The Siege of Manchester

In the year we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the role Manchester played in another landmark constitutional event in British history, the English Civil War.  Although 17th Century Manchester was only a small market town with a population of no more than 5000, in 1642 it was one of the first to witness the violence which would soon plunge the entire country into conflict.

In the previous decades, Manchester had experienced an influx of Flemish merchants to work in the town’s burgeoning textile industry.  This helped to give the town a strong mercantile and puritan character.  Over the course of 1642 tensions had been heating up between King Charles I and his Parliament and across the country people began to choose sides.

Map 1: A Plan of Manchester and Salford, c.1650

This period of uncertainty is well documented in the Central Library Archives.  A collection of broadsides from the time tell the story of the lead up to war.  One document is a “humble petition” of baronets, esquires, ministers, gentlemen, free-holders, and others peaceably affecting in the County Palatine of Lancashire;

Beseeching your Majesty to return to your great Councell (the representative body of your Kingdom).

The King, who had moved his court to York, issued a response on the 11th May.  It stated that the petition;

Is grounded upon misinformation and being grieved and highly offended to see how his good people have been, and are abused by false rumours and intelligences.

Broadside: To The Kings Most Excellent Majesty

By 28th May the dispute had escalated further with Parliament issuing an order to the Sheriffs, Lord Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants in Counties like Lancashire.  It stated;

Whereas it appears that the King seduced by wicked councell intend to make warre against the Parliament and under the covor of a guard to secure his Royall Person, doth command troops both of horse, and foot, to assemble at Yorke.  All of which is against the laws of the Kingdom, lending to the dissolution of the Parliament and destruction of his people.

The summer of 1642 saw the scramble across the country for arms and gunpowder by both sides.  Despite Manchester’s pro-parliamentary stance, the County of Lancashire was dominated by the staunchly Royalist James Stanley, Lord Strange, son of the Earl of Derby.

James Stanley, Lord Strange and his wife Charlotte de la Tremouille, painted by Anthony van Dyck c. 1630s.

Having quickly taken command of the supplies of other northern towns, such as Preston and Lancaster, Lord Strange turned his attention to Manchester.  Strange’s efforts were resisted by the town’s inhabitants who declared their support for Parliament and refused to hand over the munitions.  When Strange entered the town with a small group of cavaliers, on 15th July, a scuffle broke out leading to what is commonly seen as the first casualty of the conflict, a local weaver named Richard Perceval.  Following the incident, a stand-off ensued as Strange raised troops to retake the gunpowder and weapons by force.

As Lieutenant General of Lancashire, Lord Strange issued a declaration on the 17th August;

To raise forces of horse and foote soldiers to attend his Majesty.

He warned those who might oppose him;

Faile not as you tender his Majesties service, and will answer contrary at your perils.

On the 16th September, Parliament issued a warrant for Lord Strange’s arrest under the charge of treason, despite his continued loyalty to the King;

Whereas the Lord Strange, having continued a long time, and still remaining in actual rebellion against his Majesty, and Parliament is for the same impeached of high treason by the House of Commons, in the name of themselves, and all the commons of England.

It ordered;

All sheriffs, and other of his Majesties subjects are hereby required to do their best endeavour for the apprehension of said Lord, and the bringing him up to the Parliament, there to receive condigne punishment according to his demerits.

Lord James Strange, 1642

By September, Lord Strange had amassed enough men to retake the town and didn’t anticipate any serious difficulties because of Manchester’s complete lack of fortifications.  Fortunately for the defenders, a German military engineer, John Rosworm, assisted in building makeshift defences just in time before the arrival of Strange’s men.

Marching through Salford, Strange’s men attempted to cross Salford Bridge (near where the Victoria Bridge now stands) in order to reach Manchester town centre.  They were immediately greeted by musket fire from the other side of the River Irwell and stopped in their tracks.  For the rest of the month the defendants were able to hold off against the Royalists forces.  At the start of October, Lord Strange learned of the death of his father and finally decided to abandon the siege to claim his inheritance and title as the new Earl of Derby.

