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A new lead in the Jack Hilton saga: a suitcase full of manuscripts
More on that in today’s briefing. Plus: another heatwave is coming
Dear Millers — following our hugely popular piece last weekend, the story of long-forgotten Manchester author Jack Hilton is now spreading fast. The i newspaper did a story about it yesterday, and in our latest podcast Jack Chadwick — the man on a mission to revive Hilton and bring him back into print — revealed that since publishing his Mill long read, he has been contacted by a man who has a suitcase full of Hilton’s original manuscripts. He just needs to go down to Dorset to pick them up… More on that below.
As ever, we have a great list of things to do this week including a twilight art class, a visit to a ‘bee corner’ in Salford, and readings and music at Chetham’s Library about a radical reformer.
At the weekend, we published an insightful essay by Mollie about the sacrifices that football demands of young women in Manchester. Mollie spoke to young women who had been considered exciting footballing stars as teenagers, only to drop out of the game prematurely, including Liv, who played for Manchester City Juniors:
At school, she found herself hiding what she did from her peers. She admits she felt embarrassed and didn’t want to stand out. “I was at that age in my life,” she says. “I was worried they would think I wasn’t girly.”
Last week, Mill members got a colourful piece about the ninth edition of the British Art Show, which is currently showing in Manchester. We sent longtime Miller Phil Griffin off to have a look. Members also received our Thursday edition in which Jack Dulhanty took us to the races to meet a cast of characters — all inside a Manchester betting shop.
We are a tiny team at The Mill but we have big plans. Our independent and thoughtful journalism is funded by our community of readers, which means our work is advert and clickbait free. If you’d like to support us and see the renaissance of quality journalism in Greater Manchester, click that button below. A month’s subscription is £7, and you will get an extra two editions each week.
This week’s weather ☀️
Our forecast comes from local weather man Martin Miles, who says we can expect a heatwave this week with “a toasty 32°c very possible”.
Tuesday 🌤 Warm with long spells of sunshine and light winds. Max 25°c.
Wednesday ☀️ Very warm and mostly sunny. Max 28°c.
Thursday ☀️ Hot, dry and sunny. Max 30°c.
Friday ☀️ Hot, dry and sunny. Max 31°c.
Weekend 🌤 A touch cooler on Saturday and Sunday but there will still be large amounts of sunshine. Temperature highs will still be very warm around 27°c.
You can find the latest forecast at Manchester Weather on Facebook. Daily forecasts are published at 6.15am.
The big story: Do you remember Jack Hilton?
Top line: The name Jack Hilton is spreading fast. Since Jack Chadwick published his hugely popular piece on The Mill about tracking down the copyrights to Hilton’s novel Caliban Shrieks in order to republish the book, publishers have been in touch offering to help. It looks like a pioneering working-class author, who impressed writers like Auden and Orwell with his original style, might be re-emerging from obscurity.
But first, Jack has a new task: reading the rest of Hilton’s work. "He wrote five books,” he says on our latest podcast episode. “I've been looking into Hilton for years and I've only read Caliban Shrieks, I've not had a chance to read his other works because they're so squirrelled away and hidden."
The suitcase: Off the back of his Mill story, Jack was contacted by yet another Jack, who had previously tried to find more of Hilton’s work. We know, it’s a lot of Jacks. Jack Windle located a suitcase full of Hilton’s old manuscripts in the attic of a council flat in Chadderton, and now Jack Chadwick is heading to Dorset to retrieve it.
Context: For Jack-addled readers who haven’t read the original piece linked above, you should. But in the meantime: Hilton was a working-class writer who, despite critical acclaim and inspiring George Orwell to write about the working classes, vanished from the canon. Jack writes:
Online fragments acknowledge Hilton as a writer of great talent who came from nowhere to blow wide open the parameters of literary modernism — only to disappear within 15 years of Caliban Shrieks hitting the presses.
