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Revealing the hidden history of Whitworth Park

16 Jun 2010

Special event on 21 June

You are warmly invited to come to a special event in the Whitworth Park on Monday 21 June to hear about a brand new project to reveal the hidden history of the park.

Did you know that Whitworth Park has a rich history dating back to 1890 when it was established as a Victorian pleasure ground, complete with a boating lake, bandstand, observatory, statues and covered walkways? Before that, the area was known as Potter’s Fields and was also the location of a large villa called Rusholme House.

Over the years most of the traces of these earlier features have disappeared, but strong memories of the park and its surrounding remain.

The Manchester Museum, the University’s Archaeology Department, the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, are just beginning a project to locate, survey and excavate some of the hidden features of the park, to record people’s memories of using it, and to undertake a study of how people use the park today and what it means to them. The end result will be a detailed historic archive about the park, a website, and improved information in the park itself.

We would like to invite you to visit the park on 21 June any time between 1pm and 4pm. There will be tours every hour on the hour when you will hear about the project, see the survey trying to locate the buried features, and there will be objects to handle and historic photographs of the park.

Central to the project is the involvement of local communities and schools. We want as many people to be involved, by sharing their memories and thoughts about the park, by undertaking projects at school, and by helping with research. So, if you’re interested in finding out more, please come along to Whitworth Park to the statue of Edward VII (near the Whitworth Art Gallery) any time from 1pm to 4pm.

There will be a follow-up meeting on Thursday 9 September at the Whitworth Art Gallery for people who want to be involved.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact:


Maria Balshaw (Director, Whitworth Art Gallery)
Professor Sian Jones (Head of Archaeology, University of Manchester)
Nick Merriman (Director, the Manchester Museum)
Julie Devonald (Project Manager, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre)