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Historic park to become subject of documentary

STILL STANDING: Alexandra Park, Manchester (photo credit: The Mancunion)

THE FRIENDS OF Alexandra Park, a group of volunteers, have secured resources from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Manchester City Council after fighting on behalf of local residents who want to repair facilities within the 60-acre site and to educate future generations on the park’s historical significance.

The social and political role of Alexandra Park, which borders Whalley Range, Moss Side and Fallowfield in Manchester, is that of a key meeting place for groups including the Caribbean Carnival, the Suffragettes who used it to campaign for women’s right to vote, which was granted in 1918 (founder Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Moss Side), Rock Against Racism and Black Lives Matter organisers.

Opened in August 1870, Alexandra Park is known to local residents as ‘the people’s park’ and today continues to attract many families and recreational sports teams as well as some of the most rousing of social cries to action.

A documentary on the park’s centrality to local communities is being filmed by two of the Friends of Alexandra Park, Fred Coker and Ana Lucía Cuevas who have highlighted the cotton famine of 1862-4, a time when Lancashire workers heeded the call from US President Abraham Lincoln to embargo the slave-picked cotton that provided 75% of the resources needed for Lancashire's 2,500 mills.

A lack of investment prompted the restoration project and documentary, however its legacy will counteract years of neglect; as the final film will be made available for visitors to view in one of the park’s restored buildings.  

Coker said:

“It is a completely non-commercial community initiative, and one which has become a labour of love, as we have, on the one hand, been filming people and activities in the 'new park' at different times over the past nine months, whilst compiling as much archival information as we can to tell the story of the past.”

For more information on the project, search for ‘alexandraarts manchester’ on YouTube.

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