I’m extremely proud to announce that The Reno project has been nominated in the ‘Research Project of the Year’ category for the 2019 Current Archaeology Awards! All nominations are based on research projects featured within Current Archaeology over the last 12 months and an article on The Reno (a late 20th century nightclub in Hulme, Manchester that closed in 1986) appeared in the August 2018 issue of Current Archaeology (No.342). An online version of the article can be found here: https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/resurrecting-the-reno-unearthing-the-soul-of-a-boundary-pushing-manchester-club.htm
Voting for the awards went live on 1st December (www.archaeology.co.uk/vote), and will be open until 11th February 2019, so please do consider voting. The winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2019 conference, which will held at the University of London’s Senate House on 8-9 March 2019. More information on the conference can be found here: http://www.archaeology.co.uk/live.
The ‘Excavating the Reno’ project brought together oral history and archaeology in a three-week excavation in the autumn of 2017, exploring the story of a Manchester soul and funk club that became a welcoming sanctuary from the racism that mixed-heritage members of the local community often experienced in the 1970s. Located in Hulme, on the outskirts of the city, The Reno occupied the basement of a large Edwardian building on Princess Road, one of the main routes into Manchester City Centre. It was originally filled by shops with residential flats above, but in the mid-1950s the structure was converted into an African Seaman’s Mission. It soon became a meeting place for Manchester’s fledgling African and Caribbean communities. Informal drinking and gambling clubs sprang up within its walls, and it was these groups that eventually led to the opening of several pubs and clubs in the building during the 1960s and 1970s. Soon the area was hugely popular with the local community as somewhere new and exotic to spend a night out, and the Reno in particular was renowned for its music.
The project demonstrated the way in which archaeological analysis, whether through excavation or recording standing building remains, provides a unique form of data that is not available through any other discipline, even when dealing with the archaeology of the 20th century for which there is a plethora of other sources. The ‘Excavating The Reno’ project’s story continues to evolve. Currently Linda Brogan, the artist behind the inspiration for the project, has a residency at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, where she is collecting ideas, material and volunteers to help put on an innovative and interactive exhibition about The Reno and its community in 2019. Watch this space!