Friday, 2 June 2017

“No destitute child in the city need be without food and shelter” ....... the story of our children’s charity

In 1912 Manchester was by any criteria a fine example of enterprise, innovation and success.

It had built on its earlier history as a centre of textile production, diversified into engineering and with brash confidence built a canal which linked the twin cities to the sea.

In its exchanges intelligence and commodities were traded with the rest of the world, and if you wanted evidence of that trade you only had to stand in the Great Chamber of the Town Hall and gaze on the coats of arms of the countries, cities and towns that we dealt with.

But in that great centre of wealth there was also grinding poverty and just a short walk from the opulence of the fine buildings of commerce were dark narrow streets and even narrower enclosed courts where “poverty busied itself.”

And still in 1912 there were children who were destitute, relied on selling matches and newspapers on the streets and in some cases were at the mercy of uncaring parents.

For over four decades the Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuge had cared for these children, offering an instant bed for the night, along with homes, specialising in vocational training, holidays by the sea, and for some the offer of a new life in Canada.

All of which is the trailer for an exciting new exhibition at Central Ref featuring some of the costumes, art work and research undertake by a group of students who were engaged in finding out about the work of Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuge.

“The display contains artwork created by young people from the Together Trust around the children who were emigrated from Manchester to Canada. After learning about some of their stories the young people did a number of artwork pieces, from big pictures that represented each of the children from the case studies, to smaller pictures exploring other people who might have lived at the time.”*

And if you want to know more I suggest you follow the link to their blog, and when you have done that get down to Central Ref.

Location; Manchester

Pictures; courtesy of the Together Trust

* Saving the Children, Work of the Boys‘and Girls’ Refuges, Manchester Guardian, April 12 1912

** Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces at Manchester Central Library, 

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