Dr Michael Nevell, Digging up Manchester: Industrial Archaeology & Heritage in the Shock City – 2 June 2021

We are looking forward to welcoming Dr Michael Nevell on 2 June for a public lecture.

Dr Nevell will be discussing buildings, bricks, cobbles, pots and glass bottles recovered from more than fifty digs in Manchester.

Manchester is a city with an unparalleled industrial heritage. Its technological and transport innovations, and its wealth, was based on textile manufacture. From the 18th century to the early 20th century it was the centre of world production earning it the nickname ‘cottonopolis’. The darker side of this story was the harsh working and living conditions of the newly industrialised inhabitants. The urban regeneration of the city centre since 2000 has provided opportunities for more than fifty archaeological digs, changing our understanding of the city’s origins and development. This talk will look at the industrial buildings, bricks, cobbles, pots, and glass bottles recovered from these digs. These have helped to bring to life the physical nature of working and living in the world’s first industrial city during this period of rapid change. And this exploration has also involved community archaeology volunteers exploring their own past, helping to ground the archaeological understanding of the city in the 21st century.

Dr Michael Nevell, FSA, MCIfA, is the Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England, based at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and an Honorary Research Fellow in Industrial Archaeology at the University of Salford. He has more than 30 years of experience as a field archaeologist, and taught undergraduates and post-graduates as a senior lecturer for 18 years, being founding Head of Archaeology at the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the University of Salford (2009-2020). His research areas include industrial buildings, vernacular architecture (especially timber buildings), buildings archaeology, community archaeology, industrial, and contemporary archaeology. He has run a variety of community archaeology projects including the Tameside Archaeologic Survey, Dig Manchester, and Dig Greater Manchester. He is the author of many books and academic papers including Industrial Archaeology: A Handbook (Council for British Archaeology 2012); Archaeology for All: Community Archaeology in the early 21st Century (University of Salford 2015), The Birth of an Industrial City: Glasgow and the Archaeology of the M74 (Society of Antiquaries Scotland 2016). ‘The Dig Greater Manchester Community Project, 2011 to 2017: Archaeology for All?’, Memoirs of the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Association Volume 156 (2019), 77-89; Manchester at Work (Amberley Publishing, 2018); Heritage Under Pressure: Threats and Solutions (Oxbow books 2019); and The Archaeology of Manchester in 20 Digs (Amberley Publishing, 2020). He is a past Chair of the Association for Industrial Archaeology (2017-20) and is a past editor (2009-17) of the international journal ‘Industrial Archaeology Review’.

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