It’s almost 2 years since the excavation of The Reno Club in Moss Side, organised by Linda Brogan and carried out by Salford University’s Centre of Applied Archaeology.

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The Reno, the Nile Club and several shops were housed within a grand Victorian gothic building which stood on the corner of the busy junction of Princess Parkway and Moss Lane East, until the building was demolished in the mid-1980s due to its poor state of repair.

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Because the Reno was in the basement, it partially survived the demolition process and its remains lay buried beneath ground level for over 3 decades until they were unearthed for a brief period in October 2017.

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The dig began on Monday October 9th 2017, and went on for three weeks, finishing with a big party next to the site on the night of Saturday the 28th.

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My husband was a regular at The Reno during the ’80s so I was very interested when the club was excavated. And the project was unique for being an archaeological excavation of a building which had stood within living memory.

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Most of these pictures were taken on the last day of the dig (28/10/17) or on the following day, when the bulldozers were reburying the site, and everyone was understandably very emotional.

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Remembering the Hacienda demolition, which I cycled past daily for months, never thinking to take a brick, meanwhile other people were collecting mementos, I asked Linda if there was a plan to give bricks or tiles to any members of the community who might want them as keepsakes.

“Everything’s to be left as it is and reburied,” Linda said sternly, or words to that effect… and I wasn’t brave enough to argue.

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What I did do though, was I scurried back into the hole, prized up two lino tiles and stuffed them in my bag. “I’m not making the same mistake twice” I thought.

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Looking at these pictures now, we could have saved more of the lino tiles and reconstructed the dancefloor as a piece of wall art… or tiles could have been laid on the floor under safety glass. But I didn’t know then that there might be an opportunity in the future to do anything like that.

What a shame I wasn’t brave enough to argue with Linda! I must remember to trust my gut and believe in myself more in future!

This pic was before:

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This one after:

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There’s tiles missing next to the hole I made, so maybe someone else had the same idea.

Linda went on to secure a year-long residency at The Whitworth Art Gallery running from March 2019. I really hope her literally ground-breaking work will signal to the Greater Manchester councils just how precious some of our urban heritage is to local people. The authorities need to pay MUCH more attention to people’s emotional relationship with place, as this is what adds so much value to our very unbeautiful area.

Emotional ties are MASSIVE in this area, otherwise why the hell would any of us choose to stay here?

OUR EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT IN THIS PLACE is what gives our decision makers their clout on the national and international stage. They need to take this on board and make it central to their decision making.

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You can find out more about The Reno project at Whitworth Art Gallery, which is just a 10 minute walk away from the site of The Reno – along Moss Lane East and across Whitworth Park.