This film is part of Free

Manchester Italian Catholic Procession (1902)

Residents of Manchester's own 'Little Italy' put on a display of religious pomp during the city's annual Whit Walk.

Non-Fiction 1902 3 mins Silent


Though a settlement existed in Roman times, Manchester's Italian community grew in earnest from the early 19th century. Craftsmen, artisans and unskilled workers escaping dire poverty at home flocked to what became known as 'Little Italy': the streets around Ancoats' many Catholic churches. This film records the community at its Edwardian peak, taking part in the annual Whit Walk procession.

Despite a once thriving ice cream industry and the best efforts of Manchester's Catholic Church-led Italian Society, Little Italy would not survive the travails of the 20th century. Two world wars and the slum clearances of the 1960s saw the city centre lose many of its distinctive close-knit communities, in this case one bound together by the combined power of family and organised religion.