An 18th century picture of Old Salford Bridge which much of the fighting centred around. Manchester Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Manchester’s resistance to the Royalist forces did not go unnoticed by Parliament who made a declaration on 6th October;

In commendation of the inhabitants of the Towne of Manchester, for their valiant resisting the late Lord Strange, and now Earle of Darbie, And to incourage them in their valour which they have showed for their owne defence, and to endeavour to suppresse or apprehend the said Earle, or any of his complices, assuring them of allowance and payment for all disbursements or losses in that service.

In 1649 Charles was tried and executed and the monarchy was abolished in favour of a republic.  James Stanley would eventually be captured and executed in Bolton following the failure of Charles I son, Charles II, to overthrow Oliver Cromwell’s new Commonwealth in 1651.  Out of the turmoil of the Civil War Manchester was one of many places which prospered.  In 1654 it was rewarded with its first Member of Parliament, Major General Charles Worsley, though this would be short lived. In 1660 on the restoration of Charles II, Manchester was once again deprived of its MP and would have to wait almost two further centuries to achieve political representation.

Charles Worsley of Platt, First Member of Parliament for Manchester c. 1654.

Further information about Manchester in the 17th century can be found on gmlives.org.uk.

Images can be found on the Archives+ Flickr page and the Manchester Local Image Collection.

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.

The Interpretation of Dreams

The Interpretation of Dreams was written by Artemidorus Daldianus, a diviner based in Roman Asia (now modern day Turkey) in the 2nd Century. This copy was printed in 1710 in England and is part of the Oliver J. Sutton Witchcraft Collection here at Manchester Central Library, which shows the endurance of the text. It was first translated in to English in 1518, and by 1722 there had been twenty editions of the text (Thomas, pg.153).

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Back Page

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Index Page

The photograph above shows an index of different themes and subjects of dreams. There is a huge amount that a person can refer to should they desire to understand why they are dreaming about say… eggs!

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 79

According to Artemidorus, dreaming of eggs translated roughly to a good dream, especially if you were Physician or Painter.  However, too many eggs apparently seems to be a sign of ‘pain, noise, or Law suits’. Artemidorus’s text was composed of a number of other sources regarding dreams, and was largely founded on an analogical method, through the comparison of one thing and another (Wallace, pg.7).

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 19          The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 89

In the photo above, a relationship has been drawn here between marriage and death, which seems like quite a startling comparison to make. In dreams, death and marriage are often seen to be linked due to the huge significance of both events in life (Kramer, Larkin, pg. 161).

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 93        The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 95

The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 96 The Interpretation of Dreams artemidorus Page 98

In Artemidorus’s work on dreams, he emphasised the importance of context of each dreamer: ‘It is impossible for an unimportant man to receive a vision of great affairs beyond his capacity. For it is contrary to reason unless, indeed, the dreamer is a king, a magistrate, or one of the nobility’. (Campbell, 37).

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.

Umbrella Doodles

Image

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

On Friday 13th, citizens of Manchester joined artist Sarah Marsh for ‘Umbrella Doodles’, a free event where people were taken on a walk up Oxford Road. Everyone was given a clear plastic umbrella that they used as a canvas for doodling drawings of Manchester’s finest architecture.

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

The event started outside University of Manchester’s visitors centre, where people could draw the neo-Gothic outlines of the Manchester Museum, or the sleek modern designs of University Place. Next, a short walk up to St. Peter’s Chaplaincy, followed by a quick sketch of The Footage building and All Saints Park opposite. People were then led to the industrial railway arches opposite the Palace Hotel, with the vast Victorian buildings nearby also providing excellent doodling inspiration!

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

A quick detour down the canal meant that another panel was filled in on the Umbrella, with the penultimate stop outside the impressive Bridgewater Hall. The last panel on the Umbrella was dedicated to the Central Library, where people could then colour in their fantastic artwork with different colours, and add any extra details.

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

It was a fantastic opportunity to experience Manchester’s diverse architecture and learn more about it’s history. This event will run again over the next year so watch this space!

Umbrella Doodles 15th October 2014

You can find out more about Sarah Marsh and her work at http://www.evelynarts.co.uk/

All photographs © Max Bamber

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.

