Bigger than ever before Manchester Histories Festival is returning next month in a week long festival offering music, film, debate, talks by renowned historians, performance, walking tours and exhibitions.

The festival which began back in 2009 aims to both celebrate the familiar and reveal the new and hidden histories from across Greater Manchester.

Running across Greater Manchester, the programme includes one hundred and sixty events and activities, the majority of them free.

Amongst the highlights is ‘Thank you’ a spectacular two-mile laser beam artwork that will pay tribute to Manchester icon Alan Turing.Peterloo 2019: A Discussion with writer, broadcaster and DJ Dave Haslam.Manchester: a personal history with TV historian Michael Wood; Mercury Music Prize nominated musician and creator of Moss Side Story Barry Adamson in conversation, tours of the soon to re-open Manchester Central Library, Remembering Strawberry Studios Oral Histories Project, and Belle Vue: Showground of the World, a project that will include a major new exhibition that remembers and celebrates Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Gorton, Manchester.

“The number and diversity of events in this year’s festival demonstrates how important the histories and heritage of Greater Manchester are to its people, and we’re delighted to be working with a number of new partners this year.” States Claire Turner, Festival Director. “We hope that it inspires people to find out more about the unique and fascinating histories of the city region.”

Here is a brief glimpse of what we can expect. For full details check out the Festival site

Belle Vue: Showground of the World Exhibition MHF delivers a unique new exhibition in partnership with the National Fairground, University of Sheffield, curated by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Jane Donaldson and Andrew Moore.

Founded by John Jennison in 1836 Belle Vue grew to an unbelievable size. Including a zoo, fair, circus, three ballrooms, the King’s Hall exhibition area, two lakes, a speedway track, dog racing and outdoor dancing, Belle Vue saw famous names such as The Rolling Stones, Jonny Cash, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Mohammed Ali, Pele, Gracie Fields, Louis Armstrong, Big Daddy, all perform or work at the complex. At its heyday it saw up to two million visitors a year through its doors.

Objects on display in the exhibition will include; legendary British and World Champion Speedway rider Peter Craven’s (1934 -1963) leathers, a motorbike ridden by British, European and World Champion Speedway rider Peter Collins, a pair of shoes belonging to Britain’s best-loved clown, Jacko Fossett (1922-2004) and the incredibly lifelike statue of ‘The Great Omi’ – the professional freak and sideshow performer and one of the most popular tattooed men of all time and Belle Vue regular. As well as photos, brochures, films and oral histories. Exhibition runs from 21-30 March 2014. Open daily. Late night opening Thursday 27 March, open till 8pm. The Flatiron, 33 Dale St, Manchester, M1 2HE. FREE

Thank you A spectacular two-mile laser beam artwork located at the Quays/MediaCityUK will light up the night skies across Manchester, Trafford and Salford for one week, pulsing ‘thank you’ in morse code. Artist Craig Morrison’s powerful work is inspired by the mathematician, wartime code breaker and father of computer science Alan Turing OBE. The artwork is a tribute to the impact that Turing continues to have on how we live today in a digitally connected world and will be a homecoming of sorts as so many key events in Turing’s life took place in Manchester and Greater Manchester. It also follows Turing’s long awaited posthumous Royal Pardon, granted in Dec 2013. Every evening from 5pm to 11pm 21-28 March. FREE

Manchester Central Library Tour A guided tour of the newly reopened Central Library focusing on the new Archives+ partnership, a purpose-built showcase and repository for the region’s archive and family history. 10am and 2pm Friday 21 – Saturday 29 March (ecl. Sun 23 March). Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. Pre-booking essential. FREE (Nb. Manchester Central Library at the St Peters Square site remains closed until Friday 21 February 2014)

Facques: An Installation Join Skyliner Field Trips to search out a series of interesting facts or ‘facques’ across the city. Fly solo and find all of the ‘facques’ with the aid of a illustrated map by Will Berry or discover them on one of the specially organised walking tours. 2pm Saturday 22 and Saturday 29 March. Tour £6 including free map (Maps £2).

Heroes Join John Amaechi, Councillor Rosa Battle, Tom Bloxham, Terry Christian, Ruth Daniel and Michael Wood, who will each talk about people who are ‘Heroes’ in their eyes. 6:30-8pm Monday 24 March. National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG. £4

Manchester: a personal history Michael Wood reflects on the history of Manchester and its people, using his own family history as a starting point. Come and hear Manchester’s favourite historian tell the story of the city and its inhabitants in a wide-ranging – as well as highly personalized talk. 6:30pm Tuesday 25 March. People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER. Early booking recommended. £7/£5

Peterloo 2019: A Discussion On the 16th of August 1819 the huge open area around what’s now St Peters Square, Manchester, played host to an outrage against over 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters; an event which became known as The Peterloo Massacre. Join writer, broadcaster and DJ Dave Haslam and Peterloo expert Dr Robert Poole to discuss how Manchester should commemorate and remember the Peterloo massacre leading up to the 200th anniversary in 2019. 6.30pm Wednesday 26 March. People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER. Early booking recommended. FREE

