January 2016 – New Year card, 1984

NMLH.1990.5.13 New Year Card (inside) @ People's History Museum

New Year card (cover), 1984New Year card (inside) @ People's History Museum









This card, depicting socialist leader Vladimir Lenin, was sent by Ivan Melenevsky, Chairman of The Museum of the World Communist and Working Class Movement in 1984.  The museum was located in Tashkent, formerly part of the USSR and now the capital of Uzbekistan.  The museum no longer exists.

The card wishes ‘a happy new year / for peace and friendship / for socialism and communism’ and includes a quote from Karl Marx.  The initials CPSU and CPGB stand for Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Communist Party of Great Britain.  The Labour History Archive & Study Centre at the People’s History Museum holds the archive of the Communist Party of Great Britain.  The archive includes the papers of R Palme Dutt, Editor of Labour Monthly, a magazine associated with CPGB.Letter to Ivan Melenevsky @ People's History Museum

Dutt wrote to Melenvsky in 1971 stating that he was proud that ‘any products of our magazine are included in the magnificent collection you have created for the Museum of History of the Communist Party of Great Britain’.  He looked forward ‘to the day when we in Britain shall be able to organise similar museums in commemoration of our comrades in the socialist countries’.  It can be assumed that Melenevsky was collecting material from a number of international communist parties.

The card was donated to the museum in 1987 as part of a collection of papers and photographs belonging to Jack Lythgoe.  Jack was a lifelong member of the labour movement in Warrington, the chair of the local branch of the National Union of General Municipal Workers and the Secretary of the Orford Ward Labour Party.

As Jack died in 1952, it is highly unlikely that the new year card was sent to him, however his granddaughter wrote that ‘all the family – three sons – one daughter (my mother) were involved also being members of various groups and clubs belonging to the Labour Party.  It was on a Youth Rambling Club outing that my own parents first met.  My grandparents were especially involved in the social side of the movement, believing that a club could be somewhere for the whole family to go to together’.

  • This Object of the Month is not currently on display in the museum, however you can make an appointment to visit our collections stores by contacting exhibitions@phm.org.uk.