Slapped on the walls…lit up in glass cases…pinned onto boards are some of the greatest moments, places and faces from Salford's history re-born through the eyes of local people who are connected in some way to the events that have unfolded over the last two hundred years.
There's a display by Brian and Joyce Daly, whose ancestor helped the rescue effort at the Clifton Hall Colliery disaster. There's Roy Bullock's research into the Battle of Bexley Square, where his uncle was arrested. And there's a history of Victoria Mill in Weaste, where John Linney's father worked while it was Winterbottom's Book Cloth Company. Previously Fred Engels managed the Mill to pay for his groundbreaking social and political theories which led to the Communist Manifesto. There's also histories of Salford Docks, Agecroft Colliery and Kersal Moor, all compacted into one room, and all linked to those who have worked on the exhibition.
While the displays bring home the `invisible history' of Salford, actual tools used by Salford people, made into casts and wrapped with texts photocopied from books and pamphlets in the Library earth it all in reality.
A statement on the wall of the exhibition explains the reasoning behind the project which first began in the 80s when Ordsall Community Arts began collecting photos and memories from people who lived in the area or worked around Salford Docks and Trafford Park…
"The group voiced their fears that all traces of their history were vanishing and would soon disappear, going unrecognised and unrecorded. It was with the decline of the docks, the closure of the firms and the demolition of the old terraced streets that the area began to change beyond all recognition."
Lawrence Cassidy, the artist who worked with local people on Invisible Histories says that it takes a different approach to labour history…
"Hopefully the exhibition goes against the sentimentalisation of working class culture by the heritage industry" he explains "From my experience, working class histories often remain invisible, they are not often officially commemorated. As the Library is located in the centre of one of the largest former industrial areas in the world, projects like this should be developed, as they are vital to community development."
Invisible Histories runs until the end of August and there are a series of talks that accompany the exhibition…
23 June 2pm No compensation. Mining mishaps in the Salford coalfields during the Victorian period - Glen Atkinson
7 July 6pm Re-tracing Salford. A project using family snaps, oral histories and street maps to rekindle memories of urban life - Lawrence Cassidy
21 July 6pm Salford Star. The story of the independent magazine, written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians - Stephen Kingston
4 August 2pm Trades union memorabilia. Badges, emblems and certificates - Cliff Stockton
Invisible Histories: Salford's Working Lives
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent, Salford M5 4WX
Open Wed-Fri 1pm-5pm or by appointment
phone 0161 736 3601