Norris Nicholson, Heather (2001) Two tales of a city: Salford in regional filmmaking, 1957-1973. Manchester Region History Review, 15. pp. 41-53. ISSN 0952-4320

This discussion considers the role of moving image in constructing aspects of regional identity, with particular reference to footage produced by two very different filmmakers who filmed in Ordsall, Salford during the 1960s. Their respective footage covers a period of profound social and physical change associated with housing clearance and urban renewal schemes. This article, which is based upon archival film footage in the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, seeks to convey the richness and multi-facetted nature of this footage and to highlight its value in the historical exploration of identity formation. The piece begins with a brief consideration of archival film as a source of historical evidence and associated issues of interpretation. This is followed by an introduction to the locality that features in the two filmmakers’ work and brief reference to how it has been represented in the past. Attention then turns to each of the filmmakers: first, John Michael Goodger, former lecturer at the University of Salford, who made a trilogy of films to chart the changing character of Ordsall in the late 1960s; second, Ralph Brookes, an amateur home movie maker who also documented the transformation of the terraced streets around where he lived. These contrasting versions of Ordsall highlight some of the challenges offered by using film in a study of regional identities. They also illustrate the enormous potential of such material in helping to elucidate the shifting and multiple nature of place meanings.

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