On the buses: how the National Union of Railwaymen organised bus workers

This rather beautiful badge is a reminder that the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) was not just about trains. From the 1920s onwards, the union actively recruited and organised bus workers, and by 1950 had nearly 14,500 ‘busmen’, as they were styled, in membership – a small but significant group among the NUR’s total membership of more than 400,000 transport workers. The badge itself is … Continue reading On the buses: how the National Union of Railwaymen organised bus workers

SSLH backs drive to conserve historic Belgian trade union banners

The People’s Flag… is in need of a little care, writes Mike Sanders. Banners and flags have played a key role in Labour movement since its inception. Trades unions and political protesters alike have marched behind banners proclaiming their objectives and values using both word and image. Nor has their symbolic importance escaped the attention of those opposed to the Labour movement. At Peterloo, the … Continue reading SSLH backs drive to conserve historic Belgian trade union banners

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

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