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the infinitesimal atom


sleeping bag

In my explorations of Ardwick, I've found that the area has a history of providing shelter to the homeless - there was a campaign for the "Homeless and Rootless" and a shelter in the railway arches near Blind Lane in the 1970-s was set up by the Bishop of Middleton aided by students from the University who served soup and hot drinks in the evenings. In 1980, there was a protest to try and save the Ardwick Night Shelter on Harkness Street - still an area where a number of private hostels exist. The protest took the form of a demonstration in Albert Square outside the Town Hall where protestors set up a rope and leaned over it - representing the 19th century practise whereby "down and outs" could pay 1d to hang on a rope for the night to stay out of danger and the cold weather. In the late 80s/90s, the council opened a direct access hostel in Ardwick - but this closed very recently and was demolished leaving a plot of overgrown weeds and grass surrounded by a fence. In the last few years, not far from the Ardwick boundary, homeless people were camped in cheap tents along downing street, along the main road towards piccadilly station.

"The latest figures - based on estimates carried out on one night in November - show 189 people now sleeping rough across the region - up from 134 last year" (Manchester Evening News Jan2017)

The image above was taken just near the site, now derelict of the Direct Access Hostel.

Oscare Wilde, writing in 1891 about poverty and charity in The Soul of Man Under Socialism said "the man who is poor is in himself absolutely of no importance. He is merely the infinitesimal atom of a force that, so far from regarding him, crushes him: indeed, prefers him crushed, as in that case he is far more obedient"

The final work can be seen in the Ardwick Built exhibition at Pool Arts studio

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