The Journey Of Glass: Linda Carver [#4 Endings]
11 June was meant to be the last day of the exhibition, and on Saturday we had had more than 50 visitors. So much of this interest came from members of the glassmaking families, glass artists, glass collectors and people generally interested in the history of Ancoats itself. So when I looked out of the window on Saturday morning and saw the rain teeming down I wasn’t at all hopeful about many more people turning up, on our final day. But how wrong could I have been! Before midday already fifteen people had arrived despite being soaked to the skin. Offers of a ‘hot cuppa, hang your anoraks on the radiator’ and that was it. From then on a pattern followed, a lull, then the sound of boots on the wooden floor of Bridge 5 Mill bringing in another group of people.
As they dripped in I ask the question: ‘What made you come?’ – the answer came back loud and clear: ‘We just didn’t want to miss it and Saturday was our only chance.’ Believe me, we could have made a killing selling umbrellas and rain macs. The previous day a couple of children had made a stab at drawing pieces from the exhibition and we now have a Wall of Art begging for more sketches.
Just before the exhibition closed on Saturday three young lads soaked to the skin popped their heads in at the door - attracted by the Manchester Histories bunting and tempted by biscuits and juice. They were invited to come and see the glass and went away with a handout and possibly the potential to become future members of Ancoats Dispensary Trust - who knows.
We worked out that there had been approximately 80 visitors since Wednesday which isn’t half bad considering Bridge 5 Mill isn’t particularly a well-known venue and the weather was dismal on Saturday. The bonus is that just around the corner at Theatre at the Mill in Hope Mill you can get a lovely sandwich, soup and coffee in a great atmosphere and for a very reasonable price.
A big thanks to everyone from us who gave their support as both curators and meet and greet personnel. There is already an acknowledgement poster up at the exhibition if you get the chance you will see just how many people have been involved in both the preparation and setting up of ‘The Glory of Glass in Ancoats: A Hidden History’.
Once again we have proved – ‘We do things differently in Ancoats’.
PS: I am now being accosted in Ancoats with shouts of ‘Shut your gob’ and am trying not to take this personally!
PPS: The exhibition, although it will be mostly unstaffed, has now been extended up to 24 June (weekdays only) between 12 noon and 5pm. So there is time for any budding artists to rise to the challenge of drawing the procession of glassmakers from 1832!
This article was written by Linda Carver, a director of Ancoats Dispensary Trust and co-founder of the initial campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary in 2011. This series, The Journey of Glass, will be written as part of Ancoats Dispensary Trust’s contribution to the Manchester Histories Festival 2016. It will culminate in an exhibition, The Glory of Glass in Ancoats: A Hidden History, providing a unique insight into the little known yet thriving industry that flourished in Ancoats in the mid-19th century up to the late 1960s.