The Working class men library,Salford

Young activists in Salford will be able to learn about the revolutionary Big Flame organisation thanks to a £100k gift from the National Heritage Fund to The Working Class Movement Library.

Big Flame was a revolutionary socialist organisation which started in 1970s Liverpool. It was feminist, anti-racist and had a vision of emphasised class engagement and non-authoritarian community organisation.

The Working class men library,Salford
The Working Class Movement Library, Salford

Whilst it started in Liverpool, it also had branches in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham and London before they dissolved in 1984.

The Working Class Movement Library in Salford holds copies of their newspaper and the journal Revolutionary Socialism.

The grant will allow them to deliver a project focused on young individuals and activists in exploring, researching and enhancing accessibility to the Big Flame archive.

big flame newspaper cover
Big Flame newspaper cover via the Working Class Movement Library

Sam Inglesson, the chair of trustees at the WCML, welcomed the grant.

“We would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for investing in the Working Class Movement Library and helping us to build new audiences for our fantastic collection. This project will make a big difference to the library and our ability to deliver creative experiences for people from our community.”

Belinda Scarlett, the library manager, added: “We are hugely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting our project and our vision to make the Working Class Movement Library open and relevant to all working class people.  We are also very excited to be working in partnership with RECLAIM and to co-create an exhibition with young people.”

The grant will also allow them to connect with other archives and activists who may also have material about Big Flame, so they can show off their collection to a wider audience as well as improving their current exhibit so they can showcase their exhibit in a more impactful and accessible manner.

They also announced two staff members will be recruited who will be dedicated to deliver the project.

This will all lead to an exhibition launch in 2025 with newly digitised archive material, oral histories and a public event programme.

More info here 



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