Sharp Street Ragged School had an inauspicious start when it opened its doors in the 1850s. Youths threw stones through the school’s windows, left dead cats on the doorstep and attacked the teachers as they were walking down the street. It took the teachers five years to win over hearts and minds in the slum and soon they were providing classes to 400 children each week.
Step into the Victorian underworld of Angel Meadow, the vilest and most dangerous slum of the Industrial Revolution. In the shadow of the world's first cotton mill, 30,000 souls trapped by poverty are fighting for survival as the British Empire is built upon their backs.
Thieves and prostitutes keep company with rats in overcrowded lodging houses and deep cellars on the banks of a black river, the Irk. Gangs of 'scuttlers' stalk the streets in pointed, brass-tripped clogs. Those who evade their clutches are hunted down by cholera and tuberculosis. Lawless drinking dens and a cold slab in the dead house provide the only relief from this filthy and frightening world.
Journalist Dean Kirby takes readers on a hair-raising journey through the alleyways, gin palaces and underground vaults of the nineteenth century Manchester slum considered so diabolical it was re-christened 'hell upon earth' by Friedrich Engels in 1845.
Enter Angel Meadow if you dare...
Angel Meadow will be published by Pen and Sword on 28 February, 2016. See my website for details.
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1 thought on “Sharp Street Ragged School”
I remember the Ragged school well. Back in 1978 to 1982 I played with a Punk band called the Drones. We were allowed to use the basement for our rehearsal room. I also worked with Woolly Wolstenholme from Barclay James Harvest, who also used the Ragged school to rehearse. History with history.