Year 12 History students visit the People's History Museum

Year 12 History students visit the People's History Museum

On Thursday, Year 12 History students travelled to Manchester to visit the People's History Museum in Spinningfields.

The main purpose of the visit was to see, at close range, a small part of the Museum's vast archive.

Our particular interest was British reactions to the Russian Revolution, a century ago. Modern Russian history forms the basis of the A-Level coursework which the students will be researching and preparing over the next few months.

The visit to the archive gave them the chance to handle some fascinating original documents written by British citizens who witnessed the early stages of the Russian Revolution at first hand.

These included cabinet minister and leader of the Labour Party Arthur Henderson, whose handwritten reports from Petrograd are preserved and the eyewitness account of the colonel commanding the British forces sent to assist the supporters of the Tsar.

It became clear that people from different ends of the political spectrum waged a 'pamphlet war', with some praising the achievements of the revolutionaries in introducing a fairer society, while others condemned their brutality and the sufferings they had inflicted on the Russian people.

Each claimed to be telling the 'Plain Truth' against the lies of their political opponents. All of this had much resonance in the age of 'fake news' and gave the students a valuable insight into the identification of propaganda and bias which will be useful to them when writing their coursework essays.

After the archive visit, we toured the museum itself , which has a fascinating collection devoted to the struggle for political rights for ordinary people.

These include relics of the 1819 'Peterloo Massacre' in Manchester and the struggle to gain the vote for women a century ago.