The Resident Craft Cow, Mods and Rockers

Submitted by Amy Wilkinson, from studio 1 via email:
I miss our resident craft cow! He used to be in the garden at the front of the building. From the Manchester cow parade. I think he was left behind? I love this picture of him in the snow, it really brought out his colours! (I think he is a he?!)
Amy also sent in a photo of a mod invasion from 2009 which reminded me of another photo I’d picked up of some of the vintage cars at a Teddy Boy meet on the other side of MCDC in 2011. The Northern Quarter certainly attracts a diverse group of people with a common yearning for the values and aesthetics of the past, be it vintage or subculture fashion, craft beers and real ales. Investing in hand crafted objects fits into this landscape with customers, visitors, tenants and staff all investing in the valuable emotional and historic connection made between maker and product, item and owner.

Children of Drowned Fishermen

Another gem from Eddie Cartwright’s research, kindly transcribed by Kaylee at MCDC:
On the 10th October 1891 the first ever “Lifeboat Saturday” was held in Manchester, passing through the Fish Market. The worst ever lifeboat disaster occured in 1886, when The Mexico struck a sandbank in rough sea. Three lifeboats reached the scene, and a total of 27 lifeboatmen lost their lives helping others at sea. A fund was set up shortly after to help the victims of this disaster, which raised a total of £50,000. Soon after this a Lancashire Businessman recognised that the RNLI should not only receive money for disasters, but instead deserved annual support. He became the creator of Manchester’s Lifeboat Saturday, which attracted 30,000 people.
The fund-raising parade featured orphans of the drowned fishermen and helped the city’s RNLI to raise their annual contribution from £200 to £5,500. Its founder, Sir Charles Macara, wanted funds to not be solely dependent on wealthy investors but funding should come from “the streets” too. Following this 1891 parade Lifeboat Saturdays became hugely popular, continuing to this day under the name of “Flag Day”.

The North West Film Archive

I had a very exciting trip to the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University a few weeks ago and have been able to compile a small showcase of three very special films of Smithfield Markets in their collection from the early 1900s and the 1970s. I think the aerial shot of the markets around 4 minutes is really something, but really all of it brings to life the stories collected over Collecting History these last few weeks.

Footage courtesy of the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University with additional thanks to Salford University for use of the final black and white film.

The Markets and Food Suppliers of Manchester
Smithfield Market Manchester 1853 – 1973
Smithfield Market 1973, copyright of Salford University

The Sun Girl

Submitted to the MCDC office by Carol Mowl,

We had a Malibu-sponsored Christmas party. Fancy dress – I dressed as a parrot. My daughter Hannah got ink on her from screen printing T-shrts and at that point I wondered if I should be bringing her to work!

Anne from RA Designer Jewellery dropped by with this cut out from the Manchester Evening News last week and the back story to this shot made it all the better. Apparently the press had been invited to the sponsored Christmas party but had never shown up. The next day Anne was in her studio and the photographer appeared so she had to recreate the party, in her underwear rather than a bikini.

A Creative Buzz

Submited by Ann Toplis to the blog

My studio, Ann Toplis Designs, was upstairs tucked away in the corner from 1993 to 1997, where I made furniture and gifts from solid wood. Day to day, I have lovely memories of breakfasts with my fellow studio holders, and the creative buzz that prevailed in the very slowly up and coming Northern Quarter area. The best part was the advice that was always on offer from the other more experienced businesses. And of course being one of the newer businesses, we learnt from each other. It was a great time of my life and having moved to Holland, where there in nothing similar, I really miss it.

Submitted by Helen rushworth to the blog

I moved in to Studio 3 (opposite the cafe) in October 1989 not long after finishing my MA in Ceramics at Staffordshire Poly. I shared the studio for the first few years with Alan Grieg who made lovely brightly painted pots and plates, and on Saturdays we spent many a tortured afternoon listening to Man City getting thrashed on the radio – how times have changed! I remained at the Craft Centre right up till 2002 when I left to create babies instead. I have loads of great memories – bizarre fancy dress parties, visits from our one time patron Tony Wilson, an unknown Doves playing a gig on the stage outside my door, Nigel’s delicious ciabattas and soups, lots of bickering over being ‘co-operative’, but mainly I remember it as being a fantastic place to work and share creative ideas with a bunch of like-minded folk. Long may it live.

MCDC in Manchester

Submitted by Ann Toplis to the blog

My most memorable day while working at the MCDC was in 1996 when all of a sudden there were helicopters droning overhead ordering evacuation of the city centre. We had no idea if we should stay or leave. And then soon after, the bomb went off and the whole building shook to its core. We were so lucky that only a couple of windows cracked. It was quite a task to get home that day to the south side of the city. The city centre was a eery place for the next few months.

Submitted by Lisa to the blog

My first memory of the Craft and Design centre was when I used to visit with my dad in the early 90′s I must have been only 7 or 8 and living in Warrington, so a trip to Manchester was exciting! We would visit the Corn Exchange and Afflecks Palace, see the goth kids in what was then a very leafy, lush picadilly gardens and visit the Craft and Design Centre. I remember drinking hot spiced apple juice from the MCDC cafe and loving the feeling of the place. We visited Manchester regularly until I was old enough to visit alone. And now 20years later I live here and still love to visit the Craft and Design centre – though unfortunately the Corn Exchange’s new manifestation as The Triangle leaves a lot to be desired! It inspired me years ago to be creative and to follow my creative dreams – I’ve always made things and now am working on making it into a business, thanks to those early years of seeing creativity and alternative ways of living around me.