The People’s River – Oral Histories

As part of The People's River project, people from the Many Hands Craft Collective and members of Collyhurst Big Local take us on a tour of their local area through photography, written statements and audio recordings. Inspired by the writings of Engels and working class history they introduce the history of landmarks including Ancoats, Angel Meadows and Collyhurst.

Anita Street

Anita Street in Ancoats by Ged and Elaine

Victoria Square

Victoria Square in Ancoats (Photo and text by Ged)

Angel Meadows

Angel Meadows was once described as ‘hell on earth’ in ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’ by Friedrich Engels. (Image by Sheila and text by Elaine.)

Angel Meadows

With these poor living conditions, huge death rates were recorded, and so the cemetery in the land adjacent to the local church (St. Michaels) very quickly became one of the largest in the city. (Images by Liz Long and words by Elaine)

The Old Tobacco Factory

I remember applying for a job here many years ago. It has since been redeveloped as apartments. It was one of the first to be regenerated in the area - so many of these old buildings are apartments now. (Image and text by Susan & Shiela)

Anxiety hidden in a quiet place

“I always find this corner of Angel Meadows very peaceful. It speaks of change in a place which historically was notorious for rough living conditions” (Text by Anne)

Green spaces...

Lovely to see local green urban spaces, but for how much longer will we have it? (Image by Susan, text by Sheila and Christine)

Too much is changing...

Beyond the leaves we see that too much is changing too fast (image by Susan, text by Sheila)

Manchester is red

My colour for Manchester is red because I “see red” when modern properties are being constructed which take the place of what originally was historic places of interest and areas where people could relax and take in nature. (Image and text by Ged)

Aspin Lane

‘The gateway between the city centre and the irk valley’ (Image by John Allan, text by Liz Wewiora)

Ragged School

The Ragged Schools provided school teaching, basic education, food and clothing to children who were too “ragged” to go to normal Sunday schools and / or church services. They served some of the poorest communities in Angel Meadows who worked in the local mills along the river irk. (Image by John Allan, text by Elaine)

Ragged School

The Ragged School building is now home to the ‘King of Kings School’, which was founded on the 22nd September 1986 by Dr and Mrs Lewis and several parents from various churches who had a vision for developing a Christian School in Manchester. (Image by Liz long, text by Elaine)

Highs and Lows of Miles Platting

“Highs and Lows of Miles Platting” - this image reflects old and new Miles Platting, from the 1960s high rises to the new buildings in the foreground, where I always see orange brick - the colour I now always associate with the area. (image and text by Christine)

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal is a lovely walkway, wish the local pub was still open - me and Sheila could pop in for a tipple (image by Sheila, and text by Christine)

Manchester's mini waterfalls

‘I feel peaceful here - Manchester’s mini waterfalls, the flowing water from our canal locks’ (Image and text by Anne)

Rochdale Canal Gasometre

The gasometre featured here in the distance was invented by William Gadd in 1890. Gadd of ‘Gadd & Mason’ of Manchester invented the spirally guided gas holder - where Instead of external columns or guide frames, his design operated with spiral rails. (Image and info by Anne)

Victoria Mill

I found out that victoria mill was built in two phases, 1869 and 1873, as a textile mill. It now houses a variety of things including NHS offices, apartments and even a GP Surgery. (Image and info by Anne)

St Georges Railings

Pupils from the local school, St. Georges designed iron work for this playground, a space which overlooks the historic Victoria Mill.

Stephen Hunt Street

This street was named after the fireman who tragically lost his life in the Paul’s Hair world fire in 2013. In the background we see one of so many for sale signs in this area - a sign of the times. (Image and text by Sheila)