African Caribbean And Asian Heritage Uncovered At MOSI

By Tara Booth | 07 November 2008
An colourful image of a man with a dragon.

Reiss Bros shippers' ticket. Image courtesy of MOSI.

African Caribbean and Asian visitors to the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) are invited to delve into the Museum’s archive collection to uncover hidden treasures that tell the stories of Manchester’s links with their heritage.

Rare West African material swatches, photographs, painted shippers’ tickets and building plans will be among other items displayed as part of the Archive Awareness Day on Saturday November 8.

“At the moment, we can only tell the story from a white, colonial point of view and we want to know the other side – what Manchester means to the different communities who have made their home here, and how coming to Manchester has shaped their lives,” explained Senior Archivist Jan Hargreaves.

“This is an important part of Manchester’s story but we need help to unlock these secrets hidden in our archive collections. Putting these collections on display is the first step in doing that.”

The archives display will demonstrate the history of exports from Manchester to former colonial countries and aims to encourage people to share their own stories about the Manchester products and trading links.

A photograph of a man looking through a book.

Ishmael Wright looks through the archives. Image courtesy of MOSI.

Ishmael Wright moved from Jamaica to Manchester in 1961 and has lived in the city ever since.

“I started work on the railway at Victoria station and I stayed there all my working life,” he explained. “Since I retired my friends and I formed a little group and we go to schools and we pass on our life stories to children.”

“My ancestors were slaves so their work helped to develop the tea, chocolate and cotton trade which in turn became part of the British culture.”

Visitors can see examples from the Manchester textile merchant Paterson Zochonis that became a household name in Africa, photographs of electricity cables being laid in Calcutta, India, in the 1930s and documents relating to the development of the railways in Africa.

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