2019 Banner Display Highlights

Banners to reflect key moments of protest in Greater Manchester and across Britain, from the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 to today.

By People's History Museum

GCHQ Banner (1992)People's History Museum

GCHQ banner, 1992

This banner commemorates 14 workers dismissed from Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) between 1988 and 1989. 

The government had banned their workers from being members of a trade union, however these workers refused to give up their membership.

The design lists their names coming out of a GCHQ satellite dish. The ban lasted 13 years.  It was one of the longest running trade union disputes in Britain.

What do our Conservators say?

‘Stickers on the front of banners is a common addition to modern banners; this one has been firmly stuck down but the fragile paper will still be vulnerable to touch.’    

Ilford W.S.P.U banner, 1903 (1903)People's History Museum

Ilford WSPU banner, 1903

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was founded in Manchester in 1903. The WSPU was a militant organisation campaigning for women’s suffrage - the right to vote. They were often called the ‘suffragettes’. There was a large and active branch of the WSPU. in Ilford, London.

The banner was made in the WSPU colours, purple for dignity, green for hope and white for purity, although these are now rather faded.

Did you know?

The WSPU had a famous motto: ‘deeds not words’.

Printers Demand Arms for Spain banner, 1936 (1936)People's History Museum

Printers Demand Arms for Spain banner, 1936

During the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) printers loyal to the Republican forces joined the fight against fascism. 

This banner highlights the support of British printers who campaigned for the British government to send arms to the Spanish Republicans. British trade unions also sent aid to Spain.

What do our Conservators say?

‘We are sometimes lucky enough to find personal evidence of the makers left on the banners. This one has small fingerprints in black paint visible in several areas.’

Kensington Young Communists Say Jobs Not Bombs banner, 1980s (1980s)People's History Museum

Kensington Young Communists Say Jobs Not Bombs banner, 1980s

The Young Communist League (YCL) was established in 1921 as the youth section of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Its members engaged in political activities to spread communist ideas.

‘Jobs not bombs’ was a slogan used by the CPGB in the 1980s to campaign against Britain’s nuclear weapons programme.

People’s March for Jobs banner, 1983 (1983)People's History Museum

People’s March for Jobs banner, 1983

This banner is from the second People’s March for Jobs which began on 23 April 1983 and took over 40 days. The march was in response to high unemployment across Britain.

The march was well attended, with 500 marchers representing a cross section of the unemployed. The march started in Glasgow, Scotland and North West England and ended on 5 June 1983 in Hyde Park, Central London with a rally attended by 15,000 to 20,000 people.

People’s March for Jobs banner, 1983 (1983)People's History Museum

Did you know?

The first People’s March for Jobs went from Liverpool to London in 1981 and took a month. Marchers slept in town halls, community centres and church halls along the route.    

Withington Against the Poll Tax banner, 1990 (1990)People's History Museum

Withington Against the Poll Tax banner, 1990

The Community Charge or ‘Poll Tax’ was introduced in 1990. It was one of the most unpopular policies of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. The tax was accused of moving expenses onto the poor whilst saving the rich money.

This banner was made by Ruth Abrahams in South Manchester, and was carried on 31 March 1990 at a demonstration attended by 70,000 people in Trafalgar Square, London.

Withington Against the Poll Tax banner, 1990 (1990)People's History Museum

Did you know?

Many people refused to pay the Poll Tax in 1990 including 70% of people in Manchester.    

Queer Resistance Against the Cuts banner, 2008 (2008)People's History Museum

Queer Resistance Against the Cuts banner, 2008

Queer Resistance is an LGBT+ collective that formed to protest against government cuts to public services and the welfare state.

This banner was used by Queer Resistance North West between 2008 and 2012 on numerous anti-austerity demonstrations, including a UK Uncut demonstration in Manchester in 2011. The banner was donated to the museum by Queer Resistance North West in 2016.

What do our Conservators say?

‘The modern fabrics used in this banner are very familiar to many of us but this often makes them more difficult for conservators to look after. They are very tempting to touch, however they will sustain damage just as fast as older materials, if not faster.’

Nothing About Us Without Us banner, 2015 (2015)People's History Museum

Nothing About Us Without Us banner, 2015

This banner was made by six learning disabled artists for an exhibition at the museum in 2015. The artists sent patches out to other disabled artists across Britain who drew and stitched their names onto them. The patches were stitched together to form this banner, by Venture Arts, a visual arts organisation based in Manchester.

The colours red and gold represent ambition and courage.

Did you know?

Disabled people often use the slogan ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ in their activism to communicate the idea that no decision should be decided by anyone without the involvement of members of the group affected by that decision.    

Greater Manchester Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) banner, 1980s (1980s)People's History Museum

Greater Manchester Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

This banner represents the Greater Manchester CND groups, including Altrincham, Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme, Marple, North Manchester, Pendleton, Royton, Sale and Wilmslow. 

Community CND groups were involved with making the squares. It was sewn together by banner makers Marjorie Burton and Doreen McCann.

What do our Conservators say?

‘As with many objects in a social history collection, dirt and damage from when this banner was used are some of the most fascinating features when telling its story.’    

Grunwick Strike Committee, Defend the Right to Strike banner, 1976 (1976)People's History Museum

Grunwick Strike Committee, Defend the Right to Strike banner

The Grunwick Strike Committee made this banner to protest against the poor working conditions and payat the Grunwick Film Processing Plant in North West London.
 
The dispute is remembered in particular as it was led by Jayaben Desai an east Asian migrant woman. Jayandi, an Indian worker at the plant, designed the banner. 

Did you know?

This was the first Grunwick Strike Committee banner to be made.  It is one of three Grunwick banners in the museum’s collection.

Amalgamated Society of Watermen & Lightermen, Greenwich Branch No 13. Cardinal Manning Lodge, banner 1890s (1890s)People's History Museum

Amalgamated Society of Watermen & Lightermen, Greenwich

The Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen was established in 1872.

The banner features an image of Cardinal Manning, a supporter of social reform. He appealed for unemployment relief and campaigned for decent housing for the poor. He also supported the right of workers to join trade unions and go on strike.  

Amalgamated Society of Watermen & Lightermen, Greenwich Branch No 13. Cardinal Manning Lodge, banner 1890s (1890s)People's History Museum

Did you know?

The Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen joined together with other unions in 1922 to form the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU).

Globalise Resistance Manchester banner, 2000s (March 2003)People's History Museum

Globalise Resistance Manchester banner, 2000s

Globalise Resistance is an international anti-capitalist campaign group who first came to public attention in 2001 when it carried out protests at a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Genoa, Italy. The G8 hold an annual meeting to discuss global issues like economic growth, energy and terrorism.

This banner is from the Manchester branch of Globalise Resistance and was probably used on the Stop the War Coalition protest held in Manchester on 8 March 2003. 

What do our Conservators say?

‘Modern banners often have innovative decorative techniques; this example has used craft bias binding ribbon to create a dramatic effect.’

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