Made by Labour

A Material and Visual History of British Labour, c. 1780-1924

Author(s) Nick Mansfield,Martin Wright

Language: English

Genre(s): Politics

  • June 2023 · 360 pages ·246x189mm

  • · Hardback - 9781837720064
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837720071
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837720088

About The Book

This is the first full-length study of the material and visual culture of the British labour movement in almost half a century. It draws together the fruits of recent research into a comprehensive material and visual analysis of the nineteenth-century labour movement’s development. It analyses the meaning of ‘labour things’, the role they played in the lives of working people and the ways they have influenced the writing of labour history. Over ninety beautifully illustrated, expertly contextualised objects are used to narrate the history of British labour in its most crucial phase of development. Chapters on curation and preservation, a directory of museums where labour things may be seen, and a full bibliography complete the treatment of this important and rapidly developing field, making the book not just essential academic reading but a handbook for anyone who wishes to explore this vital part of our shared culture.


‘Drawing on a wide range of artefacts, Mansfield and Wright provide a fresh approach to British labour history. The large number of beautiful illustrations are a pleasure to view, accompanied by astute assessments of each item. Much was new to me. Very enjoyable and enlightening.’
Emeritus Professor Chris Wrigley, Nottingham University

‘This compilation of objects and images provides a rare and invaluable multi-dimensional view of the politics and culture of the British labour movement – from its roots in the eighteenth century to the moment of its ascendancy in 1922 – while also reminding us of the continuing power and significance of historical artefacts.‘

Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, Vice-President of Llafur: The Welsh People’s History Society


Foreword by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
List of images
1 Understanding labour things
2 Images and objects
3 Preservation, collections, curation and conservation
4 Directory of places that have nineteenth- century labour and working- class objects
Select bibliography

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Nick Mansfield

Nick Mansfield is Professor of History at UCLan in Preston. He has published widely on working class history and spent thirty years working in museums.

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Author(s): Martin Wright

Martin Wright is Lecturer in History at Cardiff University. He is also chair of Llafur, the Welsh People’s History Society.

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