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 behind the scenes stories, coverage of our exhibitions, events, Learning Programme and highlights from our unique collection.

Spinning mills on Union Street in Ancoats, around 1820. Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Cotton strikers, picketers & Peterloo

30 April 2019


Here at PHM we’re commemorating 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre; a major event in Manchester’s history, and a defining moment for Britain’s democracy.  We asked Katie Belshaw, Curator of Industrial Heritage down the road at Science and Industry Museum to provide some context about early 19th century Manchester’s expanding cotton industry.



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The Case for a Legal Minimum Wage, The Fabian Society pamphlet, April 1908 @ People's History Museum

#OnThisDay in 1999 the National Minimum Wage was introduced

1 April 2019


On this day in 1999 the National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced, the rate was £3.60 per hour (£3 for 18 to 21 year olds).  Here Darren Treadwell, Archive Officer at PHM shares memories from his first job in 1981.



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Hugh Hornby Birley portrait, oil paint on canvas, date unknown © People's History Museum

The captain of the Yeomanry at Peterloo

23 March 2019


To complement the display of a portrait of Hugh Hornby Birley, who as captain of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry played a central role in the events that unfolded at the Peterloo Massacre, we asked author Jeff Kaye to share his research on Birley from his forthcoming novel All the People and treat us to an excerpt about the painting, now in People’s History Museum’s (PHM) collection.  



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The Fabric of Protest 2019 workshops @ People's History Museum

The Fabric of Protest

13 March 2019


People’s History Museum (PHM) runs a monthly textile workshop, The Fabric of Protest, that brings together conversation and making, politics and craft.  

Here artist Helen Mather, who leads the workshops, tells us about what happens in the session and what the participants have been learning and creating so far in 2019.



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The Belle-alliance, or the Female Reformers of Blackburn!!! print, 1819 (detail) © People's History Museum

The women of Peterloo

4 March 2019


To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve invited our former colleague and the National Trust’s new Programme Curator of National Public Programmes Helen Antrobus to blog for us.

Helen is a specialist in the history and collections relating to 20th century radical women; from the women who marched at Peterloo, to the female Chartists; those involved with the women’s suffrage movement, to the first female MPs, and shares with us her insight into the women at Peterloo.



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