Time and Trade: A Portrait of Cheetham Hill’s Business Community, by the photographer Rebecca Lupton, is a collection of portraits and interviews of the traders that make up the daily life of Cheetham Hill Road and its District Centre.
The project was commissioned by Buddleia (https://buddleia.co.uk), to create a snapshot of the different businesses and personalities of this famous shopping district. The interviews are very much the personal opinions of the interviewees and provide an insight of their experiences and perceptions of the area they have got to know so well.
Cheetham Hill has been a well-used shopping district from the time of the Industrial Revolution and has serviced the city’s many waves of immigration. Over the years this has included the Irish fleeing the Great Famine in 19th Century, Jewish communities fleeing Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, to more modern immigration movements from Africa, the Caribbean, Indian Subcontinent and Europe during the 20th Century to the present day. Today Cheetham Hill Road, is seen as one of the most culturally diverse streets in the whole country, supporting many communities with their culturally specific businesses, foods and ingredients, not easily found elsewhere in the city.
The businesses and business people represented in this collection, only show a fraction of the types of businesses that support these many different communities, some over many years. The area has seen many changes in its time, not just through the people and the communities that have arrived, shifted and moved, but economic and physical changes. It’s hard for businesses to weather so much change, but some, as represented here, have shown a loyalty to their customers and a fortitude to survive.
This commission has been part of the programme of work delivered by Buddleia, for Unit 25, a six month pop up shop initiative based within an empty shop unit in Cheetham Hill Shopping Centre. Funded through the High Street Innovation Fund and supported by Manchester City Council North Manchester Regeneration Team, the project was inspired by the Mary Portas Review to reactivate and reconnect communities to the their high streets. Unit 25, has been a flexible space for communities to use to promote their ideas, launch initiatives and share information. During its six months, Unit 25 has been used by over 20 organisations, providing an opportunity to connect directly with communities from a high street location.
Text by Kerenza McClarnan, Director, Buddleia.
To read the accompanying interviews please go to The Newspaper Club...