Songs from the museum

songs-from-museum-1A special concert will take place in a Manchester museum in December featuring original songs inspired by the museum’s collections. For the past 9 months singer songwriter Matt Hill, who performs as Quiet Loner, has been songwriter in residence at the People’s History Museum. The concert on December 8th , will celebrate the launch of a free download album called ‘Battle for the Ballot’

Hill, whose work as ‘Quiet Loner’ has garnered rave reviews and a Glastonbury appearance, was appointed ‘Songwriter in Residence’ at the museum earlier this year, with the support of Arts Council England. His first task was to create songs inspired by the museum’s Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Voting for Change Project’, which highlights the story of the vote and how the democratic process evolved from the build-up to the Peterloo protest in 1819 to the lowering of the voting age in 1969.

This new work evolved into a live performance of 10 songs charting the fight for the right to vote entitled ‘Battle for the Ballot’, which was performed to critical acclaim at the museum for Manchester Histories Festival in June, before touring around the country. The collection of songs has now been recorded and will be released as a complete album available for download from on 8 December 2016.

Matt Hill, AKA Quiet Loner comments, “As a songwriter, I’m interested in human emotion and people’s stories. The museum is crammed with such tales, which makes it a very inspiring place for a writer. I was immediately drawn to the story of the vote. The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy yet it’s less than a hundred years old. In recent years voter turnout at elections has dropped so I think it’s good to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made so that we all have a vote”

Catherine O’Donnell from the People’s History Museum adds, “Our museum tells the story of ideas worth fighting for and our ‘voting for change’ project is highlighting how ordinary people won the vote, so this is a story we’re keen to tell. We have a strong track record of working with artists to help bring these stories to life, so having a songwriter-in-residence is a natural extension of that. Taking these songs on tour has been a fantastic way to reach out to new audiences with our collection.”

The December concert will see Hill joined by singer Tracey Browne and musician brothers Mike and Dave Harries. As well as songs from the Battle for the Ballot the concert will debut new material inspired by items relating to the Match Girls strike of 1884 and the creation of the welfare state in 1945.

Admission is by donation and booking is advised. Book tickets at


  • The story of the residency is also being recorded in a regular blog, which can be explored at
  • To see a video created at the first performance of Battle for the Ballot at the People’s History Musum visit
  • Quiet Loner’s music is inspired by the storytelling traditions of American folk and country music but with a distinctly British lyrical bite. His third album ‘Greedy Magicians’ was both personal and political and led to his being invited by Billy Bragg to perform on the leftfield stage at the 2013 Glastonbury Festival. 
  • Audience praise for ‘Battle of the Ballot’
    “A triumph from start to finish. Ten excellent, interesting, beautiful, humane songs. When it got to the end I went to cheer but I was too choked to speak. People were in tears.”
    “Awesome, moving, inspiring and educational. Should be required in every school in the land.”
    “Absolutely brilliant. I was captivated by the personal stories and emotions portrayed in the lyrics. Moved me to tears in parts.”
  • About People’s History Museum
    People’s History Museum is a national museum telling the story of the development of democracy in Britain – ‘there have always been ideas worth fighting for’. The museum is based in Spinningfields in Manchester city centre. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is one of the museum’s main funders. People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER
    Tel/fax 0161 838 9190 Web Twitter @PHMMcr Facebook PHMMcr Blog PHMMcrPrint