Enter stage left: when Unity Theatre put the politics into panto

Established in 1936, Unity Theatre was without doubt the most important focus for political theatre of the mid twentieth century, providing a venue for new work that would never have seen the light of day on the traditional stage and offering a way into the acting world for many working-class performers who would go on to become significant figures in post-war stage, screen and television. … Continue reading Enter stage left: when Unity Theatre put the politics into panto

‘Be united and industrious’: the emblem of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers

The Amalgamated Society of Engineers was by no means the first trade union to produce an emblem for its members. But just as the constitution and structure adopted by the ASE in 1851 proved influential among the New Model unions that followed, so the design of its emblem inspired numerous imitators. James Sharples, a blacksmith and founder member of the ASE (more properly, the Amalgamated … Continue reading ‘Be united and industrious’: the emblem of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers

Walter Crane’s artistic vision of a new social order

Titled ‘The new social order: work for all, art for all’, this powerful image was created by the socialist artist Walter Crane (1845-1915) for a leaflet for the so-called Ancoats Brotherhood – named for the district of Manchester in which they were based. The brotherhood had been founded in 1878 with the aim of bringing art and literature to the working class; it organised lectures, … Continue reading Walter Crane’s artistic vision of a new social order