The People’s River was a community-led project delivered by Manchester Histories who collaborated with people who live and work along the River Irk in North Manchester. The project aimed to reveal and share the often hidden histories and stories of people’s heritage in a creative way.
The project is inspired by and designed to commemorate the bicentenary of Friedrich Engels’ birth and his connection to the industrial river. Engels, a German socialist philosopher, wrote about the River Irk in his 1845 essay ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’, based on his experiences in Manchester.
During Covid-19, Artist and Photographer Liz Wewiora worked with groups from Many Hands Craft Collective and members of Collyhurst Big Local, employees of HMG Paints Ltd, walking groups from the No. 93 Wellbeing Centre and the Friends of Angel Meadow. Through online and individual socially distanced workshops they have walked, explored and shared stories about the hidden histories of the Irk Valley.
The People's River project is coordinated in partnership with the organisation Wupperverband in the city of Wuppertal, Engels’ birthplace in Germany, as part of their celebration of Engels’ birth (‘Engels 2020’).
The project has been funded by Manchester City Council through their Neighbourhood Investment Fund and Economic Regeneration Fund.
Top image - various photographs from the HMG Paints Ltd archive and documentary photographs of the site today by Liz Wewiora.
Second row of images left to right - Collection of Photographs by Many Hands Craft Collective, an excerpt of a poem by Hannah from the Friends of Angel Meadow, Collection of Photographs by Liz from the Friends of Angel Meadows.
Third image - Collection of Cyanotypes created by the walking groups at No. 93 Wellbeing Centre in Harpurhey.
Fourth image - Photograph taken by the Many Hands Craft Collective and Members of the Collyhurst Big Local.
Bottom image - The People's River project graphics by Imagine CGA: Graphic Design Studio