People's History Museum Blog

PHM is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.

On this blog we share posts from the PHM team and other experts, with behind the scenes stories, coverage of our exhibitions, events, and Learning Programme, and highlights from our unique collection.

Lithograph portrait of William Cuffay © National Portrait Gallery, London

William Cuffay, Black Chartism and a treasured object

10 April 2020


On the anniversary of the 1848 Chartist mass meeting on Kennington Common, London, People’s History Museum’s (PHM) Researcher Dr Shirin Hirsch explores the life of PHM Radical William Cuffay – a ‘scion’ of Africa’s oppressed race – and reveals a precious, rare and poetic treasure of Cuffay’s from the museum’s collection.



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Left to right Grunwick picket board, 1976 and Jayaben Desai © People's History Museum

This is why I chose the inspirational Jayaben Desai

2 April 2020


Co-Chair and Trustee at People’s History Museum (PHM) Lord Steve Bassam of Brighton, a British Labour Party and Co-operative Party politician and a member of the House of Lords shares his very personal reasons for choosing to be the PHM Radical Sponsor of Jayaben Desai.  We end the blog with ways you can support the museum.



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Grunwick Strike Committee banner, 1976 © People's History Museum

A patient banner and the problem with plastic

6 March 2020


People’s History Museum houses the world’s largest collection of trade union and political banners.  In this month’s blog, our Conservator, Kloe Rumsey shines a light on the conservation work she undertook to prepare a previously unseen banner for our 2020 Banner Exhibition.



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Katy Ashton, Director @ People's History Museum

Being relevant and resonant in today’s world

14 February 2020


PHM celebrates its 10th birthday this year, here Director Katy Ashton looks back on a decade of success and looks forward to an ambitious future.



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Left to right - 14th century locksmith, anonymous, Hausbuch der Mendelschen Zwölfbrüderstiftung, Band 1 Nürnberg 1426–1549 Stadtbibliothek, TGWU banner, early 1980s and and Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg and Shoemakers, 1568 © Das Ständebuch (The Book of Trades)

The trade unions of the Middle Ages

5 February 2020


Dr Claire Kennan, from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London reveals the influence of unions stretching back to the Middle Ages.



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