It's very hard to put in a few words the contribution that Ruth and Eddie Frow made to working class history in Salford and beyond. Eddie was a veteran of protest dating back to the Battle of Bexley Square, while Ruth kept the only true archive of Friedrich Engels' time in the city, while everyone else was trying to airbrush him out.
Together the couple amassed books, pamphlets, badges, posters, banners and everything else related to the working class struggle for a better life; firstly in a collection that almost burst out of the windows at their home in Old Trafford, and then at a new centre at Jubilee House on the Crescent, titled the Working Class Movement Library – which is now recognised at one of the most important collections on working class history in the country.
It's now thirty years since the Library opened, and while Ruth and Eddie are no longer with us - Eddie died in 1997, Ruth died in 2008 - their lives and work are being celebrated in a special tribute event on 11th November.
The event is poignantly called 'The Point is To Change It...', a reference to the Karl Marx phrase from 1845 in his Theses on Feuerbach... "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."
The celebration will include a contribution on Eddie's role as an activist in the National Unemployed Workers' Movement in the 1930s; Ruth's role as teacher and activist in the peace movement of the 1950s; and the activities of the Young Communist League, as well as poems and songs. There will also be an opportunity for audience members to contribute their own memories.
Our own memory is of Ruth helping with the founding of the Salford Star, writing an article in the very first print issue about the Salford General Strike and allowing us access to her photos – and the only photos - of Engels' mill in Weaste being flattened for the M602.
"We thought it important to remember that our founders, Ruth and Eddie, were both political activists and historians" says Michael Herbert, a trustee of the WCML "They saw socialist politics and working class history as indivisible and believed that you could only create a better future by remembering and analysing the past."
'The Point is To Change It'...Remembering Ruth and Eddie Frow
Saturday 11th November 2pm free
Working Class Movement Library
Places are limited and advance booking is strongly suggested by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details on the Library see the website www.wcml.org.uk/
Update: 23rd October: The event has now sold out!
Ruth Frow photo by Steven Speed