A History of Bank Street: An Arts Enterprise Project

A History of Bank Street: An Arts Enterprise Project

Event details: Exhibition opens Wednesday 7 May 2014 at Bank street Arts, Bank Street. Free entry. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 5.00pm.

This Arts Enterprise project on the history of late-Georgian buildings on Bank Street will present its latest findings in an exhibition in May.

The research began in 2011, when Dr Karen Harvey (Department of History) sought to apply her research on men and the eighteenth-century home to the buildings currently occupied by Bank Street Arts. Since then, an army of History MA students have assisted Karen in discovering who lived and worked in these buildings from the 1790s to the 1960s.

In this, the third exhibition of the project, the final results of the historical research will be revealed. It will show the huge range of trades and occupations that once took place in the bustling heart of the city, later ousted by the commercial, professional and clerical. In Bank Street, this took the form of accountants and solicitors. And it was these male occupations that began to dominate, in contrast to the two original late-eighteenth-century proprietors – both widows.

But the research has also uncovered some more unexpected and ‘hidden’ histories. Outside working hours, the upper floors were home to several female-headed and female-only households. These rooms bustled with the domestic activity of mothers, daughters and lodgers.  And these women spent their domestic but also working lives in these buildings, serving as cleaners and caretakers to the workplaces on the lower floors. The male-dominated work that came to characterize the street was built on the early morning labour of these women.

The exhibition will be supported by Amanda Smith and David Watkin, students on the History MA Work Placement module. It will be followed, in October 2014, by the final exhibition in the project.

Additional information:

For more information please contact Karen Harvey.