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General Election Trail launches at People’s History Museum

6 June 2024

• Thursday 6 June to Monday 30 September 2024 •

General Election Trail

It’s not only party political representatives that will be wearing rosettes in the build-up to the general election on 4 July, but key objects from the collection at People’s History Museum (PHM).  Rosettes in ‘PHM pink’ form part of a General Election Trail (Thursday 6 June to Monday 30 September) that visitors will be able to follow to find out interesting facts about general elections that have been held over the last 130 years.

PHM is home to the country’s largest collection of campaign, political and election material and the General Election Trail picks out some of the objects that highlight the twists and turns that have taken place, the figures involved and how British democratic history has been made.

Lisa Peatfield, Collections Manager at People’s History Museum, says, “General elections in Britain have always been fascinating events that reveal so much about society and its values. Many of the stories that feature along the General Election Trail are a reminder of how important the right to vote is, and how hard fought achieving it was for so many people.  There’s lots to discover which we also hope will inspire people to use their vote on 4 July.”

In PHM’s welcome area visitors will be greeted by specially installed exhibition cases that showcase general election objects from PHM’s archive.  These include posters, pamphlets and postcards that date back to 1910.  They make for an interesting comparison to the campaigning materials that will be used in the 2024 election, in the language, design and messaging that was used.  And there is one object that is a reminder of the pre-internet world.  The Campaigning Politician’s Guide of 1951 was a pocket-sized manual that was produced by the Conservative Party covering all the subjects a campaigning politician would need to know; from the current economic situation to foreign affairs, housing, health, food, local government and defence.  There are a number in the collection that date from 1900 to 1964.

On the galleries the brightly coloured rosettes will pick out objects that are part of the trail, with QR codes providing more information (held and large print text versions of the information will also be available on site).  The earliest election featured is 1895, which was the first to be contested by the Independent Labour Party, led by Keir Hardie and one of the forerunners of the modern Labour Party.  At this time general elections were held over several days, which continued to be the case until 1918.  Taking its place on the galleries as part of the objects on display especially for the General Election Trail there is a Conservative Party rosette from the 1922 general election, which has at its centre a badge that reads ‘Conservative & Unionist, Onward’ and features a shamrock, thistle, rose and daffodil to represent Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

There are interesting facts to discover along the way; for example, that when an election was held on 5 July 1945 the result was not announced until 26 July 1945 to allow votes from troops still stationed overseas to be counted and that 13 of the 16 Prime Ministers that have been in office since 1945 all graduated from the University of Oxford.

Also to look out for are a series of ballot boxes that reveal the legislation that has been passed through parliament to introduce voting reforms.  These start with the 1867 Reform Act, that gave the vote to some working class men for the first time and include the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, that for the first time gave women equal voting rights with men, and the 1969 Representation of the People Act that lowered the voting age to 18.  Things are brought up to date with the installation of a ballot box that represents the introduction of voter ID that took place under the Elections Act of 2022, which has been met with controversy.

The General Election Trail is a free activity that is part of the visitor experience at People’s History Museum and is designed with visitors aged 12+ in mind.  More information is available here. PHM’s opening hours are 10.00am to 5.00pm, every day except Tuesdays.  Museum entry is free, with most visitors donating £10.  To find out about visiting PHM, its full exhibitions and events programme visit and you can keep up to date with the latest news by signing up to receive PHM’s e-newsletter.


For further information, to arrange a visit or interview please contact Fido PR: /


Media opportunities at PHM
People’s History Museum’s collections, galleries, archive and conservation studio can all be used as part of filming or photography opportunities with prior arrangement.  The team at PHM have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be drawn upon as part of interviews about the general election, as the following overview highlights.

To make arrangements for any general election based media activity at PHM please contact /


Jenny Mabbott, Head of Collections & Engagement
Jenny is responsible for overseeing the museum’s extensive collection, as well as overseeing the exhibitions and public events programme at PHM.  She can talk about the collection and archive, and key general election stories within this.

Darren Treadwell, Archive Officer
Darren has been part of the PHM team since 2003.  He has in depth knowledge of the Labour Party archive and has recently been carrying out research into the museum’s collection of general election gems, a number of which he has selected to be on display at the museum from 6 June to 30 September.

Jenny van Enckevort, Conservation Manager
Jenny is an accredited textile conservator responsible for managing the studio and external commissions.  An expert in her field, she has extensive knowledge of social history textiles, banner use and manufacture.  The studio has recently condition assessed an unusual banner made by the famous banner make George Tutill from the 1906 general election, and Jenny can talk about the work this has involved.

Lisa Peatfield, Collections Manager
Lisa looks after PHM’s collection, including items on display in the galleries.  As well as being able to share a unique understanding of general election objects in the collection, she can also take you behind the scenes to talk about the work involved in managing the museum’s collection.  Lisa has developed the General Election Trail which will be available at the museum from 6 June to 30 September.

Mark Wilson, Exhibitions Officer
Mark can provide a fascinating insight into PHM’s collection in relation to general elections.  His specialist knowledge of art and printmaking means he can illuminate different stories, for example, looking at the museum’s collection of posters, such as those created in 1910 by the artist Gerald Spencer Pryse for the newly formed Labour Party.  He can also talk more broadly about the visual culture of PHM’s poster collection and its place in the wider museum collection.

Kayleigh Crawford, Collections Officer
Kayleigh can share an insight into the general election posters on display in the galleries, and within the wider collection, and specifically how they have changed dramatically over time based on new voting legislation.  Kayleigh has recently been carrying out research into the museum’s t-shirt collection including items relating to the 1997 general election.

Notes to editors:

About People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the UK’s national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.  Through an eclectic and colourful mix of historic and contemporary collections, featuring banners, badges, posters, photography and more, the museum celebrates the radical stories of people coming together to champion ideas worth fighting for.

Offering an engaging programme of exhibitions and events, collaborating with communities to create authentic content, the museum is Family Friendly throughout – inspiring the next generation to be active citizens.

People’s History Museum encourages visitors to be empowered by the past to make a change for the future.  We are all together in the fight for a fairer world.

About Arts Council England (ACE)
PHM is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).  The work of PHM is supported using public funding by ACE, the national development agency for creativity and culture.  ACE have set out their strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 they want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences.  From 2023 to 2026 they will invest over £467million of public money from government and an estimated £250million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

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