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An extraordinary journey into the sounds of the Paul Graney Collection (1908 – 1982), ‘a man with a tape recorder’, who recorded the sounds of Manchester and beyond including Rochdale mill girls, Ewan MacColl and Manchester’s homeless. Paul Graney knew Manchester from walking the city and talking to whoever he could. He built up a unique archive of oral history, radio and folk music from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Part of the archive is what he called his 'memory tapes'. These are recordings of Paul telling his life story during the 1920s and 1930s. In them Paul tells the stories of his time growing up, his early working experiences, his time on the road as a dosser during the depression, his European travels and his involvement in the radical theatre and anti-fascist movements in 1930s Manchester.
Paul Graney spent a good part of the 1960s and 1970s travelling around the folk clubs of the north west using his portable reel-to-reel recorder to document live folk performances. His archive includes live material by artists and friends such as Ewan MacColl, Mike Harding, Dorothy and Ivan Fryman and Peggy Seeger. Folk singers would go to Paul for information, lyrics and songs. Paul would copy songs for them from his extensive library of tapes and share his vast knowledge of the genealogy of folk songs around the world.
As part of the Manchester Histories Festival, let Fiona Cosson and Dave Govier take you on an audio tour of Paul Graney's sound archives.
When & Where
A showcase for the region's archive and family history
Manchester Central Library now includes Archives+ - a wonderful, purpose-built showcase and repository for the region's archive and family history. The Archives+ partnership builds on the appetite and demand for accessible community history and personal heritage. This one-stop-shop makes it easier than ever before to find what you're looking for. The main partners in Archives+ are:
• Greater Manchester County Record Office (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities)
• Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives (Manchester City Council)
• North West Film Archive (Manchester Metropolitan University)
• Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust (The University of Manchester)
• Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society
• BFI Mediatheque
• Manchester Registration Service (Historic Registers)
Displays and exhibitions explore the rich collections to tell the stories of Manchester’s people and communities. You'll find all the local and family history resources you're used to, from books, maps and original materials to self-service digitised items and online resources like ancestry.com.
Archives+ brings history to life using interactive exhibits, sound and vision. Its focus is on telling stories and helping us to identify with our past. Our history isn't just about the great and the good, it's about personal testimony from ordinary people: a child in the cotton mill, the navvy, the land girl.