Black and white photograph of three children sitting in a cart behind a pony

Growing Up in Manchester opens on 1 July 2022 at Central Library Manchester and is a collaboration between University of Birmingham historian Dr Michala Hulme, the people of Manchester and students from the University of Birmingham.

The exhibition was inspired by an old suitcase at an auction containing the personal letters and photographs of former Manchester schoolteacher, Ellen Retallack (1855-1958), purchased at auction by Dr Hulme, Lecturer in Public History in the Department of History at University of Birmingham. Many other photographs in the exhibition are unique as they are donations from the public and have never been displayed before. The exhibition will tell the story of Ellen through her photographs and letters, including correspondence from the journalist and former editor of the Manchester Guardian, C.P. Scott and his children.

I was really excited when I bought this suitcase at auction, but I never expected to find such a rich depth of Manchester’s social history contained within the correspondence and photographs inside it.

Dr Michala Hulme, Lecturer in Public History

“The contents of the suitcase revealed some amazing stories of women in Manchester in the late Victorian to early Edwardian period," added Dr Hulme. "It was a true treasure trove of Manchester’s history. I am very pleased to be sharing these fascinating stories with the public at this exhibition, working in collaboration with Manchester Libraries and with University of Birmingham History students to bring them to life.”

The exhibition is free to attend and runs until September 2022. For more information, visit the Central Library website.