The superb People’s History Museum explores Britain’s rich history of radicalism and the struggles of marginalized people to acquire rights and extend suffrage – ideas that developed out of the workers’ associations and religious movements of the industrial city and which helped to shape the modern world. Housed in a former pump house and an ultramodern, four-storey extension, the galleries use interactive displays – including coffins and top hats – to trace a compelling narrative from the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 onwards. As the gallery shows, this moment became the catalyst for agitation that led to the 1832 Reform Act, and subsequent rise of the egalitarian Chartist movement. The galleries go on to explore the struggle for female suffrage, the Communist party in Britain, Oswald Mosely’s fascists, and the working-class origins of football and pop music, and include the finest collection of trade union banners in the country.
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