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: Origami and the Anti-Nuclear Movement

August 3, 2015 - 0 Comments

Vera Mackie on the paper crane, and its development from Japanese folk practice to a symbol of anti-nuclear activism


Radical Objects: ‘Vote for Joe Soap’

Radical Objects: ‘Vote for Joe Soap’

April 8, 2015 - 2 Comments

Andrew Whitehead ponders the politics of a 1955 anarchist pamphlet which encouraged those going to the polls to ‘Vote for Joe Soap’


Radical Objects: MaThoko’s Post Box & the Birth of the Black LGBT Movement in South Africa

Radical Objects: MaThoko’s Post Box & the Birth of the Black LGBT Movement in South Africa

February 16, 2015 - 0 Comments

John Marnell on MaThoko’s old post box, which played an important role as a key communication node for the nascent LGBT movement in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s


Radical Objects: A Father’s Diary from the End of the War

Radical Objects: A Father’s Diary from the End of the War

January 19, 2015 - 0 Comments

In our first Radical Object for the year, HWJ editor Jane Caplan looks back seventy years to 1945, exploring a very personal family object from the year of her birth, a year marked by changing politics in Britain as the Second World War came to an end


Radical Recipes: Women, Work and Cornish Pasties

Radical Recipes: Women, Work and Cornish Pasties

December 8, 2014 - 1 Comment

Sarah Hiorns explains the forgotten histories behind her family’s written, typed, and laminated pasty recipe


Radical Objects: A Photo of Hiro Sumpter

Radical Objects: A Photo of Hiro Sumpter

November 17, 2014 - 0 Comments

Greenham and the Politics of Race and Ethnicity: A Photo of Hiro Sumpter by Ulrike Wöhr


Radical Objects: The Palestinian Tapestry: A People’s History

Radical Objects: The Palestinian Tapestry: A People’s History

October 20, 2014 - 9 Comments

The Palestinian History Tapestry aims to tell and preserve the story of the Palestinian people, their livelihoods and traditions, and their struggle under colonial rule and Israeli occupation


Radical Objects: The Bearded Man and the Bomb

September 15, 2014 - 1 Comment

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.


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


Radical Objects: The Common Man’s Gandhi Cap

April 17, 2014 - 1 Comment

The Indian election has seen a re-invention of the country’s most politically iconic headwear.


Radical Objects: The Black Fist Afro Comb

February 10, 2014 - 3 Comments

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


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


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


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

November 16, 2013 - 2 Comments

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


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


Radical Objects: ‘Topic Songbook’

July 11, 2013 - 8 Comments

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