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.