Whit Friday memories at the Weavers Factory

Local art gallery plays Whit week memories digitised by Unlocking Our Sound Heritage

We’re really excited to announce our first public event. We have teamed up with the lovely people at the Weavers Factory to mark Whit Friday by playing some clips of local people talking about Whit celebrations a century ago.

Our first oral history collection was recorded by Alec Greenhalgh in the late 1980s. Alec lived in the Saddleworth area and he was particularly interested in older people’s memories of their childhoods in the early twentieth century.

Alec, like most good oral historians, made a point of asking his interviewees the same questions so he could get a variety of responses to any given subject. One of his standard questions was, ‘Now, what about special days in the year? Which would be the ones you always looked forward to?’

Nowadays the most common answer to this question might be Christmas, foreign holidays or birthdays – but most of Alec’s interviewees said Whit week was the highlight of their years.

Amy Lawton remembers her father’s excitement and preparations for the big day…

Amy Lawton on preparations for the big day (MANOH/34)

Albert Findlow, among many other interviewees, points out that Whitsuntide was one of the few occasions when children would get new clothes…

Albert Findlow on new clothes (MANOH/18)

For Phyllis Wagstaff the bands and their uniforms were the main attraction…

Phyllis Wagstaff on the bands in procession (MANOH/29)

One unnamed woman from Greenfield, born in 1893, remembers the sports activities and outings organised for children…

Unnamed woman on children’s sports (MANOH/02)

You can hear these and many more extracts from the collection this weekend at the Weavers Factory in Uppermill, to coincide with Simon Buckley’s We Play In Time and Whit Friday. The exhibition runs to 30 June 2019.

You can listen to these full-length oral history interviews (reference MANOH) in the archives search room at Manchester Central Library. Digitised in 2019 by Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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