The (changing) Condition of the Working Class

18 Jun

An architects illustration of the planned Cheetham's building

Phase 1 of the Chetham’s School of Music redevelopment and extension is finally getting underway in earnest on the site of Hunt’s Bank opposite Victoria Station in Manchester.  The cranes that are moving in mark the start of what promises to be a major transformation for the area around Cathedral Gardens which aims to open up the Medieval heart of Manchester, currently hidden away within the Chetham’s complex, to the general public providing a new concert venue for the city as well as 21st Century facilities for the school.  You can keep up to date with the major changes taking shape via their webcam positioned over the building site.

Many people don’t know that the library at Chet’s is open to the public already – you just need to visit on a weekday and ask to be let in at the gate.  I highly recommend a visit, not only for the incredibly preserved architecture and atmosphere, a real rarity in Manchester, but also to meet Dr Fergus Wild, Senior Librarian, knowledge bank of all things medieval Manchester and possesor of fantastic vocal chords.

The work starting reminded me that Andrew Brooks and I carried out an experimental photo shoot there about a year ago, which included talking to Dr Wild about the rich history of the library and its associations with the writing of the Communist Manifesto.  A little of which you can listen to here.

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