Tuesday, 7 June 2016

"He paints the pictures......... And I tell the stories" him and me at the Manchester Histories Festival Manchester Town Hall ............... Saturday June 11

Now the thing about history is that for most people it is one of the most compelling subjects.

From stories on Chorlton Green
It includes everything from dark deeds in equally dark castles to the triumphs of those faced with all sorts of adversity to mad scientists and not so mad scientists revealing the secrets of the universe.

And in between there is everything else of which an individual’s own family history can trump the lot.

After all families will offer up stories of villains and heroes, as well as the mean and the generous and a multitude of other tales, some sad some funny but together they help explain who you are.

Now I take after the Scottish and German sides of our family but the rest including those I don’t even know in Derby and lots more who I do know in Canada have the same physical characteristics as my great grandfather who fought for the old Queen across bits of the Empire I can’t pronounce and went on to have two families neither of which knew of the others existence until recently.

They are spread out across two continents and for all I know there may be more.

So history for me pretty much has the lot and since 2010 has led to a very successful collaboration with local artist Peter Topping and to celebrate that partnership we will be at the Manchester Histories Festival Manchester Town Hall on Saturday June 11, talking about what they do best.

Appearing in "The stories behind the doors"  Manchester city centre pubs
We have called it simply "He paints the pictures....... And I tell the stories."

It all began when I was writing a blog about local history and needed a picture to enhance the story, Peter had a painting that fitted the bill and thus the story began.

From there began a partnership telling stories of the past matched with paintings of the present.

Together we have produced exhibits for The Big Green Festival in Chorlton, A History Wall covering 80 metres, and History Trail spanning the length and breadth of Chorlton’s cafes, bars and shops.

From Lost Commercial Manchester
We feature each year in Chorlton Arts Festival, and have written books about, Hough End Hall and Didsbury and we have commissioned to write a book about Alexandra Park and another book in collaboration with CAMRA about "The stories behind the doors" in Manchester City Centre pubs.

And along side this we continue to pursue independent projects.

Peter has exhibited his work at studios around the City and his paintings are in demand.

I wrote the Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy in 2012 which was a study of a small agricultural community just four miles of Manchester and have just completed Manchester and the Great War for the History Press.

Next year I will be working on a history of the Together Trust which was founded in 1870 as the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges.

From Salford Pubs
And now the partnership has extended to cover areas as far away as Macclesfield and London as well as closer to home in Salford and Manchester, includes one Tudor building, the strange tale of the “gates of hell" in Didsbury and even a telephone Exchange.

But above all it is the people who lived in the places Peter paints and the stories I uncover, like the day in 1911 when young Bertha Geary heard the “flying man” and told her friend “we saw the flying man on Tuesday night fly over head.  Beaumont is his name.  I wish you could have seen him.  It made such a noise.”

Now I could tell you more but instead I will just invite you down to the Town Hall where you can see our type of history and we can tell you more.

Location; pretty much everywhere but this Saturday for one day only, at the Manchester Town Hall

Paintings; the Lych Gate, Chorlton, © 2011 and Peveril of the Peak, 50 Newton Street, © 2013 and the Black Horse © 2015, Peter Topping, 
Facebook; Paintings from Pictures, Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

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