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Skills, Schools, Stories



A number of participants involved with Construction Skills Taster Days at Murrays' Mills were inspired by the experience and went on to secure places on MANCAT construction courses.

The 14 - 19 year old participants said:

  Today I learnt how to build a wall, in which structure it has to be, and I learnt how to build a water proof roof. I enjoyed the day out and the building. I enjoyed the whole day, I liked everything. It may help me in the future because I have also come to know that you get a lot of money on this job and I may work for a time as a builder. I can also help my family if they need help.

Today I have learnt a lot and have really enjoyed the day. I think I know what I want to do when I leave school from todays' experience. If I had the chance I'd really like to do it all again. Today I have learnt new things which will definitely help me with whatever I do in the future.

Today I have learnt the basics of bricklaying and roofing. I enjoyed brickwork more and it has helped me to decide what to do when I leave school.


This was a most challenging, fun and extremely successful programme, with children, teachers and the project team gaining an unusual, rich and varied learning experience.

Participants said:


 I have learned what a hard life it would have been in those days.

People used to work 14 hours a day.

 If you weren't at the gate at 7.30am you wouldn't get in.

 Children were working in the mill and were 4 - 5 years old.

 The weaving was easy and fun I enjoyed it a lot I will definitely try it again at home.


 This project was a great experience for myself and the class. It has inspired me to look at the local area and how it can be used to initiate certain topics in History, Art, Literacy and Geography. The use of other adults to do the workshops provided more in depth knowledge and the children benefited from this greatly. Thank you for all of your support in this project.

Wates Group

 The project serves a number of useful purposes, not all of which are at first evident.

Involvement is the best way of learning not only of the historical values of the work being undertaken but of the real safety hazards that are evident on building sites.

It is good for children to have experience of the building industry in general and to have an appreciation of the many roles that need to work together as a team to produce the end product. We may be creating a spark for potential architects or engineers.

I must admit that initially I was cautious at the thought of children being allowed on a site, but providing the visits are carefully thought through, supervised and controlled I can only see that they provide positive advantages.

 A template for these school visits should be formulated for all construction sites to entice more into the industry. An education or government body should make it part of the tender process to have to supply site visits - it has to happen. Kids like the hint of danger.


The "All Work & No Play" project created a rare opportunity for people to spend quality time together sharing their stories about Ancoats and ensuring those memories live on through 'An Ancoats Scrapbook' publication. This has been a rewarding and fascinating experience for all involved, one that will continue to be cherished.

Skills gained throughout the project have proven to be useful beyond the project with some volunteers going on to further voluntary and paid work.

Participants said:

Volunteer interviewer

I loved the oral history project. I would definitely like to be involved with any other projects like this.

Recipients of the "All Work & No Play - An Acncoats Scrapbook":

It is beautifully illustrated and presented.

Thankyou for the book, it is wonderful because it brings back so many memories of my childhood years ago when life really was so much simpler (I am now 72). It has taken me hours to read it because I keep stopping and wandering off down memeory lane.

I am pleased that you selected a balance of quotations which reflected life there in the 1940's.

I have wonderful memories of the kindness and generosity of the ordinary working class people in Ancoats in my childhood. Thank you all once again, and good luck in all of your future projects.

It is an excellent production with so much relevant information about the history of Ancoats. I will treasure it.


Child's artwork showing mill

Bricklaying workshop

Drama workshop

Launch of All Work, No Play publication

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