Calling all Russophiles! Catherine Dank from Manchester Metropolitan University will talk about the friendship between Manchester and St Petersburg, 2 -4pm , on the 13th October in City Library. We will be showing rare film clips; taken from the North West Film Archive, of early exchange trips, and you can browse related archive photographs, taken from the papers of Bernard Sydney Langton during his 1956 visit to Russia.

GB127.M428/160Manchester and St Petersburg have a longstanding sister city link with 2012 marking the fiftieth anniversary of the relationship, which endured during the Cold War. The historic centre of St Petersburg and its related monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can see why from the photograph below!

GB127.M784Events have also been held at the Russian National Library in St Petersburg. Archive materials covering fifty years were displayed alongside contemporary photography by students from the Manchester School of Art. As you can see from the Russian autograph book below, and its transcript, the friendship extends back to the 1950s.

Russian Translation:

“We, the Soviet people, as well as the English people are seeking peace. We are doing everything we can continually to achieve a lasting peace in the world.”

“Greetings to the highway and paving workers of the City of Manchester from the highway and paving workers of the town on Leningrad.”

“Educational workers of the town of Leningrad were glad to show members of the Manchester Municipal Council, their institutions for the education of children”

“As in all undertakings of the soviet peoples, there is fostered the spirit of friendship amongst the peoples, warm wishes for all labouring masses, betterment of popular education and of the coming generation”

“Please convey greetings and good wishes to the educational workers of Manchester.”

The society is also taking part in the Manchester Literature Festival; Edward Docx author of the St Petersburg-set novel Self Help/Pravda and publisher Heather Reyes will be reading from the new city-pick St Petersburg anthology, on Wednesday 10 October. You can also check out their YouTube Channel for videos from the ‘Ties of Friendship Concert’ held in 2010.

You can view more photographs by visiting our Flickr set,  or if you would like to see them in person at the fiftieth anniversary event, here’s a link to free tickets.