Zion 100

Zion Arts Centre celebrates the penultimate event remembering the Zion throughout its 100 years

By Lee Isherwood | 12 September 2011

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 “The memories and ephemera of 100 years as heart of the community”

Zion Arts Centre celebrates the penultimate event in its countdown calendar remembering the Zion throughout its 100 years as a communal centre of Hulme with a commemorative exhibition filled with artefacts, photos and cuttings looking at the rich and at times turbulent history of Hulme.

The exhibition comes from several community consultations in which people who live or have lived in Hulme were invited to share their objects, memories and experiences with Zion Arts Centre and MMU in order to build an in depth picture of what the centre and daily life was like through the decades. This outreach work included a series of Oral History interviews in which young people went and interviewed elderly people to record their stories and reminiscences. These recordings will be used in the exhibition and the centenary’s grand finale theatrical event.

Ed Marsh, one of the young people working on the oral histories says of the project that it “really encouraged elderly people to share their own experiences and give them the recognition that their stories are being listened to. It’s really important that we record our heritage whilst it’s still in living memory”.

This exhibition celebrates tells the story of one of the most remarkable buildings in Hulme – the Zion Building.  Opened in October 1911 the Zion Institutional Church was a new type of religious building which aimed to attract the working classes who rarely attended church. To do this it was designed as an institute in which a range of leisure and recreational activities were offered to the men, women and children of Hulme. Now operating as an arts centre, Zion is celebrating its 100th birthday by taking a retrospective look.

The exhibition features photographs, newspapers  and original documents and has been organised by Terry Wyke from Manchester Metropolitan University who has been historian-in-residence at the Zion over the last year. In working on the exhibition and a book about the history of the building he has been assisted by Sharon Forrest, a student at MMU.

After speaking to many past and previous Hulme residents Terry remarks that “It became obvious in listening to those who knew the building as children in the 1930s and 1940s that Zion was one of the social hubs of the community. It became even more important in the 1960s when it escaped the bulldozers to become a symbol of a community that residents believed was worth keeping. Its physical survival was remarkable. It has now found a new role as an arts centre for the young, a use that would find approval from those churchgoers who opened the building on Stretford Road exactly one hundred years ago.”

The exhibition will be on display at Zion on weekdays from 4pm-9pm and 9am-4pm on Saturdays from the 24th September – Friday 21st October.  There will be an exhibition launch with refreshments and a chance to talk with Terry and the Zion staff on Saturday 24th September at 6pm.

For more information on Zion Arts activities please visit www.zionarts.com

Zion 100 is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and is in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University.


Zion 100 Exhibition
In Partnership with MMU
Exhibition Launch Saturday 24th September, 6pm-8pm
Zion Arts Centre


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