On 20th April, MadLab left the sunny streets of Manchester to visit the London Victorian and Albert Museum (V&A). The outing is a part of The Ghosts of St Paul’s, an ‘All Our Stories’ Lottery National Heritage funded project which aims to encourage communities to take a proactive approach to discovering and preserving their local heritage.

The trip to the V&A included a tour of the fabulous Victorian collection which includes specimens from every day and haute couture clothing to intricate brass and ironmongery. It was a chance to see what inspired the designers, tinkerers and makers of the past, and understand how the industry of towns such as Manchester and other northern metropolis contributed to the economic and political might of Britain, the lynchpin of the largest Empire ever seen.

So far MadLab has hosted a variety of events as part of this project, which have included an Oral History Afternoon Tea where a group of people sat together to share memories of Northern Quarter in the past and how it has evolved from the 60’s onwards. Last year, Engels’ night created a storm, featuring pigs and opera singers in a dramatic presentation of the radical history of Manchester.

The V&A trip is a series of MadLab events about the history of the Northern Quarter, called The Ghosts of St Pauls. This project is supported by an ‘All Our Stories’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

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