Saturday, 21 February 2009

Manchester, England

Postmark illegible, dated 5 January 2009.

Cathedral. University of Manchester.
River Irwell Walkway. The Library, St. Peter's Square.

At first I wondered what I could say about this card. One of my sons was a student at the university, that was about all. But it's amazing what you find out when you start on the trail of research.

Manchester's wealth grew on the cotton trade, with direct and indirect connections to the slave trade. Nevertheless in 1797 Thomas Clarkson gave a speech in Manchester Cathedral which gave new focus to the abolitionist movement and more local and regional lobbying emerged. Even after the 1807 Abolition of slavery Act, the movement was determined to end slavery in the colonies.

The Central Library is in St. Peter's Square, at the southern end of what was St Peter's Fields, the site of the notorious Peterloo Massacre in 1819 where troops attacked a crowd causing several deaths and many injuries.

From the Peterloo Massacre onwards Manchester became a centre of political activism and reform from the earliest days of Luddism and the radical press through to the Chartists. Jamaican-born William Davidson became involved in radical politics after the massacre and in the revolutionary organization known as the Spenceans, who were inspired by the American and French Revolutions.

So much you can learn from one small postcard!
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  1. I don't know why but I always seem to meet people from this town! There seem to be a zillion expats from Manchester living in Paris. My parents live in Manchester, New England. They always think that's quite a hoot!

  2. I'm officially stumped. You call them letterboxes.. What country do you live in Sheila:)

  3. It is the magic of a rectangular piece of thick paper that explore the emotions of every person and convey the life's message.

  4. @Marie, I live in England but I have lived 3 years in Paris and we do return to France quite frequently.

    @India on wheels, you are so right, it's magic, and that's why I much prefer a card that has a message written on it, something personal about the place or the person who sent it.


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