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Moss Side church and community come together to share bygone memories

  • Stories of growing up, working and living in Moss side are shared
  • Residents treated to film about historic Alexandra Park

Residents have been sharing memories and archive footage of Moss Side as part of a nostalgic lookback at Alexandra Park

An event was held last week at the St James’s Church in Manchester for members of the public to attend to view archived footage of Moss Side and to talk about the future of the south Manchester neighbourhood.

The night consisted of a viewing of a short film by local filmmakers Ana Lucia Cueves and Fred Coker about Whalley Range’s historic Alexandra Park.

Hannah Fielding, an assistant archivist at the St James' Church Heritage group and one of the organisers of the event said: “One of the women named Hillary talked about going to an anti fascist rally there (Alexandra Park) in the '50s. The film showed a lot of past uses of the park including Moss Side carnival, and some Stop the War rallies in the '70s.

"Her story was really interesting because I’ve never heard of the anti-fascist movement being connected to Moss Side. It really showed as a community that Moss Side has changed many many times over the years and the park seems to have been able to fulfil each need at every turn.”

A discussion about Moss Side’s past and future was also held as people were given the chance to voice their opinions on what has changed, tell their stories of their time at the park, and what they thought would be the best form of action for the future.

Hannah added: “I think the night went really well, I was really pleased. We weren’t very sure what to expect, it’s one of the first times we’ve tried to gather people for one of our own heritage space, for people to come and tell their stories. It had a really good turnout in the sense of variety of the people who were there and it was really fascinating to listen to the stories people had going all the way back to the '40s.

Whit Sunday parade circa 1970            Whit Sunday parade circa 1970

“It really showed that we were right to bring the heritage space back to life, I know there are other fantastic heritage spaces including Alexandra Park, but we are really interested in learning about people’s stories, one of the things we want to do is to figure out what the community wants to save now for their own children and grandchildren to be ale to look back on in another 20 to 30 years, not just collecting photographs and things like that.”

The history of Moss Side has been in focus recently with photographer Daniel Meadows having an exhibition of his work documenting 1970s Moss Side on the BBC news webiste, and as part of the BBC Inside Out Northwest.

The St James' Church Heritage group hopes to hold many more events in the near future as well as preserving any and all documentations of the community throughout the years.

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