Saturday, 25 April 2015

Cottonopolis


There is so much to see and do in Manchester, I couldn't fit it all into one weekend, or one blog post.


This place is brilliant, and will require a second visit.

Cotton is at the centre of Manchester's industrial, financial and social history. In 1781, Richard Arkwright built the first steam-driven textile mill in the city, ten years after he established his factory at Cromford Mill in Derbyshire (you can read about our visit here).



By 1853, there were 108 mills in Manchester, and twenty years later, the city produced over 30% of the world's cotton. 


The ready supply of water and coal, and the development of canals and railways made Manchester the perfect location for an industrial boom. Even the copious rain for which the city is infamous was beneficial; the damp air meant the cotton threads were less liable to snap.





Many of the huge number of warehouses built to accommodate raw materials and finished products have been redeveloped.



The Cotton Exchange where manufacturers and traders came to do business is now the Royal Exchange theatre.


Children were a significant part of the 18-19th Century textile workforce; here are Uncle Gary and the kids re-enacting a moment of mill-working brutality with great aplomb.


Fabulous street art and face-pulling. 
Oh Nina...


1970s cotton maxi dress - prize from The Queen's Drawers
Cardigan, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)

Here's a hidden gem which is well worth a visit; the Gallery of Costume, part of Manchester Art Galleries. It's in Platt Hall, an elegant Georgian house in Fallowfield.


 There was an exhibition of wedding dresses...


and gorgeous hats...


and examples of beautiful clothing from the 17th Century to the present day.



  


It's the ideal place for a vintage lover to while away an hour or so on a wet Sunday morning in Manchester.



I haven't heard yet whether I've got an interview for the charity shop job. To take my mind off the waiting, I've finally got round to starting some sewing.

 
And yes, of course the fabric is cotton. This isn't just thrown together, you know...


Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
xxx

35 comments:

Mrs Bertimus said...

I love your maxi dress!
The costume museum looks fab!
I love hearing about your adventures x

PinkCheetahVintage said...

Lovely dress!! Cotton is the best!

se├▒ora Allnut said...

wouuu, such a beautiful dress, love those purple flowers!!, and you're wearing sandals!!, spring is really arrived!!
And the Costume Museum and all those historic buildings are quite impressive, lovely post!
besos

Goody said...

Ha! Love the terrified children/mean uncle photo.

The pattern you're working looks interesting-good sleeves are always a selling point, aren't they?

If those fools don't hire you, I'll start a letter writing campaign to make them reconsider.

Mother of Reinvention said...

What a fabulous post. I had no idea about Manchester and cotton even though I have been there a few times. I must walk about with my eyes shut. Looks like you all had a good time there. That museum! Thanks for sharing all the photos of those clothes. Costume porn :) It's now on my wish-list of places to visit. Loving the pattern too. You make the best stuff. Happy sewing. xxxx

Fiona said...

Wow, what an interesting and educational week you've had. The Gallery of Costume looks fabulous, I had no idea about it, although it's years since I visited Manchester. Hope you hear some good news re a job interview soon.
x

Beth Waltz said...

The kiddos and their uncle do stage an exciting tableau vivant! And perhaps at some level it did really sink in that the Industrial Revolution was bad news for some kids...

Thanks for the glimpse of the Gallery of Costume. It begs for a group expedition of vintage fans! Or at least some staged photo shoots of you in costume.

Very impressed with the lilac floral maxi -- how nicely those rows of posies are positioned, and that's not easy!

Shall continue to hope with you for good news about the job.

Kezzie said...

That staged photo is very effective!! The mills sound a great place to visit, those wheels of cotton were huge!!! I'm rather loving that dress of yours too! Looking lively. Hope you get the interview x x

Jazzy Jack said...

Thanks for that lovely tour of cotton!
I looove that bridge, and the mean uncle shot with the kids. You lot are as wacky as we are :-D
Gorgeous costumes. I always notice how the waists get bigger through time!
Loving purple on you with your bright hair.
Have now caught up with all your news...running behind I missed the job post. Crossing fingers for an interview. You would be such an asset! xo Jazzy Jack

thorne garnet said...

The Gallery of Costume, by still my heart.

Melanie said...

Wonderful brutality reenactment! (That's a phrase you don't hear everyday.) The history of cotton, fascinating topic. I've studied cotton mills in Japan. It's great that we can stick to sewing cotton these days. Your project sounds like a great distraction, plus you'll get a fantastic new maxi out of it.

Sarah Jane said...

So many cities have fascinating histories. It's so reassuring when historic buildings are sympathetically redeveloped for modern use too. Looks like a fun weekend was had by all. Great weather for it too xxx

Melanie said...

What beautiful architecture and the costume museum looks really interesting. Love the photos of the sprogs and their uncle! I also really love your purple dress, it's gorgeous, you look fab xx

Sue said...

Another informative tour, thank you!! I love old commercial buildings being repurposed into homes. I could happily live in some old building. Your dress is beautiful Curtise, and I am looking forward to seeing your sewing. Cotton of course, nothing beats cotton.

Liz said...

Costume museum looks amazing. Manchester is on my "must visit" list. Looks like an amazing place.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Miss Magpie said...

