The People’s History Museum derives its origin from the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative History Society. From the 1960s the society formed a small collection and between 1975 and 1986 ran a museum in Limehouse Town Hall in London. The collections were then in storage until the Greater
Manchester authorities made a funding offer. A new trust was created and the museum re-opened in 1990, initially at 103 Princess Street. In May 1994 new museum galleries were opened in the Pump House on Bridge Street. This is the only surviving Edwardian hydraulic pumping station in the city and it used to supply power to the warehouses and even wound the Town Hall clock and raised the curtain at the Opera House! The museum was known as both the National Museum of Labour History and the Pump House People’s History Museum. In 2001 the museum decided to use one name to embrace the whole organisation: People’s History Museum. In October 2007 the museum closed to the public to allow for the start of a multi-million pound re-development scheme. A bigger and better People’s History Museum re-opened on 13 February 2010. See the left hand menu for more information on who was involved and what happened.
The People’s History Museum is a charity and is a company limited by guarantee with 17 trustees. It is independent and has no political affiliation. It is accredited as a national museum by Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). In 1998 it was awarded designated status by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which recognises the museum as having pre-eminent collections of national importance.
Key facts & figures
- the only national museum in Manchester city centre
- the first public building in Britain to be built with an extraordinary Cor-Ten metal shell
- displays the largest number of trade union and other banners in the world
- contains 1384 square metres of exhibition space
- displays almost 1500 historic objects
- has a dedicated Community Gallery open to individuals and groups to mount their own exhibitions
- allows visitors to see ‘behind the scenes’ into Britain’s only Textile Conservation Studio dedicated to the preservation of banners
- houses a unique Archive containing the collections of the Labour Party, the Communist Party and much more
- continues to attract a higher proportion of foreign visitors than any other museum in the city
- attracts 60,000 plus visitors a year
- has high quality spaces available to hire for meetings and events including the stunning Coal Store Conference Room and renovated Engine Hall
- sells a unique range of books, gifts and souvenirs based on the museum’s outstanding collections
- and finally, has a café with the sunniest riverside terrace in the city!
[This information is copied from the People’s History Museum]