Buildings of the Labour Movement
    Buildings of the Labour Movement large image 1
        Paperback / softback

        Publication Date

        15 Jul 2013


        This richly illustrated book focuses on the built culture of the labour movement, largely constructed or funded by workers themselves, whose history and background has until now been largely ignored or forgotten.

        Main Summary

          This fascinating survey ranges from the communal buildings of the early 19th-century political radicals, Owenites and Chartists, through Arts and Crafts influenced socialist structures of the late Victorian and Edwardian period to the grand union ‘castles’ of the mid twentieth century. 

          There are also chapters on the ubiquitous co-operative architecture, long forgotten socialist holiday camps, and those memorials associated with the hidden story of radical ex-servicemen and their remembrance of war dead. The countryside is also not forgotten with rural labour buildings, as well as the clubhouses of idealistic socialist cyclists. The book though is not just about bricks and mortar but uncovers the social history of the men and women who worked so hard locally to achieve their goals.

          Though many buildings have been lost over the years, the book outlines the recent struggle for their preservation and details many which can still be visited.

          Additional Information


          Nick Mansfield

          Author Information

          Nick Mansfield is Senior Research Fellow in History, University of Central Lancashire

          Publishing Status




          Number of Illustrations


          Number of Pages





            Foreword by Tony Benn



            1. Introduction

            2. Trade Societies

            3. Nonconformity

            4. Radicalism

            5. Owenism

            6. Chartism

            7. Co-operation

            8. Trade Unions

            9. Mechanics Institutes and Education

            10. Socialism

            11. The Clarion movement

            12. The Labour Party

            13. The rural labour movement

            14. Ex-servicemen and the commemoration of war

            15. Holidays and leisure

            16. Buildings associated with key events

            17. Decline and demolition

            18. Preservation and interpretation

            19. Sites to visit


              Yet, thankfully, Mansfield's new book captures the remarkable history of those lost buildings and, in so doing, opens up a series of characteristically learned and sympathetic insights into the history of socialism. As the former director of The Peoples' History Museum and one of Britain's finest social historians, Mansfield is a superb guide to this otherwise abandoned field of architectural and labour history.
              Tristram Hunt
              Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, Volume 59 (2015)
              ... little has so far been written directly about the subject, and for this reason alone this book is very welcome.
              Cynthia Brown
              Family & Community History, Vol 17/1
              Nick Mansfield's book is a welcome and important development in the study of the built environment used by the people of the labour and radical movements. With the publication of this significant volume it is hoped a neglected area of research and publication will receive much wider attention. Highly recommended.
              Bob Hayes
              North West Labour History Journal
              Buildings of the Labour Movement has a plethora of excellent photos, and some equally interesting written snapshots to support them. ... One thing is certain; this book provides both a visual treat and some equally important historical nuggets. Its insights are informative and form an important addition to the history of the Labour Movement.
              Dave Putson
              Problems of NATO edited by Tony Simpson, The Spokesman, 124
              'well-written and beautifully illustrated'
              ... a much needed and very welcome addition to the literature of the labour movement. Whilst the book is essential for its wonderful and evocative collection of photographs, it is much more than a picture book ... ... This book is a delight to browse through as well as to read, and Mansfield is to be congratulated in writing it and English Heritage for publishing such an important text.
              Eddie Cass
              Manchester Region History Review