Dear Mat

Just got back to London tonight having been in M/c since Sunday doing some talks for the Manchester Histories Festival-one of which by a strange coincidence included a section about the hall with pictures! Just discovered your site and read about your project-it sounds terrific ,much needed after all these years –and very timely .

I make history films and write about historical subjects, esp medieval,(I was originally an Anglo-Saxonist) and I have been fascinated by the hall since I was a kid. We moved from Moss Side to Wythenshawe in 1955 and my mum and dad lived in Paulden Avenue for more than 30 years. I remember the hall before the metal box (I could see it from my bedroom window!) , when there were fears at least at one point that the building might not survive(6 or 7000 local people signed a petition to save it from demolition in the late sixties) , and then of course during the years of the box: I once got a look inside and we frequently snooped around it when we were kids. When we were little, our wonderful head at Benchill primary school, Mr Thomas, was very interested in the history of the area and talked about it, along with the story of the “Saxon burials’ at Saxfield! .

Anyway, in addition to my day job, (we are a small documentary film company) I am now visiting Prof in Public History at Manchester University, so come up to M/c fairly frequently (I live in London now, having left M/c for work in 1985, though I kept my flat in Didsbury till the mid nineties). If there is any way that you think I could help the project I’d be really happy to do so. Initially it might have to be simply a matter of lending my name to help publicize the project- of course, if you felt that were any use to you- as I am working on a series of films in China and am regularly travelling there, so life is a bit full and I haven t got much chance of doing anything active just for now as I havent got much spare time. So I cant promise too much till after october. But I’d be game, eg, to do a fundraising talk in M/c -in town, or in Wythenshawe, or both,- at some point in the future if you all thought that was worth doing; and in the meantime, even if it were in a small way, I’d be glad to help. Its a really fascinating building which should be much better known, and which you cant help but feel could still play a role in enriching the life of the community.
So at least, please add me to the list of Friends!!

And very best of luck with the project!

All the best
Michael Wood

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