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Who Built Wythenshawe? The Forgotten Story of Ernest & Shena Simon

This exhibition traces the story of Wythenshawe during the twentieth century. From a humble collection of small villages, Wythenshawe was developed as a garden city to re-house the tens of thousands of families previously forced to live in Manchester’s inner-city slums in well-built and spacious neighbourhoods amidst green surroundings. Alongside illustrating Wythenshawe’s history, the exhibition tells the captivating lives of Ernest and Shena Simon who played a critical role in Wythenshawe’s development. The Wythenshawe we see today would not have existed without the great energy and inspiring altruism of the Simons. They paved the way for the creation of Wythenshawe in 1926 by purchasing and donating Wythenshawe Hall and its surrounding parkland for the people of Manchester. Yet their role in pushing for a garden city, their wider work in improving the social conditions of working people across Manchester and their fascinating personal lives, are largely forgotten. There is little in the way of memorials to the Simons, but their legacy runs deep, as we hope this exhibition will reveal. Drawing on historical research, documentary photographs, old maps and original records from the archives, this exhibition illustrates many notable moments in the history of Wythenshawe as Manchester’s garden city.

Exhibition Launch. Henry Watson Music Library. Monday 15th August 11am. 

Free – drop in – please consider making a donation if you can either online or at one of our cash or contactless donation boxes in Central Library