The 2018 Manchester History Festival was themed around Protest, Democracy, and Freedom of Speech, and was held at Manchester Central Library from the 8th-11th of June.

Jess, Dom and I managed a stall at the festival, on Sunday 10th June. We selected some choice items from the Special Collections, and spoke to over 100 people, engaging a wide range of audiences who are now more familiar with the John Rylands Library.

The items selected included: posters, articles and a digitised example from the Peterloo Archive, the Artis, and bespoke Top Trump playing cards.

When discussing the items from the Peterloo Collection, we touched on important points such as the upcoming centenary, and that the location of the Library was within the space of the massacre, and linked this with the over-arching theme of the festival.

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We also took a facsimile of the 12th-century illuminated manuscript Beatus, as an example of the John Rylands’ manuscript collections. Its lavish illustrations and comments on the Apocalypse intrigued many visitors.

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Our most popular item on the table was the bespoke John Rylands Top Trump cards made by Jessica. It was a great way to engage all ages while showcasing other items in the collections.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the chance to see some of the fascinating work and projects on the history of Manchester displayed by other organisations.