The elaborate Chinese gate in Manchester’s China Town is a striking image in the heart of this Northern City all year round but it comes alive as the community gathers to celebrate Chinese New Year, with Music, Dragon processions and of course Fireworks marking the start of the ‘Year of the Pig.’
Our brightly themed (see us on Instagram) , Pop Art tribute to this event in 2019, marks an increasing realisation for me, that there really is no such thing as an accident of fate or coincidence in history.
Most moments in history, events and across a 1,000 years of British history at least are connected when you stop and start to explore what happened when, how, why and who made it happen.
Manchester with roots as far back as the Brigantes and Celtic Britain becoming known as Mamucium by the Romans for its geography and the resemblance to a mammary gland or ‘breast-like shaped hill’ has much to teach us all about the context and continuity of those connections in history and our everyday lives.
Why did the Industrial Revolution thrive in this Northern Heartland and the Midlands? Is there a link between those reasons all the way down to Brit Pop and now its reinvention yet again as the new Media City of Manchester makes its mark on Mancunia? The mass migration of British broadcasters to the founders of the gritty documentary from Granada TV, The Manchester Guardian, and the home of Coronation Street might just not be such an accident of fate, with connections and roots dating back much further than we might think.
Having been lucky enough to stumble upon, or so I thought, Manchester through my working life in recent years, it has also revealed so much more to me about what makes us British and the North/South divide so often quoted and equally often misunderstood. To the point that as a lifelong Southern maybe finally I am starting to understand just a little as to why a better understanding matters and is as relevant now as it ever was as Britain seeks to navigate the troubled waters of – dare I say it Brexit.
Manchester – where it rains more than the sun shines, where on a cold winter’s evening this multi-cultural community congregates to celebrate the Year of the Pig, is a fascinating place, fare from perfect but with a lot to offer. Mamucium which still has a Chinese Community that is one of the largest outside of London has something across it’s history to teach us all.
The cultural fusion, the regeneration, the saving of our industrial heritage preserving and taking it forward into a new era and part of modern city living , the challenges of gentrification with a post ‘Brit Pop’ flavour alongside the real social problems that still exist and challenge our rose tinted views of modern life are fascinating and brings alive the relevance, resonance and resilience of all that we think we know about its former ‘hay day’ during the Industrial Revolution. Home of Chartism, where Engels family firm and connections brought Karl Marx to the town, a city that Abraham Lincoln wrote empathetically about during the American Civil War, there are many themes and connections to explore here over the coming months. Just getting started but with an initial exploration of Castlefield to take a few photos of the dwindling sites in the UK that bring alive the history of the Industrial Revolution, a whole new set of ideas of connections to explore has got me motivated.
As we refresh this website and move forward in 2019, strikes me this Year of the Pig could be a good one. Stick with us if you can as some missing pieces of the jigsaw are starting to come together…