All entries for August 2010

August 26, 2010

Coalition catechism

Handbill attacking Lloyd George

Labour Party handbill attacking David Lloyd George’s coalition government

The formation of a coalition government in May 2010 was a rare but not unprecedented event in British history since 1900.  And criticism of such arrangements from those not involved in them is nothing new either.

Lloyd-George's coalition was similar to the current one in that the Conservatives were easily the largest party, but it differed in that the leader and main driving force was a Liberal.  This handbill is an attempt to show the hollowness of his pledge during the 1918 general election campaign to make Britain a land “fit for heroes to live in”.   It is a litany of alleged broken promises and hypocrisy, including an accusation that ministers were not practising what they preached on the need for national economy.   The coalition had been swept back into power following its successful conduct of World War I,  but in peacetime the differences between the two parties, as well as the actions and personality of Lloyd George himself, led to the Conservatives leaving the coalition in 1922. 

From the papers in the Modern Records Centre of Reg Groves (1908-1988), journalist and socialist.  Document reference MSS.172/LA/1/8 (link to on-line catalogue).

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image

August 19, 2010

When Saturday Comes…

Writing about web page

Liverpool FCNow that football has resumed after its lengthy summer break, this is perhaps a good opportunity to look back to previous seasons and see how the game and its place in society have altered.

This photo shows the Liverpool FC first team in the pub, brandishing pints, the day before the 1966 Merseyside derby (they beat a presumably less well fortified Everton 5-1). The shot was used as part of an advertising campaign by the Brewers' Society, featuring celebrities from the worlds of sport, film, television and literature.

Other images relating to 125 years of football are in our online exhibition '125 Years of the Beautiful Game: Football, Politics and Society', including top-end football kit from 1884, impressive footballing moustaches, and early debates over the morality of player transfers and the merits of fan-ownership.

August 12, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the UKFC

Writing about web page

Cinema vanClint Eastwood's recent appeal to the British Government to save the UK Film Council allowed the nation's sub-editors to dust off its Dirty Harry / spaghetti western puns, and served as another reminder of the close but often troubled relationship between the British film industry and government.

In the 1920's and 1930's all political parties saw the new medium of cinema as way of reaching out to a mass audience, the majority of whom would have had no access to other broadcast media. This image shows a small audience investigating the 'Touring Talkie Daylight Cinema Saloon', a converted van which toured the country and broadcast short topical films promoting the Labour Party. The Conservatives had a rival 'Touring Conservative Unionist Cinema'.

The Modern Record's Centre's online exhibition on ''The Power of the Cinema': Film in the 1920s and 1930s' also includes a 1932 memorandum to the government from the CBI and TUC on the importance of the British film industry - concern is expressed over "the menace of Americanisation by means of the film", and the perceived threat from Hollywood imports to Britain's financial interests, "English speech, customs, and cultural standards".

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image.

August 05, 2010

Little Horrors

Adventure playground photo“I don’t mind the noise and I don’t think it is an eyesore”

With the school summer holidays now in full swing, parents are again faced with the annual challenge of keeping their children occupied during what must sometimes seem like an eternity until September.  In 1955 this need was met in Crawley (Sussex) by the opening of an adventure playground. This view of children busily engaged on construction work is from a booklet issued to mark the playground's first year of operation, in which the above comment by a tolerant neighbour appears.

The booklet (reference MSS.121/AP/3/11/2) is one of many records relating to adventure playgrounds in the papers of Marjory Allen, Lady Allen of Hurtwood,  landscape architect, campaigner for pre-school education, and promoter of child welfare.  The establishment of such playgrounds was a reaction against the constraints of the typical municipal playground with its swings and its asphalt.  The diary of the Crawley playground's leader, which also features in this booklet, shows that the local children relished the hammering, the digging and the bonfires, but maybe a modern health and safety inspector would take a different view.

This document features in an on-line version of Charity begins at Home, an exhibition staged at the Modern Records Centre for a workshop organised by the Economic History Society and the Voluntary Action History Society on 27 March 2010.  The items were chosen to illustrate some of the research interests of those attending.

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image.

August 2010

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