Reflecting back on youth work: ‘social action’ in Manchester, 1963

Teenagers at the Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club, Manchester – thanks to University of Southampton Special Collections for the image

At a time when young people are protesting the disgraceful systematic downgrading of their A level results (once again affecting the prospects of working class and disadvantaged students in particular), we look back to 1963 to another piece of what might now be called ‘social action’, a film made by the young people of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade in Manchester on the social conditions in the city at that time:


Given that it was made by young people – all the people credited except editor and narrator were club members – the film itself is an amazing piece of social history.


Just as interesting, once you’ve watched the film, have a look at the comments further down the page. These comments, made in 2012 by people who were club members around the time the film was made, capture the long-term impact of this youth club on the young people of the north Manchester Jewish community and of the well-known leader Stanley Rowe – also a major figure in developing youth work trade unionism across the country.


Thanks to our steering group member Bernard Davies for sharing the film and its context. Bernard was a member of this club himself as a young person, and later a volunteer, before Stanley Rowe persuaded him to take a part-time youth work job in South Manchester.


Note: The image on this post is borrowed from the University of Southampton Special Collections blogpost by Sarah Mills, who reflects here on her archival research on the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade.

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