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.