sat 04/12/2021

Hard Times, Murrays' Mills, Manchester | reviews, news & interviews

Hard Times, Murrays' Mills, Manchester

Hard Times, Murrays' Mills, Manchester

Dickens's industrial novel is staged in an old cotton mill he may have visited

This version of 'Hard Times' is in effect a classic TV series live: Alice O’Connell as Louisa Gradgrind and Verity May Henry as Sissy JupeImages by Gerry Murray

Dickens wasn’t wrong – hard times they were. Around 1300 men, women and children worked at the Murrays’ Mills complex in the Ancoats area of Manchester in its mid-19th-century heyday (if you can call it that). Arrive a minute later than 7am and you were locked out, without pay. Now that actors are treading those same worn and oil-stained boards with an imaginative new version of Hard Times, you won’t get in after 7pm (and you’re the one paying, of course).

Dickens wasn’t wrong – hard times they were. Around 1300 men, women and children worked at the Murrays’ Mills complex in the Ancoats area of Manchester in its mid-19th-century heyday (if you can call it that). Arrive a minute later than 7am and you were locked out, without pay. Now that actors are treading those same worn and oil-stained boards with an imaginative new version of Hard Times, you won’t get in after 7pm (and you’re the one paying, of course).

There is every chance that Dickens saw the place for himself on one of his many visits to Manchester factories

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