Manchester Histories Festival

The Bradford Pit Project; an update from one of Manchester Community Histories Award 2014 Winners - Lauren Murphy

Sunday 3 January 2016

In 2014 I won the Community Award as part of the Manchester Community Map of the Bradford Pit area courtesy Remembering Bradford Pit ProjectHistories Awards with The Bradford Pit Project. 

To give you a bit of background on the project, Bradford Colliery was a fundamental contributor to the fuel and power industry for years. Today, the Etihad campus occupies the site on which the colliery once stood. After its closure in 1968 and demolition in 1973 there have been various changes to East Manchester’s physical development and regeneration, which means there has been a lessening awareness of the area’s heritage.

My Grandfather was a former Bradford Miner and suffered an accident there which affected the rest of his life. After his passing I was inspired to research the history of the site and develop a project for a permanent commemoration. 

Miners visit St Brigids Primary School The project’s exhibition ‘Remembering Bradford Pit’ ran as part of Manchester Histories Festival in 2014 and was nominated for the award because of the work done with Beswick Library and St. Brigids Primary School. A visit was arranged to ‘tell the stories of the underground’ to the children. The event included activities such as ‘tally’ stamping and coal drawing to capture the children’s responses to the stories. The aim of the exhibition and miners visit was to help the Beswick/Bradford community rediscover what is an important part of the area’s heritage. Children drawings produced in response to listening to oral histories

During the awards ceremony, I was approached by Laing O’Rourke, sponsors of the Community Award, who were so impressed with the project that they offered me a 6 month placement during which I was appointed the role of ‘Regeneration and Community Co-ordinator’. I gained a fixed term contract with the company to work on The Bradford Pit Project full time to bring the project into fruition. Since then I have been able to spend my time developing the phases of the project in order to realise it's end aim of creating a landmark, that is a celebration of this pioneering area. 

The prize money has contributed to the development of the project’s website which allows the public to share their stories and memories on the area aiding the development of the project’s archive. The archive is to be housed at Archives+ Manchester Central Library as a permanent resource for generations to come. 

The recognition received and whole experience of Manchester Histories Festival, provided me the stepping stones and break the project needed in order to realise its full potential and aims. Without the festivals awards I wouldn’t have been able to propel the project to the stage it is currently at and have even been given the amazing opportunity to do this.

Entries and nominations for the 2016 Manchester Histories Community Awards 2016 close at 5pm on Friday 29th January 2016. Full details and application forms are available through the Manchester Histories' website.

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