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oLd Hulme Manchester


A film by Steve Mardy in Hulme, Manchester 1985 on Vimeo.

A short film by Mick Conefrey (copyright) HuLme 1985-86 - Part 1

A short film by Mick Conefrey (copyright) HuLme 1985-86 - Part 2

Viraj Mendis protest

Viraj supporters gather outside PSV - Russell club 1988 - Photo courtesy of Tony Goodhall People gather outside PSV - Russell club 1988

Anthony Bailey, A Reporter at Large, - SACRED PLACE- The New Yorker, May 2, 1988, May 2, 1988 Issue

Viraj Mendis, who has been living in sanctuary in the sacristy of the Anglican Church of the Ascension, in the Hulme district of Manchester, England. He has been there for the last 16 months to avoid being deported to his native land, Sri Lanka. Viraj is a 32-year-old atheist & supporter of Britain's minuscule Revolutionary Communist Group. He regards himself not just as in sanctuary but as a political prisoner. Father John Methuen is the rector-or to use the designation he prefers-the parish priest. While Viraj was living in Manchester, between 1984 & 1986, he went to many political & community meetings in the church hall, and was well acquainted with Father John. On Dec. 20, 1986, several hundred people organized a march protesting his deportation which had been decreed by the authorities, in response to his having long overstayed permission to be in Britain as a student. As the procession set off along Royce Road, Viraj ran into the Church of the Ascension. Fearing that the police would stop him, he had told only a few people-Father John among them-what he intended to do. In Sri Lanka, where he grew up, he sided with the underdogs, the Tamils, though l was a member of the Sinhalese, the majority race. He arrived in Britain in Oct., 1973, at 17, to study engineering, & has never gone home. He had to leave school because of financial difficulties & then worked at menial jobs, which radicalized him. Gives history of sanctuaries as sacred places of refuge & tells about Viraj's day-to-day life in the church. Tells how deportation proceedings eventually began. His lawyer argued that Viraj was in danger of death if he was sent back to Sri Lanka. It's hoped that eventually he will be allowed to stay in Britain

Manchester Evening news - September 14, 2004

FORMER political refugee Viraj Mendis, who took refuge in a Manchester church for two years, was back in the city today - with a smile on his face. The last time he was seen at the Church of the Ascension on Stretford Road, Hulme, he was still in his pyjamas as police carried him wrapped in a blanket and screaming "Murderers". But today he put the trauma of that day in 1989 behind him to raise a broad grin and joke: "I've even got a visa." Mr Mendis visit to Manchester today was just to say "hello" and go back to the church where he sheltered in a room measuring 10ft by 15ft. "It is wonderful to be back here, though the memories I have are a mixture of good and bad. It is more good than sad, though, because of the fantastic support I had from many people." "I'm hoping many of the people who supported me when I was at the church in Hulme will come along. It would be great to see them so I could again say thank you for all they did to help me." Mr Mendis was deported as an illegal immigrant after 16 years in the country. He had arrived in 1973 on a 12-month student visa. To defy a High Court deportation order, he took sanctuary in the Church of the Ascension. He had been an outspoken supporter of Sri Lankan Tamils and feared for his life if he returned home. He was given refuge in the church in December 1986 by Fr John Methuen, now the Dean of Ripon, but was arrested there on January 18, 1989, and flown back to Sri Lanka. In June the same year, Mr Mendis married Karen Roberts, one of his Manchester supporters. In 1990 Karen moved to Germany where, after six months, Viraj joined her.

Factory records, The Russell, The Caribbean Club, PSV


Stolen cars graveyard - Crescents early 90's


The Aaben Cinema

Aaben Cinema

Hulme punx - mid 80's -Royce pub and The Junction behind


Hulme Punks


Steve Coogan chillin Otterburn Close 1990 - Picture courtesy of Richard Davis


Front man Kwasi and the legendary reggae band Community Charge 1991 - Picture courtesy of Richard Davis


kELzo chillin at Smear 2 graffiti event, Otterburn Close 1996 - Picture courtesy of Al Baker


Manchester poet Lemm Sissay chillin in the crescents 1990's - Picture courtesy of Richard Davis


In the 1970s many punks, musicians and artists took advantage of the cheap urban housing available in Hulme, and the area became homes to an increasing number of nurses, students and other single people, as families increasingly moved out. The rise of youth culture on the estate made it a very lively place, and a club on Royce Road called The Russell Club which was owned and run by Factory Records and featured the first ever performance of Joy Division, A Certain Ratio and other bands that would eventually become household names, such as Iggy Pop.

