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09/06/2010 12:00 pm
09/06/2010 1:45 pm

Next tour: no dates yet.
Meet: Outside the HOME arts centre, time tbc.

“I saw cotton and I saw black tall white mansions and little shacks. Southern man when will you pay them back? I heard screamin’ and bullwhips cracking How long? How long?”
Neil Young, “Southern Man”, 1970

Yes, the raw cotton that buoyed Manchester’s main industry for over a century was picked for decades by slaves in the Southern states of America. And you thought this wasn’t a political walk!

During the cotton heyday Manchester was the centre of the industrialised world. Its rich legacy can be found across town: from the fabulously ornate Watts Warehouse (now the Britannia Hotel) to the 18th century weavers cottages, remarkable survivals on Portland Street; from the Town Hall, topped by a golden cotton boll, to the Royal Exchange where cotton merchants traded in the world’s biggest room.

We pay homage to the great cotton palaces and merchants who populated them, self-made millionaires such as John Rylands, and ruthless capitalists like Nathan Mayer Rothschild, described by Lord Byron in Don Juan as a “true lord of Europe”.

Pick a bale of cotton


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