The Workers' Institute
The Workers’ Institute, originally from Cradley Heath, stands as a landmark to one of the most significant yet hidden achievements of British labour history. The interior of the Workers' Institute is set in 1935 and the ground floor houses the union offices along with the auditorium where trade union meetings would have taken place in the 1930s.
Upstairs is a memorial exhibition to Mary Macarthur – one of Britain’s greatest union leaders – marking the 25th anniversary of the 1910 chainmakers’ strike. Modern interpretation boards with computer screens tell Mary Macarthur’s life story including standing as the first Labour Party candidate for Stourbridge in 1918.
The 300-seater auditorium hosts costumed performances, living history theatre, education and entertainment activities.
To help you make the most of your visit you can download an exhibit information sheet. These are especially useful for customers who may have hearing impediments.
Download here: Cradley Heath Workers’ Institute (PDF 876kB)
The Workers’ Institute is one of the most recent buildings to be reconstructed on the Museum site. As with other exhibits at the Museum, interpretation is provided by guides and demonstrators on the day of your visit. However, the story of the Institute spreads far beyond Cradley Heath, where it stood originally. The impact of the successful women chainmakers’ strike of 1910, which led to the Institute being built, had an impact that was felt throughout Britain. Additional resources can be downloaded from this page, and are intended to support an in depth study of the subject.
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