Forgotten Fields focuses on the heritage of food production and availability in Manchester from 1750’s to present day.
This project grew from Kindling's work with local growers and those wanting to set up their own food businesses, recognising the need to capture the first-hand memories and experience of market gardeners and traders. We hope to research and record the knowledge that helped sustain Manchester in the past....whilst we can!
Through fun, engaging, inter-generational activities, research and events, the project aims to accessible and enjoyable for everyone. We hope that people will enjoy the Forgotten Fields research and feel inspired to make their own contributions towards a more complete picture of Greater Manchester's food heritage.Events and Research:
In July 2013, The Kindling Trust received a Sharing Heritage grant of nearly £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project researched the history of night-soil and sweepings in the food cycle for the city, in particular on the role of canal as the means by which this fertiliser was transported out to the market-gardens and fields that in return supplied the expanding food- markets of industrial Manchester.
In order to inspire engagement through the sharing of memories, photos or written archive material the project recreated three parts of this process:
On National Trust owned Little Heath Farm, a crop of Heritage ‘Royal Kidney’ potatoes has been grown as part of this project. Children re-enacted ‘a day off school’ to harvest the crop ready for return to the markets of Manchester.
Dunham Wharf received a load of manure, ready for spreading on the fields. Members of the Wooden Canal Boat Society helped to recreate the scene of the night-soil boat laden with sweepings and collections from the city’s toilet buckets and chamber pots
At Potato Wharf, Castlefield, a re-enactment of the return of the boat to the city, laden with locally grown potatoes, made the potato markets of Manchester the focus.
Intergenerational interviews with market gardeners, farmers and residents about this process were transcribed and will be placed with the appropriate archive.
Kindling has secured Heritage Lottery support of around £40,000 to support its food heritage project: Forgotten Fields.
The project focuses on the heritage of food production and availability in Manchester from 1750’s to present day. It concentrates on six communities from across Greater Manchester that have expressed a need to explore a particular food heritage.
Over two years, six inter-generational food heritage calendars have been created, in which, often passionate people with first-hand experience can offer knowledge, potential archive material or share oral history testimonies about local food production - for example: Ashton Moss celery, Timperley Early Rhubarb, or Highfield Park pigs in Levenshulme.
The Forgotten Fields website will also be used collect the research together for all to share and use.Previous heritage projects undertaken by Kindling include:
The Kindling Trust worked with Fiona Dunk and staff and pupils of St. Margaret's Primary School as well as local residents to explore the heritage and history of food growing, cooking and selling in Whalley Range.
The children at St. Margaret's School began with interviewing older people with a particular interest or viewpoint of Whalley Range's food history, in preparation for creating a 2009 calendar. Topics for discussion included the turning of 'The Moss' (bog) into fields and roads; Villa kitchen gardens; Digging for Victory during World War Two; the history of allotments, bee-keeping and orchards in the area as well as the cultural influences of Caribbean, Pakistani, Sikh, Polish, Somali and Arabic communities.
This chronological narrative of how Greater Manchester has been fed through the ages, looks at each decade from 1750 to the present day: looking at how a changing Manchester was fed, we can see our changing relationship with the countryside. How the ‘urban’ has come to dominate the ‘rural’ to make the most of market opportunities. A detachment from and disregard for the pastoral, and a reverence for the metropolis. Click here to view the booklet.