Invisible lives of Salford’s working class boosted, as library earns Heritage Lottery funding

By Alex Jackson

Salford’s Working Class Movement Library was successful in attaining a Heritage Lottery fund thanks to its informative displays and projects today.

The Library received the fund for its continuing 18-month project ‘Invisible Histories: Salford’s Working Lives’, which exposes the history of working lives for those in the area.

The project aims to increase awareness of this vital knowledge of the region through interactive displays, using oral histories, photos and music to document previously ‘invisible’ and forgotten working lives.

Maggie Cohen, Chair of Trustees, said: “The library is unique. It is a focus for the Salford community, and for those interested in the history of working people nationwide and worldwide.

“We’ll be really pleased to hear from anyone who worked at Dickie Howarth’s, at Agecroft or at Ward & Goldstone and would like to tell us stories from that time, so that we can add these to our collections for future generations to learn from.”

Funding will help highlight the past conditions in these working environments, with particular focus on three very different Salford industries.

The first is electrical engineering company Ward & Goldstone, the second, Richard Howarth’s cotton mill in Ordsall, and the third features the local colliery at Agecroft which opened in 1844.

All the exhibitions discuss the extraordinary changes in the area, from the industrialisation boom of the 1870s to the vanishing of many local industries in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is hoped that the project will encourage locals not only to come and learn about their region, but to exchange views, ideas and memories so as to build our appreciation of how the Greater Manchester area has changed.

Explaining the importance of the lottery support, Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in the North West, said: “We are delighted to support this project as these people’s lives are inextricably woven into Salford’s rich history.

“Sadly, it is an element which is in danger of disappearing as it slips out of human memory. This project will not only capture those vital memories but in doing so will give different sections of the community the opportunity to meet, forge new friendships and learn new skills.

“Together they can celebrate, and take pride in their past.”

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