Two hundred years of British democracy are chronicled in this fascinating museum, which benefited greatly from development work in 2010
Thanks to a £12.5 million redevelopment of an existing, smaller museum, the People's History Museum re-opened in 2010 as a centre worthy of the important legacy that it houses; the 200 year-old story of British democracy.
It grew out of the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative History Society, which started archiving and collecting as far back as the 1970s. The collection relates to the history of working people in Britain, but what exactly is in there?
Well, the largest body of political material anywhere in Britain, is what. Much of this is made up of objects and print devoted to the fight for the vote, ranging from early nineteenth century demands for the vote for ordinary people, through to the suffragette movement. Alongside, the complete holdings of both the Labour and Communist parties of Great Britain are held here, plus significant representation of the Liberal and Conservative parties as well.
If it does sound worthy and dull, it really isn't. It's a fascinating opportunity to explore politics and reform in a way that isn't heavy-handed, and curators make sure that exhibitions both temporary and permanent enlighten and excite. With themes such as War and the Working Class 1914-1918, these temporary exhibits provide an opportunity to bring aspects of the extensive archive together to tell a more specific story.
The building itself is a beauty, light, airy and welcoming, combining the old and the new, and the lovely Left Bank café bar is a great spot for lunch or a coffee.
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