Mancunian Cotton Workers and the American Civil War, by Erin Kilker

160 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln sent a letter to the ‘working men of Manchester’, acknowledging their ‘sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country’. These words are now memorialised at the foot of the Lincoln statue, sculpted by George Grey Bernard, which stands in recently-remodelled Lincoln Square just off Deansgate. The historic link between Manchester and the American North is lesser known, but was a hugely significant moment in the US Civil War.

Women-led Strikes: The Matchgirls’ Strike, by Chloe Gordon

It’s 6:30 am, and you’ve just arrived at the Bryant & May match factory in the East End of London for a long fourteen-hour shift of dangerous, monotonous work, ending the day with measly wages of just 1 shilling and 9 pence per 100 boxes of matches you wrap. Not only this but ridiculous fines could be imposed on you, such as 6 pence for dropping a tray of matches or 5 pence for being late. You could even be fined for having dirty feet, which was quite possible considering many workers were too poor to afford shoes.