The Horsfall, 87-91 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M4 5AG – Visit Now
The Horsfall is a unique creative venue in the heart of Ancoats, run by award-winning mental health charity 42nd Street, runs a stellar public programme featuring regular arts and social events, exhibitions by emerging and established artists and performances.
The renovation and repurposing of a Victorian shop into a welcoming and stimulating three storey space aims to open access to the transformative powers of creativity and inspire new social action. It reflects 42nd Street’s aims to support young people under stress and improve mental health and wellbeing through engagement with art, nature and heritage.
The incredible inspiration for its name and ethos is nineteenth century philanthropist Thomas Horsfall. Believing that art could be a transformative force to improve people’s lives and wellbeing, Horsfall opened The Ancoats Art Museum in 1884, determined that its location would be in the neighbourhood of the urban poor, living in unimaginable conditions in the heart of the world’s first industrial city. This unique social and artistic experiment aimed to lift people both spiritually and morally with art and music (including a room by William Morris).
Although sadly demolished, its phenomenal legacy includes Turner paintings left to Manchester City Art Gallery, and a change in the law that allowed schoolchildren to access art and culture during the school day as part of their essential education.
As creative approaches go, we can’t think of a better way of drawing inspiration from this incredible history to imagine new futures. Long live The Horsfall.