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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 PHM's exhibitions and events, and highlights from the museum's unique collection.

Image of Young Communist League London District Solidarity with Chile banner, around 1974. Image courtesy of People's History Museum.

Chile Solidarity Campaign in Britain

31 August 2023


2023 marks 50 years since the Chilean military coup of 1973, during which time democratically elected socialist leader President Salvador Allende was killed.  The coup led to international outcry.  In the aftermath, individuals and organisations around the UK rallied to Chile’s aid.  Campaigners demanded human rights for the people of Chile, protesting the violent repression of the country’s dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

Carole Concha Bell is a PhD student at King’s College London and freelance writer.  She arrived in the UK with her family as a child refugee fleeing the Pinochet regime in 1975, and is a founding member of the Chile Solidarity Network and press officer for Mapuche International Link.  In this blog, she reflects on the Chile Solidarity Campaign (CSC) that emerged in Britain.



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Image of Peterloo Massacre 1819, commemorative glass, date unknown. Image courtesy of People's History Museum.

What was the Peterloo Massacre?

7 August 2023


In this blog PHM’s Researcher Dr Shirin Hirsch writes about the Peterloo Massacre. On 16 August 1819 60,000 people congregated in St Peter’s Field in Manchester, with demands for the right to vote, freedom from oppression, and justice.  Despite its peaceful beginning, this was a day that would end with a bloody outcome.



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Image of Mark Ashton Trust banner, 1988. Image courtesy of People's History Museum.

Mark Ashton Trust: a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s

2 June 2023


Mark Ashton was an activist and campaigner in the 1980s, perhaps most known for co-founding Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners during the miners’ strike of 1984-85. He was a member the Communist Party of Great Britain and joined Red Wedge, a collective of musicians aiming to engage young people with the Labour movement. Mark died of AIDS related illness in 1987. The Mark Ashton Trust was set up by a group of friends to respond to the ongoing crisis 



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Image of March for British Sign Language (BSL) recognition, 2000. Photograph courtesy of Jen Dodds

British Sign Language: why is it under threat? 

2 May 2023


To mark Deaf Awareness Week (1-7 May 2023) we asked award-winning author and activist Dr Paddy Ladd to share an overview of Deaf Culture, history and sign language.  In this blog he explains why it is still under threat.



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Image of Lorina Bulwer sampler, late 1800s. Image courtesy of Costume and Textile Collection, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (Norfolk Museums Service)

The fabric of protest in disabled people's activism

13 April 2023


Gill Crawshaw is a curator, based in Leeds, who draws on her experience of disability activism to organise art exhibitions and events which highlight issues affecting disabled people. She is interested in the intersection of disabled people’s lives with textile heritage in the north of England, as well as with contemporary textile arts.

In March 2023, Gill took part in People’s History Museum’s (PHM) The Fabric of Protest workshop. She reflects on how disabled people have used textiles as a powerful tool of communication and on some of the objects on show in PHM’s current exhibition about disabled people’s activism, Nothing About Us Without Us.



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