Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Hattersley the musical

BBC North West Tonight has been showing clips this week from Songs of Hattersley, a new musical film set on one of the overspill estates built around Manchester between the 1930's and 1970's.

The overspill estates were seen by the people who moved onto them as an escape from overcrowded and unhealthy housing in inner city Manchester, even though many of them lacked transport connections and facilities like shops and pubs.  The estates reflect the areas of Manchester they are nearest to: Hattersley near Hyde mainly rehoused people from Bradford, Beswick and other parts of East Manchester, Langley in Rochdale people from North Manchester and the biggest estate Wythenshawe people from South Manchester districts including Moss Side and Old Trafford (from where my grandparents moved to it in the late 1930's).  People in Hattersley are still distinguished by their Mancunian accent as opposed to the broader Lancashire and Cheshire accents in nearby towns (the boxer Ricky Hatton is the most famous person from the estate).

The housing stock on the estates was allowed to decline and some tenants also exercised the right to buy in the 1980's. Most of the overspill estates are now owned by private housing associations and in many ways they are a reflection of British politics in the second half of twentieth century, from public provision to individualism and private profit.

You can watch a clip from Songs of Hattersley here.

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