Take part in ‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’

Next year marks 70 years since the publication of the first Lancashire Life magazine. To celebrate this anniversary, museums, galleries and heritage venues across Lancashire have been invited to participate in a special project called A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects.  We want you to help us to select one object from our collections that tells something of Lancashire’s long and fascinating story. You can read more about our shortlisted objects below. From all the stories and objects submitted, the final list of 70 objects will be revealed in Lancashire Life next year.

A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects 
is an 18 month partnership between Lancashire Heritage Learning, Museum Development North West and Lancashire Life magazine, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Lancashire Life deputy editor Paul Mackenzie said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to shout about the historic treasures on show around Lancashire. The hard part will be choosing just 70 items to tell Lancashire’s story. We’re looking forward to receiving nominations which show what a fascinating and varied history the county has.” Lancashire Life covers the old county palatine – from the river Mersey in the south up to Coniston, and west to Trawden, Littleborough and Ashton-under-Lyne – and the project is open to any museum or heritage attraction in that area.

We’ve selected four objects from our collections and we’d like you to vote for the object you’d like us to nominate for A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects. Find out more about the objects below and then vote in our poll at the end of the article. The poll closes on Wednesday 14 December 2016 so vote now!

1. Cotton Factory Times, 1885-1937
Cotton Factory Times was a weekly newspaper established in 1885 by the principal Lancashire cotton trade unions representing the Spinners, the Weavers and the Card Room operatives. It was published to enlighten and entertain the mill workers of Lancashire and featured news from the union and local industry. It was often written by local correspondents and is probably best remembered for its entertainment section, which included serialised novels and dialect tales. One very popular column was “Mirth in the Mill” which was made up of jokes sent in by readers including this one, “Why is it called a mule? Because it is owned by a tight-fisted ass.”

In 1907 a weekly cartoon began that looked at the lives and working conditions of the cotton workers. It was written by cartoonist and famous Lancashire dialect writer Sam Fitton. He created over 400 cartoons for the newspaper which form a unique record of the lives of the Lancashire cotton workers, from the point of view of those at the sharp end of the industry. The newspaper ceased publication in 1937 as the cotton industry declined across the North West and the mills closed. It remains a valuable social history document that demonstrates the importance of the cotton industry to Lancashire’s past.

2. A Manchester Alphabet, written and drawn by Roger Oldham, 1906
Architect Roger Oldham wrote and illustrated A Manchester Alphabet, an A-Z of some of the more famous, and infamous, people and places in the city. Each illustration was accompanied by a short, humorous poem that takes the reader on a journey around Edwardian Manchester from Ancoats to the (Bellevue) Zoo, via The Guardian, Whit Week Walks and Trams.

Roger Oldham studied at Manchester Grammar School and his family connections can be traced back to the founder of the Grammar School, Hugh Oldham.  He set up his architectural office in Manchester in 1896 and drawing was an essential part of his practice. He had a passion for learning and shared his enthusiasm for art and literature through regular lectures given at the Manchester Corporation; to architectural and literary societies; and to working men’s associations in and around Manchester.

More than 100 years since it was published, A Manchester Alphabet remains a charming snapshot of the city and its citizens at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 2015, the Alphabet was revisited by the students of Manchester School of Art and the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. A new set of poems and illustrations was published in A New Manchester Alphabet taking readers on a journey from Afflecks, via New Islington, to Ziferblat.

3. Vase by Jessie Jones for Pilkington’s Lancastrian Tile and Pottery Company, 1907
The Pilkington’s Lancastrian Tile and Pottery Company was founded in 1892 at Clifton Junction, Salford, after shafts sunk to find coal found good pot making clay instead. The company went on to make tiles, vases and bowls and were particularly renowned for their Art Pottery and lustre glazes.  They employed some of the most well-known designers of the day, including Walter Crane and Charles Voysey, as well as offering opportunities to unknown designers such as Jessie Jones, whom they encouraged to attend art school. Jessie worked in the Pilkington’s factory between 1906 and 1909, and attended the Manchester School of Art in 1908, 1911, and in 1924. After qualifying as an art teacher, she left England and went to teach in India and South Africa, where she would remain until her death.

Vase designed by Jessie Jones for Pilkington's Tile Company, 1907
Vase designed by Jessie Jones for Pilkington’s Tile Company, 1907

Only a handful of Jones’ pots survive and these all date from 1906-1909. At that time Pilkington’s was unusual for an Art Pottery, in that it allowed female decorators and potters to sign the pots and use their own monogram/rebus, so we are sure about which are Jones’ work and the quality of it.

1. “Love You More” by Buzzcocks, sleeve design by Malcolm Garrett, 1978
Buzzcocks are Manchester’s first punk group. Formed in Bolton in 1976 by Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, they were, and still remain, hugely influential on popular music across the globe, with eternally popular songs like “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” and “What Do I Get”, which is often cited as a “masterpiece”.

This sleeve was designed by Malcolm Garrett, internationally renowned graphic designer, who was then a student at Manchester Polytechnic. Many of Garrett’s sleeve designs of the 1970s and 80s are now iconic. “Love You More” holds a special place in many Lancastrian hearts because it was displayed on the wall of The Kabin on Coronation Street for years in late 1970s and early 1980s, when it used to stock records. The single represents the unique and outstanding contribution Manchester has made to Britain’s cultural industries and, in particular, how Manchester has been at the heart of the British music scene for many years.




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