegates’ accommodation. In charge of printing and publicity was H.A. Barker, who had formed an early Socialist organisation, the Labour Union. Barker wrote to Walter Crane, the Socialist artist to design the delegates’ … Continue reading Socialist International delegate’s card, 1896

The Miners’ Lockout

This image comes from a recent addition to Bishopsgate Institute archives: a photo album bearing the inscription ‘Memories of the Miners Lock-out 1926 Fife’ (Ref: Labour History Manuscripts/67). The Miners’ Lockout was part of the General Strike of 1926, called by the General Council of the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in an attempt to prevent the Government of the day from lowering the wages and … Continue reading The Miners’ Lockout