Online exhibition by Cartwheel Arts captures life in lockdown on Darnhill & Langley estates in Heywood and Middleton

Date published: 07 September 2020

Longstanding Heywood-based participatory arts organisation, Cartwheel Arts has shared an online exhibition capturing life in lockdown on Darnhill and Langley estates.

Working with photographer Katie King, the charity has documented what life has been like for residents, businesses and community groups as the country became caught in the grip of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Striking photography and raw commentary captures the lockdown experience for people on the Heywood and Middleton estates during this unprecedented moment in history.





It now forms part of the Heritage Lottery-funded Overspill Project which has been capturing stories from people who moved from Manchester’s slums to the newly built overspill estates in the 1950s and 60s.

The exhibitions can be viewed on the project website with separate pages devoted to Langely and Darnhill.

The project is mainly funded and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with The Guinness Partnership, which manages properties on the Darnhill estate, also contributing funds.

Overspill Project Manager Vicki Greer said “Since the start of the Overspill project we have captured dozens of rich and informative stories about what life was like for people moving from the Manchester slums to brand new homes in Middleton.

“We had several workshops booked in for March and April to meet with more residents and capture more of the brilliant stories local people have been sharing with us, but of course, these had to be cancelled.

“It occurred to us that we were witnessing another historical moment in the estates’ history and it was prudent that we captured it and shared residents experience through the project website.

“It has been fascinating to see how different people living so close to each other have experienced lockdown in such different ways depending on their individual circumstances and these portraits and quotes give a perfect snapshot of that.”




The Overspill Project

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project has shared the stories and experiences of the people who were moved from the Manchester slum clearances to the overspill estates in the 1950s and 1960s. The project has already delivered a wide range of community activity to gather and celebrate these important stories, including dedicated workshops for people living with dementia, creative workshops and family friendly community  activities to bring this rich history to a new generation. An exhibition of the project ran at the People’s History Museum in Manchester from October 2019 to January 2020.

The project findings are showcased on the project website which launched in April 2019.

Anyone interested in the project can visit the project website and share their own memories.




Cartwheel Arts believes that this is the first large scale project which has captured the heritage of the Darnhill and Langely estates, which will ensure that this important history is preserved for the future and also reinterpret it for new audiences. Volunteers have been trained to conduct oral history interviews, carry out research and support events.

The project, which was originally due to end in June 2020 will now conclude in October 2020 due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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