A current exhibition and a new online resource trace the history and geography of Jewish life in Manchester, the UK’s second largest Jewish center, after London.
The exhibition is “Vanished Streets” — an exhibition running October 20-January 16 at the People’s History Museum of never previously shown photographs of lost Jewish Manchester from the late 1970s by Manchester-born Shloimy Alman.
In 1977 a young Jewish youth worker from Manchester called Shloimy Alman started photographing the remnants of Jewish life in the streets of his youth […]. Shloimy wandered around the area repeatedly, documenting local characters, businesses, synagogues and Jewish institutions. His collection of over 300 colour slides taken during this period now remains as a unique record of a disappeared world.
In 1978 Shloimy immigrated to Israel, and his photographs of Jewish Manchester and London remained in a locked cupboard at his home until May 2019 when writer and oral historian Rachel Lichtenstein visited him and scanned the images. Shloimy’s photographs of Jewish London were shown to great acclaim in 2019 in London. Shloimy’s photographs of lost Jewish Manchester have never been publicly seen before.
The new online resource. launched last month, is also a project of Rachel Lichtenstein — an interactive digital Memory Map of Jewish Manchester, similar to a Memory Map of London’s Jewish East End developed by Lichtenstein and launched last year.
Based on an interactive, clickable map, it includes interviews, photographs, and essays about a variety of sites that repeatedly appear in people’s recollections of Jewish Manchester — including schools and synagogues, street markets and cafes, cinemas and theatres, youth clubs and shops, as well as other places.
The Memory Map of Jewish Manchester […] maps the history, stories and memories of the Jewish community who once lived in the Cheetham Hill, Strangeways and Hightown areas of Manchester. This digital map aims to create a lasting document of the living memory of Manchester Jewry in this area.
Individual sites (some of which no longer exist) are located on the map and can be accessed by clicking on them. They can be searched and also viewed according to several color coded themes — Shops and Commerce; Education; Community and Entertainment; Streets; and Religion.
Users can listen to oral history recordings and other audio files, view images, and read text. Some images from the Vanished Streets project are included.
The Manchester map was produced by Lichtenstein, assisted by Paul Darby. The audio clips and copy for each site was provided by Dr Ros Livshin, historian of Manchester Jewry who has also operated as the project’s historical advisor and expert. The platform was developed by Dr Duncan Hay. This project was funded by the Jewish Historical Society of England and the History Research Centre of Manchester Metropolitan University, with support in kind from the Manchester Jewish Museum, which gave permission to use oral history and photographic material from its collections.