Lovely lovely dress.I'm all for a bit of purple and the costume museum looks fab, I'm jealous.

Your kids are such stars. x

Ivy Black said...

Ooooh love, that maxi is a stunner. Gorgeous springy colours. What a great day out and I'd have loved a stroll around the museum. I wonder if they'd have let me have that yellow maxi?
Loves ya.
xxxxx

Vintage Bird Girl said...

Okay I'm having city envy again! I reckon I'd love visiting the U.K. Glorious frockage yet again! Xx

Vix said...

Uncle Gary and the kids' tableau is hilarious! They look blinking terrified, poor loves!
I love reading about the rise and fall of the Manchester textile trade, Gandhi was fantastic but his Homespun policy didn't half bugger up our economy.
I reckon you should superimpose us onto the mannequins in the 1970s exhibit. they've nicked our clothes!
Nothing like dressmaking for taking your mind of scary stuff.That pattern is fab.
Love your Queens Drawers cotton maxi, that print shouts Spring.
Love you! xxxxxxxx

Patti said...

What a great museum exhibit - I could spend an easy hour there, too. The street art though is giving me the willies! Love the pic of Uncle Gary and the kids - great actors, this group. And your maxi dress is stunning. Happy Sunday, xox.

Angels have Red Hair said...

Eeek … Uncle Gary looks seriously scary … but everything else is gorgeous ;0)
xx

Bobbi said...

The museums look so interesting - and I want all of the great dresses! You and your kids have such fun together.
Love your purple dress! It looks perfect for one of your busy days.

diaryofapennypincher said...

Thanks for the tour, never been to Manchester but it looks quite interesting, specially that exhibition of vintage clothing and great architecture. Your beautiful maxi just shouts Spring!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

You are a dolly in purple floral, lovely shape, and the family brings the history to vivid life. :) The historical clothing is utterly spectacular, I'm smitten with the aqua afternoon dress (beside the excellent plaid). Thanks for bringing us along on your adventures!!! xoxoxoxo

Laurie Duncan said...

I really enjoyed the tour, especially the dresses and hats! Your dress should have been on display too, but it is more fun wearing it I'm sure! Good luck on the sewing, can't wait to see the finished product! :)

Forest City Fashionista said...

Ooooo, that Gallery of Costume is right up my alley - great hat display! I enjoyed the history lesson of the cotton industry in Manchester too.

Your maxi is lovely, and in one of my favourite colour combinations. The cardigan matches it perfectly!

Melanie said...

Doh, I said I studied cotton mills - I meant silk mills. Still textiles...

Delia Ryder said...

I have never been to Manchester thanks you for bring it to life for us it looks and sounds like a great place to moouch about. Loved the 60s and 70's fashions part of the museum. You look gorgeous in purple. Fingers crossed you get an interview. dee xx

Helga said...

OMG, the Gallery of Costume is JUST the plac I could waste a day or two...we have just a teensy tiny one at our museum, this looks incredible!
The Museum of Science and Industry building is superb. Manchester looks bloody awesome, actually.
Your frock is also rather awesome, the colours are beautiful. I'm keen to see the finished frock, sewing is certainly the order of the day lately! I love how we're all getting into it. It's so damned satisfying!
Woot!
Loadsa love, XXX

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Lovely new dress. You look great in purple!
Uncle Gary makes a wonderful villain.
I'm looking forward to seeing the dress you're making! xxxx

Mim said...

The costume museum looks excellent - there's so much to do in Manchester. It's a rather nicer place for kids now that 150 years ago, that's for sure!

Your maxi is lovely - such a nice pattern.

Tine Jensen said...

Thank you for a great introduction to Manchester - it looks so beautiful in your photos. The redevelopments are brilliant! I too could spent hours in the costume gallery - like I've done in similar places :-)

Your purple flower dress is the best, spring colours and great fit! I wish I could make cardigans work like you do, you always look so put together. When I see myself in a cardigan (unless it's lurex :-D) I look like my granny!

The Vintage Knitter said...

The Costume Museum looks just my sort of thing, I can never get bored of looking round places like that.

Super purple flowered maxi and cardie combo; those are my fail-safe outfits too and yours is just right for spring.

Can't wait to see what you make out of that pattern - are you going for the bell sleeves or elbow length ones?
xxx

freckleface said...

Blimey, Curtise, I really wish I'd seen this post before we visited Manchester. i would have loved to have gone to these places. You've brought it to life. We dragged ourselves round in the cold and rain and just couldn't find inspiration. For the first time, I feel like I would like to go again and follow in your footsteps. I remember taking my Swedish friend to Cromford and her being blown away by the fact that she was visiting such an important place relating to the Industrial revolution. So great to be reminded of all this amazing history. Tell you what, your three are wasted, they should be on the stage!! ­čśÇ xxxxx

Natalia Lialina said...

Lovely, lovely Curtise! How beautiful you look - just perfect! So fascinating to learn about history, who knew, right? I'm always with big wide open eyes when I hear/read about places I visit - always something completely surprising. Like this cotton production - 30% of the world's cotton, wow! The museum is just so beautiful, I'd spend hours staring at the vintage outfits. Again, just perfect for you! xxxxx