Churchill and Manchester

This January marked fifty years since the death of Sir Winston Churchill and the grand state funeral which was held in his honour on 30th January 1965. Searching through the archives held at the Central library, I came across a great deal of material which sheds light on the early political life of this remarkable British figure. Most famous for his role as Prime Minister during the turbulent years of the Second World War, Churchill began his political career forty years earlier. In 1900 a young Winston stood in the General Election and became a Conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Oldham, having been defeated in a by-election there the previous year. No sooner was Churchill in Parliament than he quickly became an outspoken opponent of his party’s leadership stance on certain issues, particularly over free trade and tariff reform. In 1904 these disagreements led him to switch Party becoming a Liberal, and in 1906 he campaigned and won the Manchester Northwest constituency in the landslide election that brought the Liberal Party to power.

Winston Churchill at a Liberal garden party in 1907.

Winston Churchill at a Liberal garden party in 1907

Within the Central library archives there are a collection of personal correspondents between Churchill and William Royle of Rusholme, Chairman of Executive Committee of the Manchester Liberal Federation. These fascinating letters cover this period of his life and provide a real insight on his private feelings on a variety of topics. One noticeable feature that can be ascertained by these letters is Churchill’s impressive rise to prominence following the shift in allegiance to the Liberals. This is evident with the changing government ministry letter headings each successive year, from Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies to Home Secretary in space of five years.

Churchill addressing a meeting in Manchester 1910

Churchill addressing a meeting in Manchester 1910

Delving further into the archives provides a glimpse of a more familiar Churchill, the defiant war leader. Following the Manchester Blitz in December 1940, the Prime Minister visited Manchester in a show of solidarity and to counter Nazi propaganda which claimed to have completely destroyed the city.

Churchill visiting Manchester in 1941 to inspect the damage caused by Christmas Blitz

Churchill visiting Manchester in 1941 to inspect the damage caused by the Christmas Blitz

A few years later with the war still raging, a meeting was held by the Manchester City Council in July 1943. Chaired by the Lord Mayor J.S. Hill, the committee was convened to decide to symbolically reward the Prime Minister. The draft of the resolution can be found within the Central Library Archives.

It stated:

That this council hereby record that the powers accorded to them by the law of recognising persons of distinction and eminent services would be fittingly exercised by conferring the Freedom of the city upon the right honourable Winston Spencer Churchill.

It also stated:

Mr Churchill over a long period, has served his king and country with consistency, courage, ability and perspicacity in a variety of roles extending through the reigns of five sovereigns.

He is truly a person of distinction.

These and other documents relating to Churchill’s relationship with the City of Manchester are available through gmlives.org.uk

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.

The Prestwich Asylum

Aerial view of Prestwich Mental Hospital

Prestwich Asylum was opened in January 1851, and had become one of the largest of it’s kind in Europe by 1900. It was extended in order to increase the capacity: ‘The Annex’ created space for an extra 1,100 patients, meaning that by 1903 around 3,135 patients could be housed there. Eventually, the asylum closed in the 1990s having run for over 150 years. I decided to investigate the records held at the Central Library to get more of an idea about the Asylum and some of the patients that were admitted.

I found many interesting (and often sad) passages from the records that I was looking at, which were mainly between the years of 1900-1901. What was very noticeable was the language used and the strange treatments often prescribed for the patients- very different from today! A regular term was ‘Phthisis’, used to check the medical background of the patient. Phthisis is an archaic term for Tuberculosis.

The reason for admission was often ‘melancholia’, another example of the older language used. This is a term for depression, but for us it sounds like quite an odd diagnosis.

Here are some of the records that stood out to me as being particularly sad. The treatment and diagnoses of the patients in particular are interesting to look at, especially when you compare them against more modern perceptions of mental health. The doctors are quite blunt and insensitive with their language, and describe their health in ways that I don’t think we would see today.

A.PRES.ADMF2.13RegNo12151A.PRES.ADMM2.11RegNo10512

A common theme for the cause of illness for many of the male patients was ‘worry at work’, or ‘money troubles’. This was much more common in the male patients, and was hardly seen in the female records. The role of the male in the family around this period was to provide and earn, and these records show how much working and earning was a vital part of people’s lives.

