My apologies for the delay in posts in the last month, I have been so busy with school work, the new job I started at Gap in Glasgow, a few adventures I have gone on, and a few visitors that I have been lucky enough to have over the past few weeks. I am much better at keeping up with my Instagram: @lauraaoland so feel free to follow that to get quicker updates on my UK adventures!
ANYWAYS to follow up on my Manchester Part 1 post, I had a lovely week in Manchester for school three weeks ago! It was an absolutely exhausting five days, but it was definitely worth it. One of the best things about my Master’s Program is the fact that we do not just read about history, we go and see it. We were fortunate enough to hit a few different museums in Manchester where we had privet tours from curators, explored the collections, and had insight into how each curator does their job! (I have lots of ideas in my head now how I will run my museum collection someday)
The second museum we visited after the Museum of Science and Industry was the Macclesfield Silk Museum in Macclesfield which is about a twenty minutes train ride outside of Manchester. Macclesfield was one of the main centres of silk production in England during the 19th century. We had the opportunity to go into the silk mill where silk was made, learn about the process of how to make silk, then go to the museum to see the exhibits that are up about the silk industry in England, plus we got to see a few beautiful silk garments. The little adventure outside of the city on that windy day was definitely worth it, and I highly recommend paying the museum a visit if you ever get the chance! The staff was so pleasant and passionate about the work they are doing at the museum, it was really encouraging and inspiring to listen to them speak.
It was pretty windy in England this day, and I spent the majority of the time outdoors trying not to lose my hat.
Our next stop that day was the Manchester Art Gallery. The exhibit that we were focusing on was the temporary exhibition “South Asian Design” which focused on art from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It was a really interesting exhibit because the objects around the gallery were quite old, compared to the garments on the catwalk in the middle were all haute couture pieces from the last few years. The details in the garments were exquisite. It was really eye-opening to see different haute-couture garments that are not in the western fashion, like North Americans/ Europeans are use to seeing!
Over the next two days, we visited the Whitworth art gallery, where we looked at European models of Brazilian dolls that were made in the early 19th century, and bright tapestries that were made in the 1950s. We also went to the People’s History Museum where we have a privet tour of their banner gallery AND went into their conservation studio. It was so neat in their conservation to see them working on an original Suffragette banner, especially since one of the co-founders of the Suffragette movement, Christabel Pankhurst was from Manchester herself. This banner is a newer acquisition for the museum, and they actually unveiled it on a TV interview with Hilary Clinton when she was in Manchester this past Fall.
Despite my week being jam-packed with museum visits, I still got to explore the city a bit! Manchester is a pretty neat city, it is filled with art, cute cafes, lovely restaurants, and great bars. Each restaurant we went to was fantastic, I questionably had the best vegetarian burger that I have ever had, portabello mushrooms and halloumi are a fantastic combination!!! There is definitely a very different feel from London! Manchester definitely does not have the same touristy aspect that London does (even though London is still one of my favourite cities), it feels a lot more lived in and realistic. The city was also decorated for Chinese New Year with red lanterns all over the place which was a really cute touch.
I think I will definitely be back to Manchester at some point, a three-hour train ride makes for an easy weekend getaway, and there are still lots of things I would like to check out in Manchester, and perhaps attend a football “soccer” game. A fun fact I learned about Manchester that I was unaware of is that there are two football teams in Manchester, not just Manchester United, the other is Manchester City. I also learned that you have to be very careful where you mention a football team because different parts of the city are loyal to the different teams, and a fight can easily be started if the wrong team is mentioned in a specific area!