Radical Objects

Whether archival documents, pieces of material culture or ephemera, the historical object is at the heart of the historian’s work. Here, historians, archivists and activists unpack the stories of these very Radical Objects.

Radical Objects: The Bearded Man and the Bomb

September 15, 2014 - 0 Comments

This month in Radical Objects, HWO talked to Elena Carter, a project archivist at the Wellcome Library about her work on the Medact Archive, a collection of materials relating to anti-nuclear campaigning by medical practitioners. The work of Medact and its predecessor the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons helped shape public understandings of the dangers of nuclear weapons. It also drew the attention of some more mysterious characters.


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Radical Objects: The London Policeman Songsheet

May 6, 2014 - 1 Comment

The London Policeman songsheet, the Miner’s Strike and the Battle of Orgreave by Catherine Robins from the Working Class Movement Library


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Radical Objects: The Common Man’s Gandhi Cap

April 17, 2014 - 0 Comments

The current Indian election has seen a re-invention of the country’s most politically iconic headwear. The old Gandhi cap, a symbol of India’s non-violent pursuit of self-reliance and independence, has been revived – not, as Andrew Whitehead explains, by the Congress party with which Gandhi was once associated but by a new, insurgent political party


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Radical Objects: The Black Fist Afro Comb

February 10, 2014 - 1 Comment

Sally-Ann Ashton on the evocative symbol of the black fist Afro comb


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Radical Objects: April Ashley’s Birth Certificate & Birthday Card

February 1, 2014 - 1 Comment

The birth certificate and birthday card of transgender activist, actress and fashion model, April Ashley, whose life is celebrated in an exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool until 21 September 2014


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Radical Objects: Photo of Mewa Singh’s Funeral Procession 1915

December 19, 2013 - 3 Comments

Melanie Hardbattle on a discovery from the history of Asian immigration into Canada, made in the Special Collections and Rare Books department at Simon Fraser University Library


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Radical Objects: A Menu for Change – The South African Deputation to London, 1909

November 16, 2013 - 1 Comment

Radical Objects: A menu of a meal at the House of Commons in London in 1909, hosted by the Labour Party leader James Keir Hardie, with Labour MPs and a South African deputation led by W. P. Schreiner


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Radical Objects: General Will, Radical Theatre Company Memoirs

July 28, 2013 - 0 Comments

Jo Stanley from the Unfinished Histories project, writes on the contents of a piece of paper recording a moment in the history of alternative theatre


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Radical Objects: ‘Topic Songbook’

July 11, 2013 - 6 Comments

Alan Dein writes of his discovery of a ‘Topic Songbook’ from the 1950s, and its window into the Socialist century


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Radical Object: Casts of Joseph Arch’s Hands

July 4, 2013 - 2 Comments

An exploration of the plaster casts of the first labouring man to enter Parliament, and founder of the National Agricultural Labourer’s Union, Joseph Arch, written by Karen Sayer