Manchester Heritage Trail Follows Black History Footsteps

by Roz Tappenden | 18 October 2005
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A black and white photo showing two small children looking in the window of a toy shop

Greenheys: Denmark Road Toy Shop, 1962. Image courtesy: Manchester City Council

A virtual heritage trail around Manchester and Salford is being launched for Black History Month 2005 with the help of English Heritage and one of the community’s best-known historians and speakers.

The website, called Acts of Achievement, highlights buildings, shops, churches and markets that have been integral to the black history of Manchester.

On Saturday, October 22 2005, local historian, Washington Alcott, will lead a real life trail around the most significant landmarks including the Alvinos Patty Shop on the corner of Great Western Street and Broadfield Road in Moss Side.

Washington Alcott said: “The idea is to make people more aware of the presence and contribution of black people in the city. In the past people have travelled up from Bristol and London so we are hoping for a similar response this year.”

A black and white photograph showing a group of women walking past a corner shop

Great Wester Street, 1960. Image courtesy: Manchester City Council.

Saturday’s trail will last for two-and-a-half hours and will begin with a slide presentation, followed by a coach tour around Manchester and Salford.

Key venues will include the West Indian Centre in Carmoor Road, Longsight, which ran the country’s first school for black children. The centre’s activities were organised by the late Beresford Edwards who also founded the Roots Festival.

The Band on the Wall club in Swan Street, the Pumphouse Museum in Bridge Street and the Britannia Hotel, formerly a cotton warehouse, in Portland Street are all featured in the city centre trail.

A black and white photograph of two men standing next to an open suitcase in a market

Street traders in Manchester, 1940. Image courtesy: Manchester City Council

Patrick Burke, English Heritage outreach officer, said: “Many of these places have enormous personal significance for Manchester’s black community. They are places that represent important stages on the remarkable journey some of the city’s first black immigrants made in the middle years of the last century – and many continue to hold special meaning for successive generations.”

He added: “English Heritage cares passionately about celebrating the different strands of history that makes up this country’s past and believes that the heritage of England must be interpreted in an inclusive way.”

To find out more about Saturday’s trail, contact Patrick Burke on 0161 242 1420.

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