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Salford Tories said what?…

Submitted by on May 9, 2014 – 12:10 pmOne Comment


A press release from Salford’s Working Class Movement Library today states:

The Trustees of the Working Class Movement Library have written to the Electoral Commission in protest at a leaflet issued by Salford Conservatives.

The leaflet was distributed by the local Conservative Party in support of candidates in the forthcoming local elections. In it they state that the Library has “been receiving tens of thousands of pounds of your money over the last few years and yet you cannot walk in and read any material”.

The Library, along with many hundreds of other charities in the City, does indeed get a council grant each year.

This is to recognise the great importance of its world-renowned collections and the work it does with the people of Salford. Along with most other charities the grant has been reducing over the past few years.

In return for this grant the Library opens its doors to any member of the public on a daily basis between Tuesday and Friday. All are welcome, entirely free of charge, to read any of the quite extraordinary range of material that make up the collection.

Maggie Cohen, Chair of Trustees, said: “The Conservatives have now, in effect, told every household in Salford that they cannot use the Library.

“This is not merely untrue, but actively detrimental to the huge efforts constantly being made by Library volunteers and staff to encourage local people to come and share the Library’s fantastic resources.

“Everyone is welcome to the free talks, film shows, exhibitions and tours held here.  Just next week we have three free film screenings plus Salford’s only contribution to the national Museums at Night celebration, and we are looking forward to taking part in the Spirit of Salford Festival later this month with the Salford launch of a new biography of Shelagh Delaney.

A recent Lottery-funded oral history project involved us working with students from Buile Hill Visual Arts College, and we were delighted when they won the Best Schools Histories award at the recent Manchester Histories Festival for their part in our project.

We would like to assure everyone that they will receive a warm welcome if they pop in to visit this Salford jewel”.

The Front Room

Snuggle up with a good book…

So let’s get this right – the Working Class Movement Library, a charity working miracles on a tiny budget to encourage local people to come in and read (their Front Room is a brilliant drop-in space to curl up with a book and a free brew) and to come to free events and exhibitions, as well as bringing people from as far afield as Australia, Japan etc etc to Salford to use its world-renowned collections, has just had its publicity graft of the last few years severely undermined by Salford Tories in a single demonstrably untrue statement – aimed at, and delivered through the letterboxes of, the very people the Library is keen to welcome.  We reckon the Heritage Lottery Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Trust and other respected apolitical funders who have been happy to support the Library with grants over the last years to get more people through their doors will be a bit startled to read this bizarre lie too.

Putting blatant falsehoods in your election literature is actually a pretty serious offence, so we look forward to hearing more about this story.

In the meantime get yourselves down to the Library – open, yes open, Tuesday to Friday 10-5 and the third Sat of the month 10-4 – and show your support.  Actually next week  it’s open, yes open, even longer hours than usual, as it has a mini-film festival, Last Cage Down, to mark the anniversary of the miners’ strike (eek, sounds a bit political that) on Monday to Wednesday evenings,  and a drop-in event for Museums at Night (we understand they’re the only Salford institution taking part in this nationwide event) on Thursday 15th.  And on Wednesday 14th at 2pm A Fine Lung’s good friend Mark Metcalf from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is there to talk about the Campaign.  More info below.

Last Cage Down film festival

All screenings are free – including free popcorn…

Mon 12 May 7pm The Road to Drumleman tells the story of brotherhood at the Argyll Colliery (1947-1967). When artist Jan Nimmo‘s dad, a former shot firer at the pit, died, she sought out the remaining men who had worked alongside him to piece together the story of Scotland’s most remote coal mine. Jan’s husband Paul will introduce the film.

Tues 13 May 7pm The Last Strike, followed by a talk by Dave Douglass, the NUM activist known as ‘Danny the Red’. In 1984 a French TV crew made what Dave describes as the best film made about the strike, ‘La Dernière Grève’. It focuses on St Helen’s, and the solidarity of Lancashire miners and the key role played by women come powerfully across.

Wed 14 May 7pm Last Pit in the Valley Irwell Valley Mining Project‘s acknowledgement of lost Salford pits and reminder of miners’ working conditions through the years. Plus Pride in the Pits, a tribute to the men and women who worked in the North Staffordshire coalfield.

Added extra event: The Library is also pleased to welcome Mark Metcalf from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to talk on Wednesday 14 May at 2pm about the Campaign’s determination to seek truth and justice for the miners victimised by the police at the Orgreave Coking Plant, South Yorkshire, during that key event in the strike in June 1984.


Testing the Echo

Thursday 15 May, 5pm-8pm (drop in), free (including soft drinks & nibbles).

Experience the amazing acoustic of this library, as songs of struggle echo through the building. Paul Robeson, African-American bass singer, actor and civil rights activist, sang in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1938 and also addressed political meetings in the city. Tayo Aluko, acclaimed interpreter of Robeson’s songs and life, muses on extraordinary tales such as Robeson’s links with Welsh miners, while historical ballad singer Jennifer Reid offers broadside ballads on mining and industrialisation.


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