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.
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.
The London Policeman songsheet, the Miner’s Strike and the Battle of Orgreave by Catherine Robins from the Working Class Movement Library
The 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
Sally-Ann Ashton on the evocative symbol of the black fist Afro comb
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
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
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
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
Alan Dein writes of his discovery of a ‘Topic Songbook’ from the 1950s, and its window into the Socialist century
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