A.PRES.ADMM2.1RegNo8009
A.PRES.ADMM2.1RegNo8006

A lot of patients were clearly concerned about the workhouse, which tells us a lot about the horrible conditions many of these people lived and worked in before staying at Prestwich Asylum.

A.PRES.ADMF2.13RegNo12174

Another interesting feature of many of the records was the treatment given. This was often ‘moral’ or ’employment’. After some research, it seems that ‘moral’ was a method of psychiatric treatment founded on religious motivations. It was seen as a positive move from the often brutal treatments used previously and often described as a cornerstone for psychiatric treatment. However, the practise was still criticised by some, who argued that it made the patient increasingly dependant on the doctor. Employment was a form of daily structure given to the patient in order to create a routine for them, and thus hopefully act as a sort of distraction from their illness.

Leah Savage, 1900

Treatment in Asylum’s before this time was notoriously gruesome, and they were used as prisons rather than places to help people. Practises such as blood-letting and purging were common, with chains often used to control people.

I found looking through these records extremely fascinating, mainly because it is such a huge resource that the library has, and there was so much choice regarding the dates I wanted to look at. I was shocked at the volume of entries from month to month- there seems to have been a huge amount of people who came and went through the asylum’s doors. There were some patients that I came across that would probably not be treated the same if it was today, or even admitted to somewhere like Prestwich Asylum. It says a lot about the way treatment and therapy has changed, but also how we perceive mental health.

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/moraltreatment.aspx

Safety in Numbers: Life Inside Prestwich Asylum in 1900

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.

Archives+ 2014 in Review

2014 was a huge year for the Archives+ team. Central Library reopened to the public after its refurbishment and our Archives+ exhibition was launched. Here are a few of the highlights from our year.

January

We kicked of the year with a visit to Wythenshawe Hall where we made memory boxes in very grand surroundings.
Wythenshawe Hall January 2014

February

We worked with the young people at Ladybarn Community Association to put together an afternoon tea. They researched the history of their area and spent the afternoon chatting to older people about life in the past.

Ladybarn Event Ladybarn intergen event 14 1

March

Central Library reopened after being closed for around 4 years for renovation. Archives+ took part in the opening celebrations and also had several events as part of Manchester Histories Festival including behind the scenes tours, film screenings, talks, living history characters and archive handling session.
Central Library Re-opening 22nd March 2014
April

Our inaugural photography competition took place in 2014 with short-listing in April. Max Bamber was the eventual winner with this shot of the St George’s Day Parade.
St George's Day Parade 2014
May

The wonderful Junkshop ran a Make Do and Mend session where attendees made canvas bags using recycled material and inspired by copies of Vogue from our heritage stack.Make Do and mend Sewing Class

June

We kicked off summer with a bang, pulling double duty at the Mela and the Manchester Day Parade.

Manchester Mega Mela 2014 Manchester Day Parade 22nd June 2014

July

In July we celebrated Central Library’s 80th birthday and also had a visit from Joey the War HorseWar Horse Up Close 26/07/2014

August

In August we took part in the Summer Reading Challenge, sticking to the theme (Mythical Mazes) by imagining what the boggarts in Boggart Hole Clough might look like.

Summer Reading Challenge activity

September

September saw the launch of our community exhibition – Wilfred Owen’s War. This was a Heritage Lottery Young Roots project in partnership with the Wowzone in Wythenshawe. The exhibition was launched with readings from the young people and was attended by the Lord Mayor of Manchester. Visit the project website for more information.

Wilfred Owen's War

October

In October we had Zombies in the archives and took part in Manchester Science Festival for the first time.

