Manchester and Salford Whit Walks: A really potted history

Whilst this is by no means a comprehensive history of the Whit Walks, I thought I best provide a bit more context for the posts in this blog. There are a few more comprehensive overviews out there I would recommend Canon Jim Burns’ book if you can get hold of a copy as the most interesting overview complete with personal reflections from people who have walked over the years (available in Manchester Central Library). I do intend to try and develop a fuller explanation – we have gathered over 200 years of news archives related to the Whit Walks in Manchester which we are in the process of making sense of. Below is work that is pretty much pasted from a conference paper I delivered so is a really condensed explanation! Here is a picture of my Grandma doing the Whit Walks in Denton (South-East-ish of Manchester)….

Alice Platt (my grandma) taking part in Denton’s Whit Walks

During the beginnings of industrialisation in Lancashire, the Whitsun holiday was seen as one of the most important times of the working classes calendar (Fielding, 1989). The Walks were traditionally undertaken on Whit Friday for the Catholic churches and Whit Monday for the Anglican churches during the religious festival of Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles as described in The Act of the Apostles in the New Testament. Fielding states that the first Anglican walk took place in Manchester in 1801 with the Catholics following the tradition by 1844 (Fielding, 1989).

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Processions of Witness

It is a huge oversight on my part but I have not blogged for a while! There are probably 2 reasons:

1) I got a new job so have been settling in to that – new teaching means I spend a lifetime writing powerpoints

2) I am a sufferer of impostor syndrome so occasionally turn to mush and am unable to communicate my ideas with any confidence!

Anyway, time to get this old thing back on the road!

Myself and a colleague here at MMU, Dr. Tim Edensor, put together a proposal for a small study which has been awarded a pot of funding (maybe enough to get half the interviews transcribed…but that is better than nothing). Here are the details to whet your appetite!

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