Saturday 12 January 2008

Ruth Frow - a sad loss

I was sad to learn of the death of Ruth Frow, who along with her husband Eddie (who died in 1997, and had been an activist in the engineering industry) were part of the fabric of the Manchester labour movement for most of the 20th century.

One of their more recent achievements was to turn their enormous personal archives into the foundation of the Working Class Movement Library, which moved out of their house and expanded into bigger premises in 1987.

Part of the reason the WCML archives are so valuable is that the couple were activists who kept material from the campaigns they were involved in. The library is always keen to play the same function now, and appeals for materials from today's campaigns. What might seem mundane today could be of great interest to someone in years to come.

I'm sure others who knew her better will write more about Ruth's fascinating life and the contribution she made to our movement.


Anonymous said...

I am Ruth Frows’ niece.

As well as her work with my Uncle Eddie, Auntie Ruth was very much involved with family, never forgetting a birthday and always very pleased when she presented with great, and even great great nieces and nephews. She was always on hand to provide a helping hand or a listening ear.

Auntie Ruth spent this last Christmas with her brother and several members of the family. I know that she treasured that time immensely and enjoyed every minute.

All the family loved her.

Auntie Ruth was a wonderful person full of loving and giving, I will miss her most terribly.

Sarah Collinge

Anonymous said...

There are obituaries in the Manchester Evening News ( Socialist Worker (

Anonymous said...

Message from Manchester TUC:

A celebration of the life and work of Ruth Frow will take place on Saturday 5 April beginning promptly at 2pm. The venue will be Peel Hall, University of Salford which is situated on the university campus immediately opposite the Working Class Movement Library . It is easily accessible by public transport. More details will be published on the library website very soon.

Though greatly saddened by the loss of Ruth, the trustees, staff and volunteers are following the example set by her and Eddie and are continuing the library's work. The next events at the Working Class Movement Library are:

Sunday 17 February 2pm:
A talk by Sheila Rowbotham on Edward Carpenter, the pioneering socialist writer and poet who was openly gay.

Sunday 9 March 2pm:
A talk by Eleanor Lewington on her mother Ivy Woods, a remarkable campaigner and Co-operator

Anonymous said...

The Independent's obituary of Ruth Frow is here:

Anonymous said...

I knew Ruth through My Uncle Sid who was her neighbour.She helped us to look after him and was a very kind lady and nothing was too much trouble I am sure Stan another neighbour will miss her greatly.She was of great comfort and help when my Uncle died in 2002.I was very shocked to hear about her death as she was such an active lady.