Inside Out

The Gangs of Manchester is to be featured on BBC1 on Wednesday 18 February in the North-West edition of Inside Out.

Presenter Nigel Pivaro talks to author Andy Davies about the research that formed the basis of the book. Duncan Broady of Greater Manchester Police Museum describes the difficulties faced by police officers in attempting to quell scuttling affrays, and Leslie Holmes of Salford Lads’ and Girls’ Club discusses the role of the early lads’ clubs in combatting street violence.

The programme will include excerpts from films by Paul Cliff depicting scuttles in Angel Meadow. Appearing in the films are members of the MaD Theatre Company and junior supporters of FC United of Manchester. The final versions of these films will be shown in Angels with Manky Faces. The actors also appear in two historical reconstructions filmed by the BBC.

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Gangs of Manchester on Radio 4

Click here to listen to a discussion of The Gangs of Manchester on “Thinking Allowed” on BBC Radio 4, hosted by Laurie Taylor.

Thinking Allowed

The Gangs of Manchester is the subject of a special edition of Thinking Allowed to be broadcast on New Year’s Eve at 4 p.m. on BBC Radio 4.
Hosted by Laurie Taylor, Thinking Allowed offers a weekly review of social research. Recent programmes covered topics such as the “cocaine girls” of 1920s London and the relationship between sexual repression and social progress.
For the New Year’s Eve edition, Andrew Davies is joined by Geoff Pearson of Goldsmiths College, University of London (author of the acclaimed Hooligan: a history of respectable fears) and Tara Young of London Metropolitan University, an expert on youth in present-day London.

Meet the Author

If you’re in the Manchester area during November and would like to meet the author of The Gangs of Manchester, come along to one of the following bookstore events:

Saturday, 15 November, 12.00: Waterstone’s, Trafford Centre

Saturday, 22 November, 2.00: Waterstone’s, Deansgate

DATE TO BE CONFIRMED: Borders, Cheetham Hill Road (Manchester Fort)

Andrew Davies will be signing copies of the book, and talking to readers about the scuttling gangs of Victorian Manchester and Salford.

Mike Duff on The Gangs of Manchester

Manchester poet and novelist Mike Duff has written an appreciation of The Gangs of Manchester in the fanzine United We Stand (issue 177, November 2008). Mike read an early draft of the book and wrote the poem “The King of the Scuttlers” in response. This is what he made of the final version:

THE GANGS OF MANCHESTER is a well thought out, brilliantly told, historically accurate and definitive work about a phenomenon that swept the slums of Manchester during Victorian times: The Scuttlers. This was a Manchester of public houses, gin-shops, singing saloons, organ grinders and monkeys and music halls. Of prostitutes and pimps and lodging houses where men slept the line (if you couldn’t afford the price of a mattress they let you sleep on a wooden chair, the chairs were placed around the side of the room, and men would fall asleep upright on a rope stretched from one wall to the other). This was a Manchester of salvationists, revolutionaries, thieves, cadgers and Fenians. And Marx and Engels knew the Meadow, Ancoats, the Adelphi in Salford well and drank on the Crescent. It was here amongst the bedraggled that they formed their theories. And the author captures the mood, danger and violence of the times. So much so that you walk the streets of Manchester with the Scuttlers. The Scuttlers were groups of youths who caused murder and mayhem across the streets of our city and frightened the authorities into a frenzy. Scuttling (gang warfare for turf) first arose in the squalid, rat invested dwellings at the bottom of Rochdale Road, when Angel Meadow went to war with Ancoats over who controlled New Cross, and it quickly spread across the poorer parts of the city to Salford. Gangs and gang leaders quickly became legendary (the Bengal Tigers, the Bungall Boys, the Meadow Lads, John Brady and Owen Callaghan). Their mode of dress was amusing by modern standards, they favoured silk flashy scarves, brass tipped clogs, bell bottomed trousers and had their hair cut short at the back and sides and they sported long fringes plastered down beneath peaked caps that they always tilted to the left. Their favoured weapons were belts wrapped around their knuckles, pokers, hammers and chivs (knives) and remarkably they ranged between 12 and 22. The Rochdale Road wars lasted for thirty years and on every page of Andrew Davies’ gritty book there is a tale or two that will shock the reader and lay low the myth that the youth of today are any more out of control than their predecessors. In fact I’d argue that the kids today are angels in comparison. If you don’t know the streets of Manchester or Salford it will not impair your enjoyment of a book that is simply the best of its kind that I have read.

Mike Duff

 

BBC Manchester Online: feature on The Gangs of Manchester

To read a feature on The Gangs of Manchester, plus an interview with Andrew Davies by Richard Turner of BBC Manchester, click here.

Gangs of Manchester launched

 Andrew Davies launched his book The Gangs of Manchester at Manchester Central Library on Thursday 2nd October. 75 people turned out for the ticket-only event. Andrew will be following up this launch with a public talk about and reading from the book at the Central Library on Wednesday 22 October at 6pm. The event is free but ticket only – book your tickets at the Library (see links on lefthand column to Manchester Local Studies and Archives).

You can see more photos of the launch here

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