Godlee Observatory Tour Step back in time and join Manchester Astronomical Society for a tour of one of Manchester’s truly hidden gems. 2pm and 4pm Thursday 27 March. Godlee Observatory, Sackville Street Building, University of Manchester, M1 3BU. 11+. Pre-booking essential. £5

Bright Club Manchester: Manchester Histories Festival Special The thinking person’s variety night Bright Club presents a special one-off history themed show in which historians become comedians for just one night! 7:30pm Thursday 27 March. Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale St, Manchester, M1 1JW. 18+. £4

Histonauts 3: The Manchester Music Edition From the legendary Sex Pistols gig that kicked off Joy Division and Factory Records to Morrissey and The Smiths to the birth of rave culture, the ‘Madchester’ scene and the indie swagger of the Stone Roses and Oasis: it all happened here, in the pubs, clubs, streets and houses of Manchester. With a fun, creative task to achieve every day of the festival join in this digital scavenger hunt and add new venues, bands, videos and other popular music memories to the Manchester Music Map. 21 – 30 March. FREE

A Victorian Pharmacy Learn all about the world of the Victorian Pharmacy in this tour of Lark Hill Place with special attention to the medications of the Victorian time – both those sold by Mr. Hamer from his pharmacy, and the more homespun remedies used in the home. Also included is mention of Mrs Driver, Lark Hill Place’s very own ‘Bleeder with leeches’! This event is free but places are limited so need to be booked in advance by calling the museum. The tour will last around 45 minutes and will be a standing event. 2.30pm Saturday 22 March. Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, Cresent, Salford, M5 4WU. 18+. FREE

MHF Celebration Day Bringing together nearly 90 histories and heritage organisations from across Greater Manchester including Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society, Gorton Local History Society, Manchester Museum, Granada TV, Rochdale Pioneers Museum and the Royal Northern College of Music amongst others with exhibition stands, games, film screenings, performances and talks it provides a perfect opportunity to find out more about the organisations that celebrate, preserve and explore Greater Manchester’s past plus find out how you can
get involved. 11am-4pm Saturday 29 March. Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA & Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, M2 5NS. FREE

History of Granada Television Founded by Sidney Bernstein, Granada Television began transmitting to the North of England in 1956. Famed for its innovation, radicalism and quality programming with the company was described in the New York Times as ‘the best TV company in the world.’ Coronation Street, Brideshead Revisited, Jewel in the Crown, World In Action, Seven Up have led the way, picking up awards around the world. But the ethos of Granada was always rooted in the North West, to the extent that the area became known as ‘Granadaland’. Join Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones who both worked for Granada in its heyday for a fascinating talk that will recall the memories of those who worked for the company from cleaners to producers and accounts managers to presenters and discuss the importance of Granada to Manchester, the North West and to the history of television. 2pm Saturday 29 March. Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester, M2 5NS. FREE

Worktown to Cottonopolis Join award winning cartoonist Tony Husband [Private Eye, the Times] and become a Mass Observer for a day whilst also learning about Bolton Museum’s Humphrey Spender Worktown Collection. Travelling from Worktown [Bolton] to Cottonopolis [Manchester] by train, bus or car participants will document their journey – paying particular attention happiness, hats and shopping! 11:30am Saturday 29 March. Meeting point TBC. Age 10+. FREE (participants must pay for their own travel)

Barry Adamson – onstage interview & audience Q&A Twenty-five years ago Barry Adamson released his debut solo album, Moss Side Story, inspired by the neighbourhood he’d grown up in. Having been bass player in the pioneering post-punk band Magazine, and playing with Nick Cave in the Bad Seeds, he subsequently released other solo albums, including the Mercury Music Prize nominated Soul Murder, all suffused with Ennio Morricone style atmospherics and widescreen, wired, jazz. His movie work includes contributing soundtrack material to Derek Jarman’s The Last of England, Alison Anders Gas Food Lodging, David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and Oliver Stones Natural Born Killers. He was awarded the Best Short Story Award at the Piemonte Noir Italian festival for his novella, Maida Hell, and in 2010 he released his debut short-film Therapist. Find out more about his life and work in this onstage interview with writer, broadcaster and DJ Dave Haslam. 3pm Saturday 29 March. Manchester Town Hall. Age 15+. FREE

Remembering Strawberry Studios Strawberry Studios were founded in 1967 by Peter Tattersall at a time when there were no other professional recording studios outside of London. The studios went from strength to strength and artists including Paul McCartney, the Bay City Rollers, The Buzzcocks, Neil Sedaka, Joy Division, New Order, James, The Smiths, Simply Red and The Stone Roses amongst many more all went on to record at the studios. MHF is now calling for people from across Greater Manchester and beyond with memories of Strawberry Studios North to come and record their Oral Histories for a new interactive exhibition. As part of MHF there will also be a ‘Stockport Rocks!’ walking tour around Stockport Town Centre. 2:30-4pm Sunday 23 March. £7 / £6 concessions and a Strawberry Studio talk as part of the MHF Celebration Day.


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