'Skills, Schools & Stories'
was developed as an integrated programme of
activities designed to provide opportunities
for people of all ages to get involved in the
restoration of Murrays' Mills and the regeneration
of the Ancoats area. The project had a total
cost of £150,000 and was funded by the
Heritage Lottery Fund, with private sector sponsorship
and 'contributions in kind' from volunteers.
A Community Development Officer was employed
for two years to develop and implement the programme.
The project proved so successful that Heritage
Works BPT has decided to incorporate the Skills,
Schools & Stories activities into all its
The project focussed on three
A series of open days enabled young people
to witness construction skills, especially the
specialist conservation techniques being employed
in the Murrays' restoration project. The target
audience was 14 to 19 year olds. Feedback from
the training sessions, which were supervised
by Wates Construction's Training Manager, was
very positive. Groups that particularly benefited
included students from the Buzz Pupil Referral
Unit in Gorton and participants from the Manchester
Young Offending Team.
teachers' resource pack was distributed free
of charge to all Manchester primary schools.
The CD ROM enables Key Stage 2 pupils to learn
more about the heritage of their local area,
with cross-curricular activities to complement
the national curriculum in arts, humanities
and ICT subjects. Ten local primary schools
participated in a series of site visits and
school-based art, drama and story-telling workshops,
with over 300 children aged between 6 and 10
being able to participate.
This part of the programme involved recording
the memories and memorabilia of older residents
and former residents of the Ancoats area. Subtitled
'All Work and No Play?', the archive is intended
to celebrate the great sense of community in
Ancoats and to rekindle that community spirit
through intergenerational activities and celebrations.
A group of volunteers completed a programme
of training in interviewing techniques and photograph
scanning at the North West Sound Archive. They
identified people to interview and visited them
in their homes. Over 30 interviews were undertaken
with people who were brought up or lived in
the Ancoats area. The original interviews will
be held on disc at the North West Sound Archive.
Some have been used to support exhibitions about
Ancoats life, as part of the Skills, Schools
and Stories project and in Manchester galleries.
As a celebration of the project,
and a keepsake for those who took part, an "Ancoats
Scrapbook: All Work and No Play?" was
published, featuring quotes and photos from
the interviewees, ranging in subject from swimming
in canals, to working conditions in the mills,
to days out to Blackpool. Unfortunately, we
have run out of copies, but copies have been
distributed to all Manchester City libraries,