He became a plasterer, and few of even his closest friends knew he had been a writer. Many attempts had been made to track down the copyrights to his work and find out more about him. But the answers, as it happened, were in Hilton’s local pub. On the podcast, Jack says:
It was a last ditch effort, I'd spent six months trying to reach out to other people who had tried to find out more about Hilton. My own effort was building on the work these people had done, using the internet and archives. And as a last-ditch effort I thought I'd throw myself in a few of his locals.
Before he had finished his pint, he was set on a journey to find Mary, the wife of one of Hilton’s friends, who had unknowingly come to own the copyrights. And now, that story has attracted journalists from London, New York and Berlin who want to dig deeper and better chart Hilton’s life and work.
It also attracted the i newspaper, which published a story this weekend that extensively paraphrased our long read but failed to link back to The Mill. We thought that was a pretty shoddy way for a national newspaper to treat independent local media, especially given the amount of work these stories take to edit and produce. After getting lots of criticism on Twitter from us and other Millers, the newspaper has now apologised and repaired the error. Glad that’s straightened out.
Bottom line: We’ll be sure to keep Millers updated on Jack’s journey to help Caliban Shrieks, and maybe more of Hilton’s work besides, reach a new readership. But for now, be sure to listen to Jack talk about Hilton and his work on our podcast. You can listen on Spotify, or on Apple podcasts below. Plus, we’ve heard Jack’s been invited on the Lauren Laverne show on Radio 6, so you’ll be able to catch him there too.
Home of the week
Tucked away with a small easy-to-manage garden, this very grand 4-bedroom semi-detached Victorian house in Levenshulme has four floors and would make an ideal family home. It’s on the market for £500,000.
Your Mill news briefing
Greater Manchester leaders have written to the government calling for an "urgent rethink" of HS2’s Manchester plans. They say the proposal to build a cheaper overground station at Manchester Piccadilly is the wrong solution and could "damage the North for generations”. Andy Burnham said: “This is a huge moment and the decisions that are made now will affect the prospects for people here in the North for hundreds of years to come. A second-class choice for HS2 at Manchester Piccadilly station will be a hammer blow to any prospects of really Levelling Up our country."
Sources have told the Times that Manchester could completely run out of Monkeypox vaccinations next week. Andy Burnham has written to the health secretary to complain that vaccinations have become concentrated in the capital despite a growing rate of infection in Manchester. He said: "As things stand, we are not expecting to receive enough doses to enable us to vaccinate the 3,500 high-risk individuals we have already identified. Currently, Monkeypox seems to be unevenly affecting gay and bisexual men — almost all the cases in the UK are in young males, with 73% of infections concentrated in London. Burnham has said Manchester will need an "urgent uplift in vaccine supply" before Manchester Pride on August 26.
Sexual offences in Bolton have reached their highest levels on record. The ONS found 1,104 sexual offences were recorded in the year up to March, up from 810 the year before. Bolton South MP Yasmin Qureshi, who we profiled early this year, said the findings were the "most concerning" part of the ONS's report. The rise could be down to two things: a genuine rise in offences, or more people being prepared to report cases to GMP than in previous years.
Four Vietnamese men, believed to have died in a fire at a mill in Oldham, were identified last week. Cuong Van Chu, 39, Uoc Van Nguyen, 31, Duong Van Nguyen, 29, and Nam Thanh Le, 21 — the latter believed to have only entered the country eight months ago — have been named. Nam Thanh Le last spoke to his family a few days before the fire in May, and had previously told them he was living in a mill in "Dam", believed to be Oldham. Jack Dulhanty reported on this story a few weeks ago.
Rochdale Council is looking for a company to design and build a 27-acre, £4m solar farm in Heywood. Chamber House Solar Farm is part of a three-year programme to use council-owned land in Manchester, Stockport, Salford, Rochdale and Wigan for renewable energy schemes. Rochdale council predict their solar farm will generate enough energy to power 1,250 homes.
