TEN former ex-pupils and friends who met at Manchester High School of Art are staging a compelling combined exhibition… after an absence of more than 60 years.
The stimulating free event entitled ‘The Ten Of Us’ opens on Saturday, January 20 at Saddleworth Museum and Gallery in Uppermill and runs till Saturday, February 18.
Phil Hughes, the group’s spokesperson and an Uppermill resident, said: “We all met at art school in the mid-1950s.
“It’s amazing after all this time we still have so much in common, both in our memories of the school and our desire and enthusiasm to paint.”
He added: “Putting on this exhibition is a way of showing our fondness for the school while acknowledging the role it played in shaping our various careers.”
Many of the artists have not met since attending the school in the mid-1950s.
Based in Strangeways, the school was unique in the post-war secondary education sector. It offered pupils, initially from inner-city primary and secondary schools, a full academic curriculum to GCE standard combined with a strong emphasis placed on the visual and applied arts.
It is believed no other school locally or nationally offered this educational opportunity to inner-city working-class children.
The school continued to prosper and pursue its radical agenda until the early 1980s when, after changes to Manchester education policy, the council decided to close the school despite a storm of protest.
Neil Cochrane, another group member, said: “The ‘Ten Of Us’ exhibition – apart from being unique – promises a feast of exciting drawing and painting styles which we hope will engage with the people of Oldham, Saddleworth and beyond.”
Exhibiting artists are Delph-based John McCombs, Harry Robertson, David Ralston, John McSweeney, Phil Hughes, David Edwards, Neil Cochrane, Steve Capper, Reg Calvert and Ted Bates.
There is free entry to the exhibition at Saddleworth Museum from 1.30 pm until 4pm.