Invisible Histories from World War One

Souvenir booklet about the work of the Hyde Group of the No-Conscription Fellowship, c.1919.
Souvenir booklet about the work of the Hyde Group of the No-Conscription Fellowship, c.1919.

Heritage Grants

Salford, North West
Working Class Movement Library
£9800
Inspired by the Working Class Movement’s Library’s extensive peace collections, volunteers are putting together an exhibition focusing on Conscientious Objectors in the First World War, as well as the peace efforts of women from late 1915 to 1916.

The Working Class Movement Library holds the papers of the Hyde Group of the No-Conscription Fellowship, which supported and campaigned for men who objected to fighting. The papers show how the group campaigned against the Military Service Act, which was first introduced in January 1916, and how a number of women were involved. The Library also holds the full run of The Tribunal – the No-Conscription Fellowship’s weekly newspaper.

Using these collections, volunteers are working with library staff and a graphic designer to create a portable exhibition, to be shown at the library for six months, and then to tour to a number of local venues. There are opportunities for new volunteers to get involved in this, with a full induction programme, as well as informal training.

The exhibition is supported by a Living Histories performance, which is being developed by a script writer, to be performed six times at the library and at eight local secondary schools. Learning resources are being created in collaboration with volunteers, a professional designer and an education consultant. These will be targeted at Key Stage 3, and available for any schools to download and tailor.

Library Manager, Lynette Cawthra, says: "The Library is in Salford and we have unearthed some powerful stories about local conscientious objectors."

One, James Hindle Hudson who was a geography teacher at the Salford Secondary School for Boys, stated at his trial “Though the law may deem me to be a soldier, no power on earth, military or other, can make me into a soldier."

Find out more about Invisible Histories from World War One from the Working Class Movement Library. 

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