Our Sam, the Middleton Man is a new community film by REELmcr, which recognises Peterloo legend Sam Bamford. Radical reformer and writer, Samuel Bamford, is beyond doubt Middleton’s most famous ‘forgotten’ son, having inspired a call for an end to poverty and the beginning of democracy, and having led a group of marchers from Middleton to St Peter’s Fields in August 1819, for what was subsequently known as the Peterloo Massacre.
But what relevance has Mr Bamford got for the now, as we approach the 200th anniversary of Peterloo? Community media company, REELmcr, produced by Middleton’s Jacqui Carroll, has worked with hundreds of local people over the last two years to make a film that brings Samuel Bamford back to modern day Middleton, introducing him to a whole new generation. The film, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, saw young people develop a script, having gone on heritage trails to learn more about Sam Bamford. And the local hero’s real words were used in the subsequent drama, which follows the story of teenager Samantha, as she brings together the town’s young people to represent themselves in a positive way – with Sam’s encouragement that ‘there’s strength in unity lass’.
The film premiered at the Middleton Arena on Friday 26th April, and it is being screened at Manchester Central Library on Thursday 27th June, as part of the Manchester Histories Festival’s Peterloo programme. Further screenings will take place at Touchstones, Rochdale, Stockport Library, the Working Class Movement Library and the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre in Moston.
I’ll be talking to Jacqui about the film, and about Samuel Bamford’s relevance to modern-day Middleton, on this week’s show. And, of course, I’ll also be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers in the second hour!
Catch A Helping of History on Tuesday at 12 on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).
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