Manchester Histories Festival
The Manchester Histories Festival is being held in Manchester Town Hall on March 21st 2009, 10am - 5pm.
This month sees the very first Manchester Histories Festival, an exploration of Manchester’s unique and fascinating past. The Festival is a one day public event in Manchester Town Hall. This impressive building, designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1875, will host exhibits, talks, walks and films all relating to Manchester - the original modern city.
The Festival aims to show that there are many stories woven through the city’s past. Stories which relate to the building of the city and to the communities within, and stories which stretch from Mamucium to Madchester. The festival will also highlight some of Manchester’s famous ‘firsts’ such as the world's first stored-program electronic digital computer, Britain’s first free public library, and the first professional permanent orchestra. There is so much scope for historical research in Manchester, and about Manchester, that the Festival is sure to provide inspiration for your own study.
Contributors to the Festival include the city’s museums, galleries, universities and libraries, many of which hold valuable archives on the histories of Manchester. The Manchester Museum will be telling us all about their local archaeological collections, while the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre will be providing exhibits on Manchester’s stories of migration. Also look out for more information about the John Rylands University Library, Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections, the Labour History Archives, and the Royal Northern College of Music.
In our learning section you will find further information on research from departments within the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and also the University of Salford. If you are interested in learning and outreach you can also explore how local schools have taken part through their own Manchester Histories projects.
Nine Hub Contributors are involved in the Festival. This month's special feature highlights how they are involved and includes links to their collections on the Hub and to their websites. There are also links to related websites and some suggested reading.
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, The University of Manchester
There will be a display for the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and the Centre is also involved in the 'Peopling of Manchester'. This will be in collaboration with the Jewish Museum and the Irish Heritage Centre. There will be displays with the themes: buildings, protest and people. The Steve Cohen Collection will be used as a basis for information for the protest display.
The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester
The John Rylands Library, Deansgate, houses some of the most significant books and manuscripts ever produced. The magnificent neo-gothic building in Manchester's city centre is a major visitor attraction as well as a research library of world renown. The collections include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts, examples of the earliest forms of European printing including the Gutenberg Bible, as well as the personal papers of distinguished historical figures including Elizabeth Gaskell, John Dalton and John Wesley.
Labour History Archive & Study Centre
The Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC) is the main specialist repository for research into the political wing of the labour movement. It is housed within the People's History Museum. It holds archives of working class organisations from the Chartists to New Labour, including the Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain. The collections provide an insight into the social, political and economic life of the last two centuries. At the Festival, they will be showcasing the exciting development of their new museum.
The Manchester Museum
Manchester Museum is involved in 'Digging Manchester'. As the repository for the finds from the excavations of Roman Manchester, Manchester Museum will be highlighting this part of its collection. It will also be displaying the work of the Museum's education department in the groundbreaking community archaeology project, "Dig Manchester", a successful partnership between the City of Manchester and the University.
Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections
MMU Special Collections will be highlighting a fascinating new exhibition which will be taking place in the Special Collections Gallery on the All Saints campus at the time of the Festival. The exhibition, called "Art School!", will feature a range of art-work created by students throughout the history of the Manchester School of Art. The oldest work will date from the 1840s whilst the most recent will come from some of the designers, artists and photographers who have been at the forefront of the contemporary Manchester and national creative scenes. The exhibition will also feature film and photography from the School of Art archive to give a glimpse into the changing and unchanging life and times of art students at one Britain's oldest and most important art schools.
MMU Special Collections will also be displaying material about their other collections of books, archives and fine and decorative art and about the work they do and access to the collections as well as selling some of their past and recent publications.
National Co-operative Archive
The National Co-operative Archive will focus on the beginnings of the modern co-operative movement in Rochdale and follow its development into the city of Manchester, home of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and Co-operative Union. Using examples from the Co-operative Press photographic collection, the display will show examples of stores, factories and other co-op buildings in Manchester as well as in Rochdale.
Royal Northern College of Music Archives
The Royal Northern College of Music's history dates back to 1893. Charles Hallé, founder of Britain's first professional orchestra, had long stressed the need for a conservatoire in Manchester, arguing that local talent could and should be trained properly locally. The College has an important place in Manchester's musical and social history, which will be demonstrated in the display.
The University of Salford
Dr CP Lee of the University of Salford presents an illustrated history of the Mancunian Film Studio, home to such stars as George Formby, Norman Evans, Tessie O’Shea and Frank Randle. Learn how Hollywood came to Rusholme!
The University of Salford Archives and Collections relating to the history of Greater Manchester are:
- Duke of Bridgewater: The Bridgewater Canal has a special place in British history as the first canal to be built without following an existing watercourse. Perhaps more importantly it was used as a model for those that followed it. It revolutionised transport in this country and marked the beginning of the golden canal era.
- Bridgewater Estates: This collection provides a wealth of information on local social and economic history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
- Walter Greenwood: Greenwood is a local author and this collection is an invaluable resource for the study of working class and regional writers
- Stanley Houghton: Houghton was a leading figure in the 'Manchester School' of playwrights that flourished before the First World War. This collection is of particular interest since it contains a number of Houghton's works which have never been published.
The Wellcome Trust supports Manchester Histories Festival. The Festival has facilitated school outreach projects on the history of science and medicine and which relate to the work of the Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust seek to improve understanding of the ways science and medicine have developed, and how research affects people and society today.
Photo of Manchester's skyline. Public domain image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.
With thanks to Mari Lowe from the Manchester Histories Festival and to all of our contributors for their input.
Collections of Hub contributors involved in the Manchester Histories Festival. You will also find links to their websites in our contributors section.
- Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, the University of Manchester
- The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester
- Labour History Archive & Study Centre
- The Manchester Museum
- MMU Special Collections
- National Co-operative Archive
- Royal Northern College of Music Archives and Special Collections
- University of Salford, Archives and Special Collections
- Wellcome Library
- Manchester Histories Festival. Further details about what activities have been organised for the Festival.
- BBC North West Regional News and Documentary Film 1966-1986: Preservation and Research Access. The North West Film Archive’s collection of BBC television programmes made for broadcast in the North West of England between August 1973 - May 1986.
- Manchester Archives and Local Studies gives information about the work of the City Archives and Local Studies Library. Basic information for anyone wishing to use the archives is available from the site. Brief guides to the collections are available. A detailed guide to the business archive has been created as has a guide to family history.
- Manchester Centre for Regional History provides information on research carried out by a wide range of scholars working on the economic and social history of Manchester and the north west of England within this research institution based at Manchester Metropolitan University.
- Manchester Museums Unwrapped is an online database of the collections available at five of Manchester's museums.
- People's History Museum is the national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation, and study of material relating to the history of working people in Britain.
Links are provided to records on Copac for these items.The Copac library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library. For more information about accessing items see the FAQs on the Copac website.
- Art and architecture in Victorian Manchester : ten illustrations of patronage and practice edited by John H. G. Archer (1986) Records on Copac
- The city of Manchester and how it is managed, 1938: a record of municipal activity, with a brief history of the city, information on the city's industry and commerce, and a visitors' guide (1938) Records on Copac
- The history of Manchester by John Reilly (1861) Records on Copac
- Manchester: a history by Alan J.Kidd & Ian Beesley (2006) Records on Copac
- Manchester: a short history of its development by W. H. Shercliff (1983) Records on Copac
- Manchester: an architectural history by John J. Parkinson-Bailey (2000) Records on Copac
- Manchester: the hidden history by Michael Nevell (c2008) Records on Copac
- Manchester, its history: from Roman camp to foremost city by Jesse Broad and Company (1926) Records on Copac
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