Putting people in the Picture in Burnage


You probably know about Green Screen technology – it’s the way films like Star Wars get Jedi Knights slogging it out on an alien planet, when they’re actually in a studio in Shepperton. But we thought we’d bring it home to Burnage and invite families in to have their portrait taken against a backdrop of “Old Burnage” as part of our Burnage Memory Bank Festival we’re running over November.

Archives+ (Based at Manchester Central Library) kindly lent us their equipment and we identified some amazing images of Burnage from the Image Collection of Manchester Archives. It’s hard to imagine that over 100 years ago Burnage was once a leafy place, with cottages and farms, and Burnage Lane was actually a muddy lane. It was great to see families thinking about what was once going on in the familiar streets they know today; cobble stones, girls with big hats, brass marching bands, and cute shops with jars of sweets in the window.

At over 90, history group member Sibyl was up for having a go too. Using an ipad and the Green Screen app Do Ink – its easy to show participants how the process works. We were able to print out high quality photos thanks to the loan of a dinky portable printer from Archives+, and the icing on the cake was a frame to take it home in.

“I’m doing a project on the Victorians – I’m going to take this picture into school” said one local pupil. “It’s hard to believe all this was here 100 years ago” added her Mum. There were also more familiar backdrops from the fifties with classic cars parked in virtually traffic free streets, and photos from the 70’s showing a huge range of independent shops; bakeries, butchers, “The Fryery” chippy, tobacconists and sweet shops. One family chose a backdrop of the shops on Kingsway and Green End Road to show their Nan.

It was certainly a great way to “put people in the picture” and get them thinking about their local area, and how its developed over time.

Our Burnage Memory Bank Festival will be running over November and is a celebration of 2 years of our People’s Health Trust funded project exploring local history and gathering the stories of Burnage people. Find out more on our What’s On, page.