Tell your own Ancoats Story

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side: 1-3rd July 2011

Definitely No Rubbish Here is an artwork based on a series of personal tales, which will be recorded during ‘A Walk On The Wild Side‘ 1-3rd July 2011 in Ancoats.

In 2003 when Ancoats — the world’s first planned industrial suburb — in the east of Manchester was pretty much a wastelands, artist Dan Dubowitz embarked on a project to get to know what made Ancoats Ancoats. Interviewing people he came across, he began to record a series of ‘Ancoats Stories,’ which became a snap-shot of the area’s transformation at the time from what it had been to what it was becoming. These stories were broadcast on the Piccadilly Metrolink platform, to unsuspecting passengers in 2003-2004.

In 2011 there are new stories to be told by archaeologists, architects, artists, developers, regenerators, engineers, journalists, poet and a professor of artificial intelligence that together begin to tell another story across the last decade: What Ancoats has become.

I am inviting 25 or so people who have worked on the area’s transformation to give a series of short guided walks of Ancoats free and open to anyone during the weekend of the 1-3rd July, the same opening weekend as the Manchester International Festival.

Over the coming months this website will be an opportunity to see and to contribute to an artwork in progress, with the posting of stories from the guides, but also an opportunity for anyone to tell their own Ancoats Stories.

These can be personal tales, but they can also be the story told in an object or a photo. Definitely No Rubbish Here is also about the extraordinary objects, which Ancoats revealed during the peeling back of layers during the regeneration. The exhibition at The Ice Plant in Ancoats during the 3 days of walks, 1-3rd July, will have a selection of these strange and curious items recovered from Ancoats.

7 responses

  1. David Mott

    Went on the walk this evening (1st July) and would like to thank everyone who led the group. Very interesting area being very well restored. My initial interest arose from family history with various ancestors living in the area in the mid 19th century. Will be back to find the Peeps and take photographs. Might suggest to a friend that it becomes a Blue Badge walk destination. Off to buy the book tomorrow.


    July 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm

  2. Really great to find this website and the work connected with it. As a City center Manchester born Painter my personal history and heritage is connected with Ancoats for over 50 years. After returning from working in Europe to Manchester in 2005 I was astonished at the changes. So much so I painted a series of works of the Canal (or the ‘cuttings’ or the ‘Cut’- as we Mancs used to call them). These works and the photographs taken during this time of ‘Cottonopolis’ – are now appearing in the weekly story
    looking forward to more information on this outstandingly interesting part of Manchester.

    June 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

  3. Its not Sophia, however it reminds me of the Vladimer Trechikoff Chinese Girl of the 50s – the biggest selling contemporary print of that era, an iconic retro piece often used to represent ‘working class’ bad taste in tv period pieces by lazy prop departments

    Wish I could read the signature a little more clearly, I’m intrigued

    June 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

  4. Here’s a link to the portrait.

    June 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  5. “I don’t know about art but I know what I like” how often have we heard that phrase! It became a running joke with me and Dan as the weeks turned into months and then years. The first manifestation was when Dan came across a framed print that had been left behind when a building was vacated, it was of those classic schmaltzy overdone female faces so popular in the late 60’s. When Dan showed it to me, I said “now that’s real art, not like this stuff you’re doing here” clearly in an ironic way, but after that, we both sent each other examples of stuff we came across on our travels that we felt was in the same vein of sentimentalism with no real context of the place they fetched up in. Imagine my surprise when at my leaving do, Dan presented me with that very print, reframed and with a new title “Real Art”, it currently resides in our study………..we don’t go in there a lot! For some reason Dan always thought the female was Sophia Loren, don’t know why, it doesn’t look a bit like her, I suppose it was the big eyes (I said eyes!!!) and dark hair…….

    June 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

  6. Fifteen boxes of fragments of Georgian glass found by archaeologists at the former Flint Glass Works in Ancoats were delivered this week by Oxford Archaeology for inclusion in the exhibition “Definitely No Rubbish Here” (1-3 July, the Ice Plant, Ancoats).
    The fragments include some extraordinary pieces such as the castors for grand pianos.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

  7. Whenever you put ten people in a room, at least one of them will have a connection with Ancoats. It took me a while to recognise it, but my job in finding solutions of derelict historic buildings in Ancoats was really one of re-connecting people to the heritage of the area. Understanding the significance of Ancoats was critical to securing funding for the rescue of St Peter’s Church and Murrays’ Mills, which were restored by Heritage Works (then Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust) from 1996 to 2006. That significance – architectural, constructional and archaeological – is really all about people. Murrays’ Mills at its height employed 1300 men, women and children spinning cotton, at a time when two thirds of the world’s population was dressed in cotton that had been processed in Manchester. Those people lived in Ancoats’ houses, drank in its pubs and worshipped in its churches. Later, the Methodists provided support at their Missions for men and for women, resident Italians made ice cream and schools were built – with playgrounds in the street or on the flat roof of the school building. In the 20th century, people were employed at the Daily Express Printers, manned surface car-parks, watched the clearance of terraced housing and closure of schools and pubs….. Heritage Works tried to focus minds away from associating the Ancoats’ mills with “three generations of unemployment in my family” to “History with a Future”. I’m proud to have played a small part in rescuing ruins and contributing to the regeneration of the Ancoats Urban Village – the World’s first industrial suburb.

    June 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

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