Craig Brisbane has the most incredible collection of historical artefacts dating back thousands of years – over 20,000 items – most of it related to the local area.
Rare old postcards, a canon ball and musket balls from the English Civil War, Bronze Age arrow heads and flints…you name it, Craig’s got it, and will probably be bringing it to the Bury New Road Festival on Friday 15th July at the Broughton Hub.
From old Prestwich Co-Op minute books to Kersal Cell beer mats, to a bottle from the Red Lion Hotel, a bus ticket advertising Mick Dines Bookmaker and a bowler hat brush from a Bury New Road hatter, Craig’s collection is an amazing physical history of the people, the places and the faces of a bygone era.
Craig, who was also on the Castlefield archaeological team finding Roman remains in the 1970s, has been collecting for fifty five years, inspired by his father, John Brisbane, who, after retirement from ICI, opened an antique shop in Sherbourne Street in Prestwich Village, later having Rainsough Antiques and Oakleigh Antiques opposite St Mary’s Park.
Indeed, Oakleigh Antiques was the inspiration for Victoria Woods’ 1980s comedy Acorn Antiques, that also starred Julie Walters… “She was a regular visitor to the shop” Craig recalls as he recounts the other 26 antique shops that Prestwich hosted back in the day… “Even Harvey the hairdresser sold antiques from his shop window”…
Inspired by his parents’ antique activities, Craig did a bit of buying and selling himself, and together with three others, founded the Prestwich Heritage Society, later setting up the Prestwich Archaeology Group that worked on Prestwich Golf Course as it was being re-shaped following the sale of some of its land for housing. They found evidence of medieval metal working at the site and a lead tobacco jar buried by the Prestwich masons when they stopped meeting in the town and moved to Radcliffe.
Archaeological finds from the golf course and Rainsough that have made their way into Craig’s collection include early Bronze Age arrow heads, sharpened flints, clay pipes and Civil War musket balls found in the 1950s. There’s also a civil war cannon ball that a bloke found while digging his garden.
There was no Civil War fighting taking place in the area but, between battles in Bolton and Manchester, the Prestwich hills provided good lookout points for troops to stop…“There was Prestwich Golf Course which had a good view and another hill nearer the Irwell that was quarried away, even though it had an Iron Age hill fort on it, which the government at the time didn’t see as important” Craig explains.
While the authorities seem happy to discard history, Craig is preserving it as a personal journey and displaying it hands-on in the community, away from dusty museums and glass cases.
“It’s the social history of the people of Prestwich over the last thousands of years based upon the material remains in houses, gardens, archaeology, family things and collections” Craig decides “There’s lots of pictures of old Bury New Road, and everything from cannon balls to altar frontals; anything that might have a story to tell of the people of the past – I think it will be fun…”
Craig Brisbane will be exhibiting his collection of historical artefacts in the foyer of the Broughton Hub between noon and 7pm on Friday 15th July as part of the Bury New Road Festival – click here for details.
The Broughton Hub is situated on Rigby Street, off Devonshire Street, which is just off Bury New Road M7 4BQ, behind the Greek Orthodox Church in Salford. (the Hub has a free car park, entrance on Devonshire Street)
The Bury New Road Festival will also include the launch of the North Manchester Yiddish Dictionary at two shows, 1pm (approx) and 5:45pm (approx) – see here.
There will also be an exhibition of abstract paintings by the Mental Wellbeing Group at The Fed, based on their reactions to the Longfield Centre in Prestwich which is soon to be bulldozed. As part of this process, a special ‘Prestwich Palette’ of colours based on buildings in the Precinct was developed, so look out for Prestwich Library Yellow, Village Greens Green and Bollard Blue in the artwork (for details see here)…
The Manchester District Music Archive and Salford Local History Group will also be on hand to scan photos and interview people about the amazing events, people and places connected to the Road. Just turn up and add to our archive. And, at 2pm, former miner, Paul Kelly, will be giving an illustrated talk on Big Tunnels Under Bury New Road (see here).
John Darwin will be performing verse with a Bury New Road twist (see here), the Strummalongs will be performing from 3pm (see here) and there will also be an exhibition of the latest Bury New Road portraits by Louise Garman and photos from the Bury New Road archive of Paul Jones (see here).
The Bury New Road Project…A heritage project that seeks to point out the amazing people and events that have links to this section of the A56 between Strangeways and Prestwich. We aim to point out the magic, and everyone’s welcome to help.
The Bury New Road Project is funded by the Heritage Fund, Granada Foundation and Mary Monson Solicitors, with added support from Salford City Council, Manchester City Council and Bury Council.