People’s History Museum
If you’re fascinated by the past and have an hour or two to spare, you could do a lot worse than pop into the People’s History Museum in Spinningfields, Manchester.
The former Edwardian pumping station houses an intriguing collection of memories and material from the history of working people in the UK. It tells the story of democracy in Great Britain, focusing on every aspect of working life and leisure.
All the great milestones are covered – from Peterloo to popular TV, from the friendly societies to football. It really is a kaleidoscope of the past 200 years, mixing and blending artefacts, displays, video and multi-media to great effect.
There’s even a great coffee bar too so you can balance the culture with a little reward when the time is right.
Favourite gallery for me was the one that dealt with most recent history – probably because I remember most of it! Election posters from the 1970s rub shoulders with vivid trade union banners, and Spitting Image puppets of Thatcher and Blair leer out at you as you remember the Poll Tax protests and the miners’ strike. The exhibits bring it all back.
Talking of social history, there are some great images from the 1950s and 1960s in our latest double-page spread in Thursday’s Manchester Evening News. Particularly striking is the picture of the new underpass just opened under the runway at Ringwood Airport. The year was 1969 and there’s hardly a car in sight! The photo looks quiet and eerie – pristine concrete and not a sniff of a traffic jam!
Some of the other photos are memorable too. There weren’t so many cars about, but circus animals on the road were a common sight! Take a look at the Bertram Mills elephants being led from Central Station to Platt Fields in September 1952. They’re wearing road safety slogans though, so that’s ok!
There are soldiers from the Manchester regiment returning from their first annual camp in North Wales – bronzed and proud – and students protesting over the Suez crisis in 1956. Street life in Manchester 1950s-style!Social history plays a big part in the new book iNostalgia are publishing next week – most exciting! There are more than 260 images mainly from the archive of the M.E.N. with insightful and entertaining commentary from author Clive Hardy. It’s a superb read – and a great Christmas present for a mere £19.99. Seriously, if you have a passion for Manchester then this is the book for you. Definitely one for every Manchester coffee table!
So there’s two great recommendations from me – Around Manchester in the 1950s and the People’s History Museum. And now the icing on the cake! Why not combine the two by getting along to the museum for the book’s launch on Thursday December 8th between 4.00pm and 7.00pm. Clive will be there signing copies and there’ll be a guest speaker too. Rumour has it that some Christmassy mulled wine may also be on offer.
My verdict: It’s just too good to miss!
See you there!