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Top speakers at Manchester Histories Festival, 21 March

New event underscores our significant city with talks from Tristram Hunt, Michael Wood, Sheila Rowbotham and Confidential's Jonathan Schofield

Written by . Published on March 2nd 2009.

Top speakers at Manchester Histories Festival, 21 March

Manchester might at last be getting the Histories Festival it deserves, something which really underscores the significance of the city.

Manchester Histories Festival is a day-long celebration taking place on Saturday 21 March. The venue is Manchester Town Hall which will come alive with talks from keynote speakers as well as showcase archive films, musical shows, guided walks and family activities. There’ll also be an exhibition covering major themes from Manchester's past.

But back to those speakers for a moment.

Market Street/Cross Street junction before the bollards that spike all the cars

Tristram Hunt, the square-jawed TV historian will be getting his teeth, metaphorically, into Friedrich Engels. The latter geezer lived for 22 years in Manchester. His experiences influenced his co-writing of the Communist Manifesto with his best friend Karl Marx, who frequently came to stay in the city. Michael Wood, another TV face and an ex-Moss Side and Wythenshawe boy, will be talking about ‘What Manchester’s history means to me’, and looking at the big stories centred on the city.

Other speakers include:
Gary James talking about the development of football in Manchester;
Dave Haslam on Manchester and music;
Sheila Rowbotham on radicalism and feminism;
David Meek on United;
James Sumner on Manchester computing;
Keith Warrender on the tunnels of Manchester.

Michael Wood, guest speaker at the festival, discovers giant stone fish fingers in Kazakhstan

There’s also some upstart called Jonathan Schofield – an editor of some website or other – talking about perceptions of Manchester through the ages from locals and visitors.

It should all add up to an informative blast.

The speakers all have their own time slots which can be booked along with other activities on www.manchesterhistoriesfestival.org.uk

Importantly the festival has got people across the city involved. Backed by the universities and the city, it includes the work of about forty schools and sixty organisations (including all Manchester’s galleries and museums). Given all the stories involved that’s why the title of the event is Manchester Histories Festival in the plural.

All this is a good thing. Manchester should spend as much as it takes on building pride in the city’s past and using this to grow identity in the present. This splendid festival is a great place for the city and its component organisations to make a start in ensuring all Mancunians feel part of the city.

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EditorialMarch 2nd 2009.

Dear Anonymous. We keep testing that link in the story and it works for us.

Guiding LightMarch 2nd 2009.

Four more guided walks have been added to the Manchester Histories Festival website. In addition, the website encourages people to ask on the day for availability on all the walks as some tickets have been held back.

Bernard CookMarch 2nd 2009.

Good God, long overdue. The fact that so much is booked up is astonishing. But excellent too. We should make this a yearly event.

MariMarch 2nd 2009.

Look out for features on workers history, Avro, Ferranti, the Co-op, Granada, Withy Grove newspaper printworks, and much much more.

D PrivedMarch 2nd 2009.

Well said Robcmar. More Guides now!!! It's URGENT.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2009.

Wot about the workers? I still see the ghost of cotton warehouse people around my apartment building,, and don't the aristocracy of labour from MetVicks Rolls Royce Renolds and Arvo have play any part in Manchester history?. And where will 'The Classic Slum' figure and wot about the Co-op, and the department stores, and the pubs....?And Thatcher's blitz krieg whch did more damage than Hitler, and Guardian running away after the harlots in the City of London, and Granada (RIP) and Corrie........ and time when Manchester really was a great European city? Instead we have football, rock, feminism (where are the workers again?) and computers. It's a media thing.

SteMarch 2nd 2009.

Long overdue and a great idea to help further build a sense of pride in our city. It should be expanded in future years and perhaps even incorporate a sort of 'Manchester day' or something to focus our attention once a year. Now if only the council would spend some money on cleaning our streets effectively, we might be able to feel proud on a day to day basis.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2009.

p.s. the target for the hyperlink as well as the text needs changing for the .org.uk thing...

Cllr Mike AmesburyMarch 2nd 2009.

Getting loads of interest in this, I agree entirely with Johnathan that this is long overdue. We do need to celebrate Manchester's Heritage more effectively. Executive Member for Culture and Leisure

RobcmarMarch 2nd 2009.

I no longer live in M/Cr so my main source of info is Manc Con. So how much publicity of the histories day have the organisers done, to learn about it a couple of weeks beforehand on Man Con is too little time, epsecially as everything seems to be booked up.

ChickMarch 2nd 2009.

Looking forward to this. Slightly OT but anyone know when the Pump House museum is due to reopen? Seems like it's been the longest refurb in history

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2009.

Err...the web address ends in .org.uk not .org.

burt CodeineMarch 2nd 2009.

Photographs of Market Street before the area was demolished to make way for the Arndale and the dreadful looking food court bring a tear to my eye...I cannot go on, it's simply too much to bear...

D PrivedMarch 2nd 2009.

Just been on the Histories website and all the tours are "booked out". I thought Manchester had just trained up some twenty-odd Green Badge Tourist Guides. Where are they?Perhaps Cllr Mike Amesbury can help find them and put them to work immediately!

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2009.

Ed, someone at ManCon changed the link yesterday...

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