Saturday, 31 December 2016

Always look for the story behind the badge

Now the thing about badges is that they are easy to make offer up an instant message and with the passage of time tell a story.

I have been collecting them for over five decades although these days  I am less willing to actually wear them.

Once and it was a long time ago I would happily and proudly wear the latest campaign badge, until overtaken by a new one.

Today I don’t, which has nothing to do with the validity of the particular campaign or the issue but just because I am a grumpy old man.

That said they still fascinate me, and I still write about them.*

Added to which I now also collect other people’s as well and it was Mikky  posted recently by Stephen Marland that set me off.

I vaguely remember it but I cannot put a date to it and would be hard pressed to say whether it arose from a national campaign or a local one.

But that underlines that simple observation that anyone with a badge making machine can turn out a badge for any occasion and for all seasons.

Elections, birthday’s sales promotions and even books are fair game.

And here I own up to a series of personal badges.

The first was from my friend Susan from Canada who spent six weeks in Britain researching her family roots and made a special trio to Manchester.

We are both related to British Home Children who were those young people migrated to Canada, Australia and other visits of the old Empire from the 1870s onwards.  Theirs is still a story which is unfamiliar to many on both sides of the Atlantic.

And yet something like 100,000 children were sent to Canada and the practice continued into the 1970s in the case of Australia.

So I was pleased when as part of the swapping of gifts Susan gave me the Canadian badge along with some very nice sweet things.

In return she now has a Glad to be in Chorlton T shirt featuring the lych gate and a copy of the book on Hough End Hall written by me and Peter Topping.

And soon I will be sending for my own British Home Child Badge produced in Canada which will take pride of place in the collection.

But for now I shall close with the latest to roll off Peter’s badge machine which will be instantly recogniseable to many as part of the research for our new book on the Pubs of Manchester.**

And as ever there was a story in that badge, because yesterday as the sun shone we visited the first of the six pubs.

Starting at Knott Mill and moving on via the Rochdale Canal up to Liverpool Road and Deansgate, we met the landladies and managers and listened to some of the odd stories of the lives behind the doors.

You can order the book from 

Location; pretty much everywhere

Pictures; Milky, date unknown, from the collection of Stephen Maryland, Canada, 2016 from the collection of Andrew Simpson, Home Children Canada, 2015, courtesy of Judy Neville and Manchester Pubs 2016, from Peter Topping


**A new book on Manchester Pubs,

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