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In The Red

In The Red

Red Bank- A Seedbed of Modernity

Exhibition Open 18th May- 3rd December 2010

Red Bank was the name given to a small housing complex built at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road in the 1840s. The development was a disease ridden and over populated slum which provided a place of settlement for poor Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

Red Bank was no bigger than one square mile and yet has a symbolic importance of universal significance.

This exhibition characterises Red Bank as a ‘seedbed’. It was the seedbed of the Jewish community in Manchester in terms of its population, its religious life and its social care system. It was a seedbed of Manchester’s economy through the enterprises of Eastern European Entrepreneurs. The district was also a seedbed of working class radicalism as its residents joined and established trade unions. Red Bank’s influence reached a global stage when it featured in Friedrich Engels’s The Condition of the Working Class in England. Engels later went on to write the Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx; the foundation of European Communism.

From the 1890s the families that settled in Red Bank contributed largely, not only to Manchester’s Jewish history, but to the city’s economic, social and cultural life.