Mexican Food And People’s History

A weekend trip into Manchester, we headed to the Corn Exchange, one time posh shopping area it saw a downturn in fortunes for a few years but has now been transformed into an eating mecca. Spoilt for choice, we eventually opted for Mexican food at Wahaca. Our last experience at this restaurant was in Covent Garden a few years ago. Son, then at his picky eater phase ate nothing and Husband wasn’t overly impressed. I loved it…. We decided to try again today, the deliciousness wafting from the doors could not be ignored.

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A long wait for a table, it is obviously very popular but we had no problem hanging around, the table football game kept the gents entertained.

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Eventually we were seated and this time were definitely not disappointed with the food. We all had something different and everyone was more than happy with their choice – absolutely delicious, a real explosion of flavours and the food and chilled out atmosphere was spot on.

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Son was a wee bit impressed with the sinks in the toilets too….

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Afterwards we decided to visit the People’s History Museum, the weather was wet and we wanted to be indoors so this was our choice. Many a time we have strolled past this building and never given it a second glance. Today we wanted to see what was inside.

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The building looks modern from this outside angle but it was once a hydraulic pumping station and is now Grade 2 listed. It has been redeveloped, sits right on the River Irwell and apparently is near to the pub where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles are supposed to have met in the 1840’s.

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I loved the building – light and airy, it is a clever mix of old and new. The cafe looked very good but having pigged out on Mexican food we had no space left for anything else.

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The museum covers social history from the time of the Peterloo Massacre to the birth of the trade unions right up to the present day. They claim to cover all political persuasions here and do have some Liberal and Conservative party information but it is most definitely left wing and Labour biased.

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We had a look around one of the displays in the art gallery then made our way to the two main exhibition areas. They are divided into themes and follow a chronological order starting 200 years ago with the Peterloo Massacre.

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The first gallery had lots of information and stories about Manchester during the Industrial Revolution and the terrible living conditions for the majority of the people. We found stories about the suffragettes and the battle for women to vote, the whole area finished up at the end of World War II.

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The next level had artefacts and displays from 1945 onwards with much emphasis on politics and the political parties.  They have an enormous number of old banners, including the oldest surviving trade union banner in the world.

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We saw the minutes of the first meeting of the Labour party and Son had some fun with a couple of rather famous Spitting Image puppets.

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The museum was free and had plenty of hands on activities and things for children to do in each area. Son was more than entertained, the whole place covers politics and reform in an interesting way. He particularly loved the life in a box exhibits – boxes here and there filled with items relating to someone’s life or job that you could pick up, touch and read about. They were based on real people.

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We spent a couple of hours here, it most definitely has a left wing bias but no matter your political persuasion it is educational and interesting.

36 thoughts on “Mexican Food And People’s History

  1. I know you were pleased to have had a great experience with the Mexican food…we have so many Mexican restaurants in our area. The museum certainly looked interesting…it looks like a good day for all!

  2. How exciting to hear and see Mexican food finding its way there! We love Mexican food. On our trips to the UK we couldn’t find Mexican. We found Spanish food, but it’s not the same.
    Daughter’s first request when we got home was to go to our local Taqueria for dinner. She missed having a bean and cheese burrito. 🙂

    • This is a really good restaurant if you are back in the UK – they have quite a few in London and then some other cities as well. The food is delicious, very authentic and I definitely recommend!

    • The food was delicious, definitely recommend if you’re in the area!! The museum is great too, well laid out and lots of interesting social history, we enjoyed our afternoon there.

  3. Sounds a very interesting place Joy! I love the way old buildings are often transformed into museums and the like. It’s funny as I’ve heard of the Manchester Corn Exchange but other than that don’t know too much about the city. My 2X gt grandfather eloped to Chester with my Welsh 2X gt grandmother and arrived without a penny to his name in Manchester around 1860. He led a fascinating life – made a small fortune in the cotton trade, lost it, moved to Yorkshire and made another fortune in the woollen trade (that money has “dissipated”along the way down the family line!!). He must have been in the thick of all these changes and I know a couple of his brothers-in-law ended up in the workhouse. It was such a melting pot – you could make a lot of money or end up in a terrible state at the bottom of the pile. I find social history fascinating and there sounds a lot to see and do here! Hope the rain stays away and you have a lovely weekend! 🙂

    • What a fascinating story Rosemary – did you do the research? I love those programs about people’s ancestry and it sounds like your family history would merit an appearance on one of those!! The museum was great and a bit of an eye opener to how it was for ordinary people at one time. We’ve got some dull gloomy weather but still trying to get out and about over the weekend! Hope yours is a good one too.

      • I did some of the research myself Joy though was lucky in that my late nanna was a great family historian and a lot of the history was passed down from her! I am also lucky that there is quite a bit online about her grandfather but yes if only I was famous then a BBC researcher could do a lot of the work for me!! I am currently researching my dad’s line via his paternal grandmother – fascinating as she was a real Cockney and very proud of it. She spent time in China as her husband was a missionary. I was trying to work out how all this came about as her family were tradesmen in London (trunkmakers, dressmakers, cabinet makers) but now I’ve got to early 19th century I’m getting French and Dutch sounding names so think they are of Huguenot descent, which would explain the religious side I think. It’s so interesting what you can find out these days but to find out more I need to go to the London Metropolitan Archives as the parish records I need aren’t online. One day when I’ve got some spare time….! I love all the ancestry programmes too – it’s so interesting and it must have an influence on people. I was always drawn to London though brought up in Yorkshire and the areas I lived in were so close to where my family had been in the past. Now my daughter is also living there and treading in her ancestors footsteps! Recovering from a busy weekend of babysitting – we’ve got some big storms here at present breaking the warm start to autumn. Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! 🙂

      • Wow Rosemary, sounds like another fascinating tale – you have wonderful ancestors!! My mother-in-law has done a lot of research into her and my father-in-law’s family history and found some compelling stuff as well, including ancestors who were shipped off to Australia in the 1700’s. How interesting too that your daughter is now in London!! Hope you relax after the babysitting and the storms pass quickly!

      • It’s very addictive Joy! Your husband must have Australian cousins somewhere! There are some really fascinating stories when you go searching for them! I really want to find out more now – the London story is really intriguing me as I didn’t know as much about that line before I started! We had an incredible storm yesterday afternoon and it’s been heavy and humid all day. Have had a catch up day after the weekend! Hope you have a lovely week 🙂

  4. Impressive sinks!!! I love Mexican food, but my husband doesn’t and my daughter is picky, so my son has been my salvation: he loves to go on a date with me and sushi or Mexican. Our thing❤

  5. I do love Wahaca possibly one of my favourite ‘grab a bite’ places! The museum looks very interesting. I love that the building is fairly modern even though it houses such history!

  6. I find that Wahaca can be very hit or miss. There are about a million locations in London now, and some are pretty decent, but others are kind of gross. But being from America, where Mexican food is much more common, I tend to be kind of a snob about British Mexican food, and prefer the stuff I make myself! The museum looks great though!

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