A housing and community services provider is launching a new, contemporary multi-media exhibition in Manchester to celebrate 100 years of the city’s neighbourhood markets.

One Manchester, who own and manage more than 12,000 homes in central, south and east Manchester, has secured £69,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to engage local customers to curate an exhibition inspired by the social, trade and civic heritage of Gorton, Moss Side and Longsight markets.

‘Marketplace’ launches on 11 April at Manchester Central Library and the exhibition comprises of filmed poems developed by One Manchester customers, oral histories recounted by market users and traders and photographs exploring markets as cultural and social spaces.

Over a 10-month period, One Manchester invited customers to take part in a training and engagement programme and partnered with Manchester Markets, Manchester Central and local libraries, North West Film Archive, the Race Relations Archive, Science and Industry Museum, and the Museum of Transport – Greater Manchester.

Phil Lukes, Group Culture Lead at One Manchester, said:

“We’re always looking for new ways in which we can help our customers research and celebrate the rich history and heritage of the areas where they live. After discovering very little had been documented about Manchester’s diverse neighbourhood markets, we decided this would be the perfect subject matter for developing a heritage project which connected our customers with some of the city’s leading cultural centres.  

“Residents have undertaken trained in archiving, oral history, creative writing, photography and social media and working with the various partners on this project, including the market community. The project helped them understand and appreciate their local history and work with a team of professionals to develop an exhibition which demonstrates how the markets and market traders have helped to shape their communities.  Their stories will form new archive material that will be accessible by anyone at Manchester Central Library. Many markets have now closed, so it’s now more important than ever to document and preserve this vibrant part of Manchester’s history.”

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, said:

“Manchester has always been a melting pot for people of every culture and every walk of life. Looking at the markets of Manchester through the decades, you can see each one is a microcosm of the communities which make this city great. I’m pleased that Manchester City Council is able to support this exhibition and keep the memory of a Manchester cultural institution alive.”


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