New acquisitions

People’s History Museum’s collection is continually growing as part of its work to highlight the struggle for equity and equality and explore radical history as the national museum of democracy.

Collections highlight case

Some of the most recent additions to the collection can been seen on display in Main Gallery One (until Thursday 7 July 2022).  Read more about them here:

Kill the Bill leaflet, 2021

This leaflet was created by the Kill the Bill movement in protest to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.  This Bill would criminalise noisy protests and change trespassing into a criminal matter, rather than a civil dispute.  Protests across the country have taken place at each stage of the Bill’s journey through parliament.  These are known as Kill the Bill protests. 

Black Lives Matter knitted bannerette, 2020

This bannerette was created in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, which spread throughout the world after the murder of George Floyd.  It was created by a white woman from a pattern created by Ola Ogunlolu, who is a Black male knitter from the US.  It was displayed in the creator’s window during the Covid-19 pandemic, showing how people adapted their protests to remain indoors at this time, and how these important moments intersected. 

Brewdog Barnard Castle Eye Test beer can, 2020

The Barnard Castle controversy took place at the peak of Covid-19.  The Prime Minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, made a journey across the country with Covid-19 symptoms during the first ‘lockdown’ in March 2020, when non-essential travel was forbidden.  Brewdog came up with a tongue-in-cheek response with the production of this ‘hazy’ beer. 

Jewish Anti-fascist Action sticker, around 2019

Jewish people have a long history of anti-fascism, which continues today. In 1936 they were the largest group to organise against the British Union of Fascists’ march through Tower Hamlets, resulting in the Battle of Cable Street. This sticker is produced by Jewdas, a group of Jewish radical leftists. 

Trans Pride Brighton patch, around 2016

Trans Pride Brighton is a Transgender-specific pride march, which has been running since 2013. It was the first, and is the largest, transgender pride event outside of the USA, and people attend from across Europe. The aim is to reduce discrimination through visibility and celebration. 

Power to the People t-shirt, 1989

This t-shirt was created by the African National Congress (ANC) – a social-democratic political party in South Africa that Nelson Mandela belonged to.  

The t-shirt has different translations of the phrase “power to the people” or similar sentiments, including Xhosa and South Sotho, which are native languages in South Africa, as well as English, Afrikaans, Norwegian, Portuguese, Hindi, and Arabic. At the time of creation of this t-shirt, the ANC was outlawed in South Africa, and Black South Africans did not have the right to vote under Apartheid laws. 

The Tottenham Three Are Innocent t-shirt, around 1987

The ‘Tottenham Three’ were three Black men arrested, tried and imprisoned for the murder of PC Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riot in Tottenham, 1985.  

The riot occurred after the death of Cynthia Jarrett, a Black woman, by heart attack during a police search of her house following the false arrest of her son. This, along with the backdrop of the 1985 Brixton Riot which had occurred the previous week (caused by the police shooting of another Black woman, Dorothy Groce), caused widespread anger that developed into a riot.  

During the riot a group of Police Officers were overcome by a mob some way from the main rioting. One of these officers, PC Blakelock, was violently killed. 

The police arrested three men and three youths on account of Blakelock’s murder; the youths’ cases were dismissed as their interrogations were considered inadmissible due to the poor conditions in which they were kept and the lack of guardian presence during police interviews. Winston Silcott, Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite were arrested and convicted for PC Blakelock’s murder despite their being no physical evidence and no recorded confessions.

All three were cleared of the offence in 1991, after it became apparent that the police had tampered with the notes of their interrogations, which had been the only evidence in the trials. 

Free Nelson Mandela badge, around 1980

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned between 1962 and 1990, during which time he became the focus for the international anti-apartheid movement.  The band The Specials (then known as The Special AKA) released the song Free Nelson Mandela in 1984.  Mandela was finally released in 1990 after the African National Congress (ANC) party was declared legal.  In 1992 apartheid ended following a referendum of white South Africans. 

Gay Love It’s the Real Thing badge, date unknown

Research into the story behind this badge, which is based on the Coca-Cola identity, is ongoing so please get in touch with the collections team if you have any information. 

Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops badge, date unknown

This badge highlights the growing move against fast fashion, which relies on sweatshop labour to keep costs low. Sweatshops were a significant factor early on in the Covid-19 pandemic.  Some continued to run illegally in places like Leicester, with no safety controls, fueling Covid-19 case rates – especially among the working class and migrants who usually work in them for wages below minimum wage. 

Tax the Rich, Stop The Cuts badge, date unknown

The Tax the Rich movement is trying to get higher taxes to be levied against the super-wealthy, to stop cuts that have been occurring since the start of the Tories Austerity policy in 2010.

Keep Your Filthy Laws Off My Body badge, date unknown

Little is known about this badge, but it almost certainly relates to abortion and a woman’s right to choose. It shows that the wearer does not want the government (usually a majority male institution) to be able to declare laws that would control their bodies, especially in relation to contraceptive and abortion rights. 

 

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