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

Early Elbow gigs & a new Patron

At the launch day last Saturday it was announced that MCDC had a new patron in the form of Guy Garvey, lead singer from Elbow. Elbow performed at Manchester Craft Village several years ago and he had this to say,

Years ago I’d sit and scribble in the café, or wander around the shops watching people work. It’s one of those warm personal destinations that I’ll meet friends from out of town in and if you like to give personal gifts then there is nowhere better in the North West. I’m very proud to be a patron

Old and New

Submitted by Rochelle to the blog,

Silverlode was in MCDC for 23 years. I was there for 11 of those years. The Craft Centre was run as a cooperative back then. Ewa Barker, Tara Kirkpatrick, Rochelle Dodson, Gary Arnfield and Rob Fulton were all tenants at MDCD and part of who made up Silverlode over the years. It was through Tara’s patience and Ewa’s dogged determination to take on every request (argh) that I learned the skills I have acquired today.

Marketing MCDC seems to have been a lively issue with tenants, staff and visitors over the last 30 years, from it’s initial guise as an artists co-operative to it’s current incarnation as a managed organisation, and to it’s names: Manchester Craft Village, Manchester Craft Centre, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, MCDC. The Centre is now one of the organisations under the Arts Council National Portfolio funding programme and with this comes new developments in the form of a new website with a selling platform for tenants and more opportunities to work with and support external and local creativity. An exciting future certainly, but here’s a little bit of history..

Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

Copyright Ed Chadwick 2007,

Brideshead Bad Behaviour

sumitted by Kate Day, director of MCDC

Hopefully one of us has mentioned at some point that MCDC features in the 1981 classic serialisation of Brideshead Revisited?  In fact a drunken Sebastian Flyte crashes his car into the front of the building, only to be arrested by the rozzers on Copperas St!  Here’s the Youtube link – the crash happens around 21 mins.

Apparently in 1981 Manchester was a cheap place to film so the series producers (Granada?) used the NQ as a location.  We think that the club that Sebastian & mates get sloshed at is probably filmed at Band on the Wall.

Absolutely thrilled to discover The Complete History of Drinking in the Northern Quarter project this week, Keen to discover more about them and see where our projects crosses over, more about this later..

We have launched!

We have officially launched the exhibition and project space at MCDC! Thanks to speakers, Sue Fletcher (Chair of the MCDC Board Of Directors), Councillor Mike Amesbury (Executive Member for Leisure & Culture, MCC) and Jane Beardsworth (Regional Director, Arts Council North West).

I ran a drop clay and metal stamping workshop with the help of my glamorous assistants, Fabian, Ginger and Hattie. There were Blue Lagoons and Tequila Sunrises inspired by the 1982 opening and live music music by Tom Thorp & English Electric, specially commissioned for the 30th anniversary of the Centre drawing on the history of the building itself, from it’s initial use as a Manchester’s fish market, to it’s modern day guise as MCDC.

I’m next in the space at MCDC on Saturday 5th May, 2-5pm if you would like to call in and tell me your story but you can pop in anytime and leave your memories with the exhibition, or leave them with the blog here.

Collecting History Launch – Saturday 28th April 2012

We launch Collecting History in the exhibition space at MCDC Saturday 28th April with drop in workshops, live music from Thomas Thorp (saxophone) and English Electric (electro DJ/composer), and 1982-tastic food and drinks from Oak St. Cafe. Launch runs from 2-5pm – all welcome!

The exhibition will be added to, tweaked and reworked over the course of the project, until the 30th June. Comments left here will be transferred to the exhibition and I will be in residence at MCDC collecting your thoughts on Manchester Craft & Design Centre (dates to follow). I look forward to hearing from you!

More information: MCDC and Facebook

First Impressions

I started bimbling around MCDC on Wednesday and have some wonderful audio recordings from some of the tenants for the exhibition that will probably make an appearance on the blog too. In talking about the history of the centre it’s becoming quite apparent that the first visit here made a lasting impression on people who later came to work here..

submitted by Dena Bagi, Exhibitions & Events Officer at MCDC

My Dad took me to Manchester Craft and Design Centre on a day out when i was 17. I had just decided to study Ceramics at University, so he thought it would be fitting. I remember being overwhelmed by the Centre and adamantly deciding that i would have a studio at the Centre when i became a successful ceramicist!

I currently work at MCDC, but i’m not a ceramicist. I manage the exhibitions programme and learning instead. I still love it and it’s a very nice place to work.

submitted by Eve Redmond, MCDC tenant, to the blog

The first time I went into the Craft Village as it was known then was around 1988/89. I was a student at South Manchester College doing a BTEC in Jewellery and had come all the way from Ireland to do the course as there was no jewellery courses in Eire at the time. Two graduates Rob & Gary who were friends of a friend had joined Silverlode. I was amazed to see them setting up business after finishing the course I had just completed. However I wanted to learn more and went on to London to study at St Martins. When I returned in 1993, I went into RA Design and Anne started selling my work there. It was my first outlet after graduating. I will always be grateful to Anne for taking my work and giving me confidence to apply to other outlets and build up my business. In 2002, Deborah Zeldin O’Neill an existing tenant in MCDC needed someone to share and asked me to join forces. We set up Divinity in 2002 and it has grown from strength to strength over the last ten years. Its a special year for MCDC being 30 years old, but it’s also a special year for me as it’s my 10 year anniversary being here and I’m now Artistic Director on the board. I love it and hope to stay as long as possible.

submitted by Jane Blease, tenant at MCDC, to the blog

I moved to Manchester from my home town Southport in 2002 for university and soon discovered the Craft Centre. I used to do all my christmas and birthday shopping at the centre but never dreamt that I would end up being a tenant. I did the setting up scheme with the Design Initiative 2006-2008 and got some funding to do the Design Show Liverpool. During the show I met quite a few MCDC tenants who convinced me to apply for a vacant studio and before I knew it I was part of the team. I now share studio 24 with my lovely friend Nell. It’s been a wonderful three years with my new extended family. Happy 30th Birthday MCDC!

submitted by Deborah Forrest to the blog

Its autumn 2008, a rather warm day, and I’m wandering around Manchester following some guy rattling on about buildings and key dates in Manchester’s history. I’m preoccupied with thoughts that being a mature student might not be for me; after all I signed up for a degree in Jewellery & Applied Art, not charging round city centres with a rather random bunch of today’s youth, and one thankfully older than me lecturer. Added to my plight was rather unsuitable footwear and an inherent ineptitude when it comes to finding the same place twice; so Mike as he turned out to be called, was wasting his time with the ‘orientation trip’, all I would remember were sore feet in the morning. Then as we piled to a stop in the street I vaguely here the words ‘craft centre’…okay that sounds a bit more like it, if nothing else it’s indoors. So here I am at Manchester Craft and Design Centre on a sunny September day, and this is my oasis, not least because Mike is leaving us here and we can ‘explore’ at our leisure. I remember thinking how odd it was to find this beautiful building ‘tucked away behind a car park’. Stepping inside the sun was flooding through the glass roof, and it felt then, as it still does to me today, like you are stepping out of the city into another world. It also turned out to be where my soon to be jewellery tutor, Eve Redmond, had her studio, Divinity. So things were looking up, there were loads of fab things to see here and my lecturer actually had her own jewellery studio…perhaps giving this student lark a chance might be worth a go!

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