This year we commemorate the ending of the First World War- the armistice following four years of struggle and sacrifice. We believe the story does not end there. Returning soldiers were promised ‘Homes fit for Heroes’ by David Lloyd-George, and a series of transformative policies were enacted to improve the lives of those men and women who had won the war. 2018 also marks the centenary of the Tudor Walters Report, the recommendations of which set high minimum standards for future social housing provision. Strongly influenced by the principles of the Garden Cities movement it favoured low density semi-detached housing, cul-de-sacs, three bedrooms and a bathroom, and has had a defining impact on the look of our houses, towns and cities. Equally, 2019 marks one hundred years since the passing of the ‘Addison Act’: the first piece of legislation mandating the construction of large-scale, high quality social housing by local authorities.
Why do streets in Burnage look like this? Who designed and built them? Image reproduced courtesy of Archives+ at Central Manchester Library.
Burnage was transformed following these interventions. Its housing estates owe their existence to the post-war drive to build new housing, headed by the Manchester Corporation, with its housing stock and street patterns shaped by the Tudor Walters Report. These anniversaries offer us an important opportunity to celebrate our built inheritance and civic identity. We want to engage local people in unearthing the stories behind the estate's construction, chart the lives of those who moved into these freshly built houses, appreciate how they created a new community from scratch, and celebrate the stories those who have since moved here and made Burnage their home.
What we will be doing:
- We will be recruiting a team of Champions who will help us with our research, exploring the archives at Manchester Central Library with our partners at Archives+, and sharing their findings. These will meet at both Burnage Library and the Westcroft Centre.
- Filming a stop-motion aerial plan of the Burnage estate(s) in Lego.
- 'Stitching Burnage Together': creating a patchwork quilt with sections created by community groups across Burnage.
- Recording short films and oral histories of local residents. If you have a story to tell, or know of someone else who does, please get in touch!
- Displaying our findings at an exhibition held at Manchester Central Library from April - June 2020.
- Hosting a series of heritage based activities for local people and families, including walks and talks.
- Producing a range of resources which can be used to learn the history of the Burnage area, and the growth of the estates.
- Engaging local schools with activities and material exploring the development of social housing.
- Creating a digital library in which our resources are stored and can be shared with others.
- Working with our partners including Dr. Charlotte Wildman from Manchester University, Archives+ at Central Library, and Southway Housing.
How can I get involved?
Want to become one of our volunteer Champions? We want to recruit ten volunteer Champions to support and promote our project. You don't need any knowledge other than an interest in the local area, and will get the opportunity to learn new skills, including:
- Researching original archive material held at Archives+ at Manchester Central Library, documenting the building of the estates in Burnage.
- Conducting oral history interviews with Burnage residents, editing and uploading the files to our digital library.
- Creating short 'Moving Stories' films, blending oral history accounts with photographs.
- Writing blog posts on our website documenting any interesting finds they make.
- Selecting material for our exhibition at Manchester Central Library.
- Promoting our project across Burnage.
If you are interested in getting involved, or know someone who may be keen, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or pop in to either Burnage Library or the Westcroft Centre.
Any other way?
Do you have any stories about the Burnage area, or know of any friends or family members who may have information, photographs or other material of interest? Then please get in touch with us. We will be organising a range of activities across the Burnage area and beyond throughout the programme, so please check our events calendar, come along and support our events.