Last week I met the lovely organisers of the Once Upon a Time history group at the Manchester Communication Academy, Collyhurst.
Talking to them about my quest to find more about the residents and spaces of Cropper Street/Osborne Street, they reminded me of the importance of micro-geographies: the social and sectarian boundaries that are invisible from all maps and most written records of places. So as historians and historical geographers, we need to drill down to the micro: the difference between one street and the next, the persistence of ‘parish xenophobia’ as Keith Snell perhaps somewhat pejoratively put it, the subtle gradations in social class that only residents recognised and acted upon.
Here are the front covers of a couple of their magazines. They talked vividly about the significance of that red rug on the bannisters of the ground floor flat. I won’t share the personal story here, but it reminds us again to be acutely aware of such signs, and listen to the people who remember what they mean.
If you have memories to share about Osborne Street, Collyhurst, do get in touch with me – firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the Once Upon a Time Group: https://www.communitymca.co.uk/becomingamember