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Remembering the buildings of the British labour movement: an act of mourning

Mansfield, N and Trustram, M (2012) Remembering the buildings of the British labour movement: an act of mourning. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 19. ISSN 1352-7258


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This paper outlines the buildings of the British labour movement. Hitherto, labour activists, historians and heritage professionals have focused on the artefacts and archives as opposed to the many historic buildings of the labour movement. The narrative closely follows the course of the industrial revolution and the accompanying development of the labour movement from its beginnings in the eighteenth century. Examples cover a wide range including the artisan trade societies, Utopian Owenite settlements and purpose-built radical and trade union premises. The authors make a brief critique of the paper itself as an example of the intangible heritage of the labour movement. It concludes with a consideration of why these buildings are relatively neglected and suggests that the notion ‘don’t mourn, organise’ might contain some clues as to specific reasons for their neglect.

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