Joy Division chillin on Hulme footbridge 70's - Photograph courtesy of kevincummins.co.uk

Joy Division

We have just received this story and photography from from Richard W..., below is what he wrote and we feel it needs to be posted on this page, thanks Richard for allowing us to share your history of living in Hulme...............

- Richard W... ---
Greetings Hulmeoids, I lived at 336 Charles Barry Crescent from 1979 - 1984, from my bedroom window I could see the city centre and the Manchester skyline. The rent was 7.00 per week but we never paid it and just kept stacks of reminders in the draw unopened. I studied Photography at the Poly and got stuff published in City Life magazine along with the great Kevin Cummings. ( His book on Manchester is well worth buying ). My flat mates were from the Fine Art Dept. at Medlock, Paul N.... and Steve B..... who was also in the TA with me, B Company, 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regt. based in Oldham. We caught the 82 Bus outside or flat straight up to Oldham Mumps on Fridays and returned Sundays knackered but ready for ales (Boddingtons) in the pub on the corner The Grants Arms.

Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) playing pool in the Grant's Arms 1982 - Photograph Richard W (copyright)

Mick Hucknall
After a bit, \\\'Knocker\\\' North moved out of 336 Charles Barry back to Bratford and Steve left TA after getting his wings an moved to the US. Brian Turner ( bassist with The Frantic Elevators ) moved in, and Hucknall, Neil Moss and Kevin Williams used to meet up in 336 Charles Barry to rehearse, it was where The Frantic Elevators wrote, \\\'Holding Back the Years\\\' which became a big hit for Mick after he left and set up SIMPLY RED.

The Frantic Elevators rehearsing in 336 Charles Barry Crescent Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) on the left - Photograph Richard W (copyright)

Mick Hucknall
We also used to drink in the Salutation and Clynes Wine Bar ( now The Cavendish ), just on outskirts of Hulme.

Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) on the left - Photograph Richard W (copyright) having a drink in Clynes Wine Bar now the cavendish

Mick Hucknall
The Crescents were a fantastic place and I remember the Moss Side riots too in 1981. I left Hulme for Norfolk in 1984, worked on a holiday camp for a year, then got a job in Fleet Street as a press photographer

Moss Side is ablaize Riots 1981 - Photograph Richard W (copyright)

Mick Hucknall

- Richard W... ---

Inca Babies - Opium Den Hulme

Hulme 1983 - 1987

A certain Ratio - "Shack Up"

In the late 1980's graffiti appeared all over Hulme and around the city centre even adorning the front of Central library in St Peters square, it read " The Stone Roses" Picture courtesy of Richard Davis

The roses

Reports from locals suggest that however hard edged the neighbourhood seemed, residents appreciated the extensive creative mix that had settled in the neighbourhood. However, the problems of social and economic decline still continued. The large squatting community set up community newsletters, pirate radio stations, music and firework celebrations, and created a cultural vibrancy about the neighbourhood.

The pirate ship getting ready for the big street party early 90's

Pirate Ship

Hulme - The Late show

The Nautilus or the naughtybus as it was known was built over a 3 month period using a sherpa van, wood, steel and a lot of hardwork to turn it into this 25ft long ship, the Nautilus was fully functional but was sadly firebombed by local hoodlums, very few photos of it exist completed. Below is a photo of it flying about on Bonsall Street grass.


The PheoniX


Hulme - The Phoenix event

The Pheonix rises !


Ex-residents also suggest that the community also tried to prevent the City council's destruction of various community assets including the Victorian Turkish baths, and the independent local cinema. The area is seen by many as the powerhouse behind the Manchester music and creative scenes of the eighties, that in turn created a profound influence on the UK and World music and cultural scene. Unfortunately, the lawlessness and lack of community cohesion that went with the change in demographics in the area, meant that it was a no-go area for most outside observers. 1980s increase in rate of decline An increasing drugs, violent crime and prostitution problem in the area stretching on into the 1980s made Hulme increasingly dangerous. Racial and Social tensions in the area culminated in race riots involving the SLP and local youths. Various government initiatives, focused around the nearby Moss Side District Centre, attempted to promote economic growth through job provision, but were deemed by most as unsuccessful. Unemployment remained very high in the neighbourhood, and local residents note that "just saying you were from Hulme or Moss Side gave you a great disadvantage when job hunting. You could not get credit easily either with a Hulme postcode.

Bonsall Street

Bonsall Street

travellers living in their buses parked - Otterburn Close 1996

Otterburn Close