On the Angel Meadow Neighbourhood

 

The mixture was ladled further by aromas from the tannery, the dyeworks, the iron foundry, the brewery, the tripe works and rotting vegetation from the Smithfield market, all added together with the neighbourhood's fried fish and bad sanitation smells, one would agree that the cauldron of Angel Meadow was indeed a potent brew.

-James Stanhope-Brown, Angels from the Meadow

 

Each winter, thousands of poor, helpless children are provided with food, clogs and clothing; and every Sunday morning during the season, hundreds of destitute men and women are served with breakfast; and we try, by God's help and the bestowal of a word of comfort and cheer, to arouse in them a feeling of hope which may lead them to a higher and noble life.

-Ellen Casey, Christmas Appeal 1901 by Thomas Johnson

 

"Angel Meadow was in one of the most notoriously squalid districts; there is a certain black irony to its name…"

-Thomas "Tommy" Johnson


"A sort of black smoke covers the city. Under this half-daylight 300,000 human beings are ceaselessly at work. The homes of the poor are scattered haphazard around the factories. From this filthy sewer, pure gold flows. In Manchester civilised man is turned back almost into a savage."

-Alexis de Tocqueville, Journeys to England and Ireland (1835)

 

"In Manchester, the pauper burial ground lies opposite the Old Town, along the Irk: this is a rough desolate place. About two years ago a railroad was carried through it. If it had been a respectable cemetery, how the bourgeoisie would have shrieked over the desecration! But it was a pauper burial ground, the resting place of the outcast and the superfluous, so no one concerned himself about the matter. It was not even thought worthwhile to convey the partially decayed bodies to the other side of the cemetery; they were heaped up just as it happened, the piles were driven into newly made graves, so that the water oozed out of the swampy ground, pregnant with putrefying matter, and filled the neighbourhood with the most revolting and injurious gases. The disgusting brutality which accompanied this work I cannot describe in further detail".

-Friedrich Engels, Condition of the Working Classes in England (1844)

 

"Lastly we have to think of the children of the slums. Their case is one of the saddest with which we have to cope. Who shall describe the lot of the children! Neglected from birth, thrown on their own devices while still infants, initiated early into the worst secrets of vice and crime, insufficiently warmed, clothed, fed, what chance have they?"

-Rev JR Mercer talk to the Manchester Statistical Society April 28 1897

 

"Each winter, thousands of poor, helpless children are provided with food, clogs and clothing; and every Sunday morning during the season, hundreds of destitute men and women (most of who are without a friend in the world) are server with breakfast; and we try, by God's help and the bestowal of a word of comfort and cheer, to arouse in them a feeling of hope which may lead them to a higher and noble life".

"For the maintenance of the School (Charter St Ragged School and Working Girls Home, Angel Meadow) for the ensuing year we shall need at least £600 - not a large sum to ask for in a great city like this. I feel that I shall not appeal in vain, but that you will come to our assistance as readily as you have done in the past, to enable us to continue our ministrations amongst the poor and unfortunate of this district".

-Lord Ashley President of the Ragged Schools Union

 

"The lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality in Manchester is called Angel Meadow. It lies off the Oldham Road, is full of cellars and is inhabited by prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, cadgers, vagrants, tramps and in the very worst states of filth and darkness".

-Angus Reach, The Morning Chronicle (1849)

 

"The dreary wastes of Angel Meadow. Down Angel Street, with its pestiferous lodging houses; with its bawds and bullies, its thieves and beggars. One had need to visit such a place when the sun is high in the heavens. When night falls I had rather enter an enemy's camp during the time of war than venture near such dens of infamy and wretchedness. But the poor live here and die here".

-Untitled article by 'The Scout', published in The Spy (1893)

 

"My experience is that the very worst houses of this kind are in Deansgate and Angel Meadow … six inches only often separated the beds instead of twelve … the sheets had not been washed for weeks … the beds are full of vermin".

"Do the slums make the dwellers in them, or do the dwellers in them make the slums? The truth, as usual, would seem to lie halfway between these extreme views … a vast amount of preventable misery and degradation, and its conditions are due, not to the characters and habits of the [area] alone, but obvious defects in social machinery".

-Reverend Mercer, Conditions of Life in Angel Meadow (1897)

 

 

On St. Michael's Church

 

 

"It is a large brick building with a foundation for a steeple, not erected; nothing remarkable in any point, either on the outside or the inside, except it be for some colossal saints which outrage nature from the communion recess, and which seem as if they had emanated from a painter who had the fear of breaking the second commandment full in his eyes"

-A social commentator said of St Michael's church in 1816

 

"Erected in 1789, is a plain edifice of brick in the classic style, consisting of a chancel with side chapels, nave with clerestory and a western tower with a pyramidal roof containing a fine bell, cast in 1848." 

-Untitled article from Manchester Library

 

"Why one of the ugliest looking churches in Manchester, situated in one of the most crowded and notorious parts of the city, should have so long enjoyed the pleasant sounding name 'St Michael's, Angel Meadow', is beyond understanding. Of course, when good Humphrey Owen built his church there…dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels, one could have understood the fitness of the description. Scarcely any stretch of the imagination can recognize the fact that the church was as pretty then as it is repellent now"

-Letter to the Manchester Guardian in 1888

 

 

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