Stories of a Manchester Street

Inspired by a centenary street party in 2011 residents Elaine Bishop and Phil Barton decided to collect the life histories of their neighbours from all over the world.  The resultant book, Stories of a Manchester Street, was published by The History Press in May 2019.

A century on from its original Edwardian construction, this contemporary portrait of a street in inner Manchester tells the stories of today’s residents. Born in eighteen countries from four continents, the accounts told by the residents themselves narrate their journeys from nomadic herding in Somalia to conscientious objection in post-war Germany and the UK, and from arranged marriages in South Asia to arriving from rural Ireland to find work. With a common theme of making a new life in Manchester, this is an important account of a successful multicultural community in an ever-divided world. Profiling today’s residents  alongside those who occupied their homes at the time of the 1911 census, Stories of a Manchester Street provides a colourful reflection on the changes, resilience and sense of community that lives just around the corner on our inner-city streets.

There was a celebration of the project and launch of its touch screen installation at Manchester Central Library in 2015. Six local residents gave their stories to a packed audience and the event overran so that eventually security had to ask us to leave!

The book was launched at a successful event at the Whitworth Art Gallery on the 23rd May, 2019. Over a hundred people attended. Opening by co-author Elaine Bishop and with six local residents giving their stories and Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar and MP Afzal Khan welcoming the initiative.

The World on our doorstep

Rusholme in South Manchester is a great cultural melting pot, which has attracted permanent and transient populations from around Great Britain and the wider world. The research, images and inspiration for this book came from the Residents Group attached to one street in Rusholme, linking the 1911 census with the stories of the households living in those houses just over 100 years later. Activities relating to each story are suggested, along with further ideas for class activities.

£4.50  Available from:

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust Bookshop

Living together after empire

In 2015, the Lincoln Theological Institute at Manchester  University held an International Conference on Multiple Faiths in Postcolonial Cities: living together after empire. Helena Kettleborough, Elaine Bishop and Phil Barton presented a paper about the project creativing stories of a Manchester Street. As part of the presentation,  a group of conference delegates from all over the world were invited to come to Rusholme to meet local residents. Local residents offered their experiences and a lively discussion on the positives and challenges of living together followed. Following the presentation, there is a book chapter in the book of the conference from Palgrave McMillian.

Victoria Baths Exhibition

Held in the Edwardian Victoria Baths in September 2017, portraits of the residents of a Manchester Street were displayed in the changing cubicles surrounding the Gala Pool.  Visited by over 2,000 local residents and heritage enthusiasts, amazingly, the numbers of the houses exactly matched the number of households on the street! x

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