Why Labour History Still Matters: A Free Discussion Event

Tuesday 1 December 2015, 6.30pm-8pm, Marx Memorial Libray, London EC1R 0DU


The second Applied History Network event will be held at the Marx Memorial Library (London EC1R 0DU) on Tuesday 1 December at 6.30pm. We will be discussing why labour history still matters. This event is again free but registration is required. Please sign up on our Eventbrite page.

Labour history was central to many constructions of radical history in Britain in the twentieth century. Since the 1980s, however, the decline in the strength of the British trade union movement alongside intellectual trends away from the centrality of class have coincided with an apparent ‘crisis’ of labour history. Yet trade unions still have 6 million members in this country, work is still a central experience of everyday life, and antagonism at the point of production must still have a role in radical politics. But what place does recounting the experience of labour in the past have to play in this process? This session will bring together people who have engaged with the history of labour and trade unions from a variety of approaches to engage with this question.

This event is support by the Raphael Samuel History Centre.


Sarah Boston (film maker and author of Women Workers and the Trade Unions)

Mary Davis (Professor of Labour History, editor of Class and Gender in British Labour History and author of Comrade or Brother?)

Owen Gower (Director of Still the Enemy Within, a documentary about the 1984-5 British miners’ strike)

Jeff Howarth (Librarian at the Trades Union Congress Library Collections)



Website: Applied History Network


Other news from the Applied History Network

  • The first Applied History Network event, ‘Anti-racist campaigning and British history’, took place on the 20 October. Recordings and a write up of the event will be on our website soon, so keep an eye on https://appliedhistorynetwork.wordpress.com
  • A member of the network is putting on a film showing of The Coconut Revolution and discussion with filmmaker Dom Rotheroe at Birkbeck Cinema 6pm this evening. See here for more information and to register
  • The Marx Memorial Library were very nice hosts for our first event. Check out their programme of our events and sign up to their newsletter here.


The Applied History Network is a group of PhD students and early career researchers committed to politically engaged history. We put on regular evening events in London which aim to apply an historical perspective to contemporary events and debates.

The event grew out of conversations started at the ‘what is radical history?’ conference at Birkbeck in March 2015. In an effort to carry on these important debates, we put on free events every two months in central London. We have events scheduled for 1 December 2015, February 2016, April 2016 and June 2016.


Image credit: Sixteen Year Olds Register- Teenagers Receive Their Adult Id Cards at the Labour Exchange, London, England, UK, 1945. Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer. Imperial War Museum Collections

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