When Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn came to Salford Precinct last year to launch his election campaign, he said that "If I was asked to give a present to any Tory Minister I think I would give them a copy of Love On The Dole by Walter Greenwood, which was about what life was like in the 1930s..."*
The fact that the Walter Greenwood novel, set in Hanky Park, is still being referenced in today's austerity driven UK shows the relevance that's still resonating from its pages.
This week marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of classic Salford novel, and 115 years since its author was born. To celebrate the occasion, the Working Class Movement Library is holding a free event in the afternoon of Wednesday 10th October titled, Not Just Love On The Dole: Walter Greenwood and Working Class Writing.
Beginning at 1pm, there's six academic talks relating to Greenwood. The first session (1pm-2:30pm) features Dr Jack Windle (Independent academic researcher) speaking on 'Love On The Dole and its reception since the 1930s'; Dr Phil O'Brien (University of Manchester) speaking about 'After Love On The Dole: class conflict in Walter Greenwood's His Worship the Mayor' and Dr Benjamin Kohlmann (University of Freiburg) speaking on 'Proletarian modernism: Sommerfield, Barke and Greenwood'...
This is followed (3pm-4.30pm), after a probably much needed tea break, by a further session with three more speakers, beginning with Dr Claire Warden (Loughborough University) on 'Ugliness and beauty: the politics of landscape in Walter Greenwood's Love On The Dole'; Dr Natasha Periyan (Goldsmiths, University of London) on 'Writers of the old school' and Professor Chris Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University) on 'Love On The Dole's lost sibling: Walter Greenwood and Arthur Wragg's The cleft stick'...
After these sessions, all with Q&As, the last speaker, Chris Hopkins, is legging off to the University of Salford's new Clifford Whitworth Library to launch his freshly published book, Love On The Dole; Novel, Play, Film, which delves into huge detail about the novel that became a play and then a film, with censors reluctant to originally allow it to be screened as it showed "too much of the tragic and sordid side of poverty".
Hopkins book looks at Love On The Dole in the context of the 1930s depression in which it was set, and the political objectives and connotations of the work. Greenwood himself was a Salford Labour Party candidate for the St Matthias Ward in 1934 (The Working Class Movement Library has an actual copy of his election leaflet as well as many other artefacts).
Hopkins documents the changes between the scripts of the original novel, the play – which was actually two different performed versions - and the film in intimate vast detail, sprawling over almost three hundred pages, noting the reaction of critics and giving loads of insights based on his own substantial research. It's the first book-length appraisal of Greenwood's novel ever published.
For anyone who is either studying the book or who should be studying the book, like the Tory Cabinet, Hopkins' book is a godsend. The professor doesn't shy away from the politics or the people that inhabit probably Salford's greatest novel.
Not Just Love On The Dole: Walter Greenwood and Working Class Writing
Wednesday 10th October 1pm-4:30pm
Working Class Movement Library, free
For further details see the WCML website – click here
Book Launch: Chris Hopkins: Love On The Dole; Novel Play Film
Wednesday 10th October 5pm
Clifford Whitworth Library, University of Salford
Chris Hopkins: Love On The Dole; Novel Play (Liverpool University Press) is out now priced £90, yep £90! Get your local library to stock it (and go bust!) – click here
* To read the full text of Jeremy Corbyn's Salford speech see previous Salford Star article - click here