Ryan Giggs, a former icon at Manchester United, began his trial today at Minshull Street Crown Court. Giggs is accused of attacking and controlling his ex-girlfriend, Kate Greville. He is also accused of assaulting Greville's sister, Emma. He denies the charges.
And for those planning to catch a train this month, expect further disruption. Due to “unofficial strike action” by drivers, Avanti West Coast has suspended ticket sales and cut services, starting this Sunday until 11th September. The worst affected services seem to be Manchester to London Euston. And there is more bad news for people planning to travel on the Bury Metrolink line this weekend. Essential maintenance means part of the line will be out of service from this Saturday till Friday the 19th of August. There will be replacement buses covering affected stops, and for alternative travel options and more information, you can check TfGM's travel advice page.
Our favourite reads
A day in the life of a 999 call handler — The Sunday Times
We enjoyed this piece by David Collins who went to see the work of GMP call handlers as they answer the complaints and cries of help from people across the region, including those who call emergency services because of KFC running out of chicken. “In an air-conditioned office on the outskirts of Manchester, Anthony Bellamy-Hibbert was doing his best to convince a drunken stranger not to kill himself. Bellamy-Hibbert, a call handler for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), had been trained by hostage negotiators. But even for him, this was highly pressured.”
“Like a blacked-out nightclub”: Happy Mondays’ Bummed — John Harris, Medium.com
The critic and columnist John Harris has re-published a 2002 piece he wrote for MOJO, following the release of Bummed by the Happy Mondays. “For all its recently-acquired modern sparkle, 21st century Manchester is still a city full of ghosts: not just within the warehouses and mill buildings that date from its time of industrial pre-eminence, but also in more contemporary places,” he writes.
An Irish Tour at the Portico — The Portico Library
We always turn to the Portico Library’s blog for fascinating and well-researched pieces. Today’s find was written by Aoife Larkin, who trawled through the library’s archives to see what she — an Irish person in Manchester — could learn about Irish history. “It is sometimes presumed that I am an expert in Irish history and culture. I suppose I have the same degree of authoritative knowledge as the average English person has on English history,” she writes.
Our to do list
🎨 OT Creative Space in Old Trafford has a ‘Twilight Art Class’. It’s a 6-week art course, and no experience is needed. You’ll learn how to create art with charcoal, pastels, and watercolours. Starts 6.15pm. Info here.
🍟 Chippy Tuesday at Levenshulme veggie and vegan bistro The Gherkin gives you a free chip butty with every drink. Don’t miss out. Info here.
✨ Z-Arts in Hulme has an interactive exhibition, called Fairytales. It’s a world of play and storytelling for little ones and their grownups. Dates throughout the week, but typically open from 10am. Book here.
🎤 Band on the Wall welcomes Hempress Sativa, a reggae star who is on a tour of the UK. Expect reggae, hip-hop and afrobeat vibes. Starts 7.30pm. Book here.
📖 Chetham’s Library is taking visitors back to the time of Peterloo with readings from early radical reformer Samuel Bamford, and songs performed by a contemporary Lancashire balladress. Starts 7.30pm. Book here.
🎶 More music abounds with contemporary folk duo Fellow Pynins performing at the Stoller Hall. Expect to be taken on a journey “through whimsically woven folk tales”. Starts 7.30pm. Tickets here.
🐝 On Sunday, Bee Corner in Salford is celebrating its first birthday. If you like bees, you’re invited to the urban green space behind Islington Mill for an ‘Api Bee Day’. Starts 2pm and you can drop in. Bee Corner: Behind Unit 5, Regent Trading Estate, Salford M5 4DE.
Letters to the editor
Another great article (‘What football asks of young women’), which I really enjoyed, not just because I was a women’s football chairman for 25 years, but also because it does capture the conflicts and clashes off the field, as well as on it. Bill
What an excellent and thought-provoking article (He captured the imagination of Orwell and Auden — then he disappeared from view’). The rage in the excerpts just leaps off the page and Jack, your literary analysis and use of language shines. Best of luck with getting this republished and out to a wider audience. Caroline