Zombies in the Archives 22/10/2014Science@Central

November

To commemorate 100 years since the beginning of the First World War all the Archives+ partners took part in a week of commemorative events. These included WWI themed music, talks, film shows and archive handling sessions. One of the highlights was Corporal Tommy Atkins who explains the life of the WWI Tommy using the original uniform and equipment of a Manchester Regiment soldier. Corporal Tommy Atkins

December

Our Christmas Extravaganza was a huge success in 2014. We had performances from local choirs and music groups, free craft activities, mince pies to give away,festive archives on display and even a visit from the man himself – Father Christmas.Christmas Extravaganza 2014

So that was 2014 for Archives+ in a nutshell. Of course, it goes without saying that we did much more than this post could possibly cover. School visits, free local history talks, film screenings and weekly archive handling sessions, not to mention a variety of events for families and young people in Central Library and a variety of events elsewhere in the City.

Keep your eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter to see what we get up to in 2015.

A new poem for the new year

I’ve been wanting to use the microfilm records of the Manchester Evening News since I started my residency at Archives+. Nothing underlined the difference between Manchester and the town I’d moved from more than the local newspaper headlines: instead of ‘Fury over giant hedge’ and ‘Popular shop reopens’, the yellow MEN newspaper boards screamed ‘TAXI GANG KNIFE HORROR’ and ‘MASS BRAWL AT BABY’S FUNERAL’. My affection for the city began with those headlines. I started writing them down, and found they were even better when I never discovered what the story was actually about. So I decided to buy a copy and compare the headlines from 2014 to those on the same day fifty years earlier, and see what came out of that. All words below are taken from headlines in the Manchester Evening News from 15th December 2014 and 15th December 1964.

15th December

Girl was ‘dope addict’
Clash over atom plan
Keep Britain for British
MEMBERS LET THEM DOWN

HUMAN LEG BY RIVER
BRITISH SHIP IN COLLISION
Strip-tease ‘indecent’
AMONG the ASHES of WAR

TORTURE MYSTERY PROBED
SEAL MAY GO TO ZOO
Police arrest ‘Elvis’ nuisance
MEMBERS LET THEM DOWN

WHY CAN’T TRAMS BEAT THE FREEZE?
‘VETERAN’ OF 19 SAVED MY LIFE
Conquered peak in Everest region
On the Amateur Stage

£4M plan to remodel village
Tot dropped from window as family flee arson
Takeaway boss is ambushed by thugs
MP’s wife sells scented selfies online
Bouncer is stabbed in the face outside bar
MAN STEPS AWAY AS SHELTER IS WRECKED
FATHER HOLDS THE BABY WHILE MOTHER DANCES
NEW RUSSIAN LEADERS MAY COME TO LONDON
TRIPLE-MURDER CHARGE MAN NAMED IN COURT
WHAT A SWELL PARTY THIS IS

END HANGING? HEAR THE VOTERS FIRST
THE DAY I DROPPED A SCRAP OF PAPER
Strangeways prisoners to remodel village
HEART DONOR GAVE ME THE FREEZE?

TRIPLE-MURDER CHARGE MAN STEPS AWAY
TRIPLE-MURDER CHARGE MAN NAMED IN COLLISION
HEART DONOR GAVE ME THE GIFT OF HELL
Bear with us, it’ll be better

RIDDLE OF MAN TORTURED BY BOY FROM BRAZIL
First- time buyers offered as a thank you to heroes
CRACKDOWN ON A STROLL GONG IS UP FOR SALE
BRITISH SHIP IN COURT

A FLAP A FLAP A FESTIVE CHEER AS PRESENT BUS ROLLS INTO TOWN
When an MP saves half an MP saves half an MP saves half an MP saves half an MP saves half an MP saves half an
SEAL MAY GO TO ZOO MEMBERS LET THEM DOWN MPs NEW RUSSIAN LEADERS MAY GO TO ZOO MEMBERS LET THEM DOWN
END HANGING?
HEAR THE VOTERS FIRST THE VOTERS FIRST THE VOTERS FIRST THE BABY WHILE MOTHER DANCES FIRST THE VOTERS POST EARLY FOR A WHITE CHRISTMAS

Bouncer is stabbed in the wilderness

Just a little girl’s prayer …

Bryony Bates is the winner of the Young Enigma Allan Horsfall Prize for LGBT+ Young Writers in Greater Manchester. This is a piece she has written for us.