Manchester Histories Festival

Hipsters & Heritage at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Manchester Craft & Design Centre is home to over 30 local artists, designers and makers across 18 studios. Situated in the heart of Manchester’s now vibrant Northern Quarter, it’s Victorian Market Hall building was once home to Smithfield Market where it sold fish and poultry to retailers within the city. Trading at the market ceased in 1973, but you can still spot two of the original fishmongers’ booths on the ground floor.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre               Manchester Craft and Design Centre
We have been a venue for craft since 1982 and we have played a major part in the regeneration of our local area with the very phrase ‘The Northern Quarter’ was coined in this building at a meeting of local inventive minds! We have gathered many stories across our 34 years in central Manchester from our resident makers, customers, visitors and neighbours. Our longest standing tenant, Anne Rowson from RA Designer Jewellery celebrated 30 years at Manchester Craft & Design Centre in 2016 and has one experience in particular which we think demonstrates the creativity, enthusiasm and ingenuity of the independent businesses, which have maintained the presence of craft in our city centre…

In the early days, when the Centre was Manchester Craft and Design Centre_Malibuknown as the Craft Village the tenants organised a Hawaiian themed fancy dress party to help promote the centre on the run up to Christmas. Handcrafted palm trees and cocktail bar duly installed, the party was well underway when the tenants realised the invited press had not turned up. The following morning, after the drinks and detritus of the party had been tidied away and normal making service resumed at the Centre, a journalist and photographer from the Manchester Evening News arrived 12 hours late, expecting to capture the action. Ever the sport, Anne recreated the party with some left over decorations and a stray straw skirt, sitting for the photographer in her underwear rather than a bikini.

Hear more about the diverse histories behind Manchester Craft & Design Centre at Craft Unravelled: Hipsters & Heritage, a FREE 20 minute informal tour of Manchester Craft & Design Centre on Wednesday 25th January, 1:30pm.

Guest blog by Lucy Harvey from Manchester Craft and Design Centre

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