Well, we don’t really know whether Ancoats is the actual home of beards, but we know this. Ancoats has historically been one of the centres of migrant communities in Manchester, most notably the Irish and then the Italian community. Seeking a better a life and escaping troubles in their home country, they came to work in Manchester’s booming industrial zones, forming the “world’s first industrial suburb“.
The guy pictured, Jerome Caminada, is a classic example. Manchester’s answer to Sherlock Holmes, this Irish-Italian police detective is one of the most famous members of the Ancoats immigrant diaspora. And just check out his awesome beard!
So it’s probably true to say that the beard – being a sign of virility and masculinity often associated with Italian men – has always been associated with Ancoats (plus they didn’t have smooth Gillette razors in those days and cutting your throat is generally seen as a bad and painful thing).
For the same reasons, we’re sure, the popularity of beards has experienced resurgence in Manchester. And now, those bristly-faced hippies (often found around the Northern Quarter, and many of whom live in Ancoats) can actually make money from their beards.
Not for themselves of course, but for charity. Beards of Manchester “is a calendar featuring the city and some of its hairiest inhabitants” seeking to raise money for the Lifeshare charity, which supports homeless people in Manchester and Salford.
So if you think you have a beard that rivals good old Jerome’s beard, drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 24 September. All beards get to go on display online and the best beards get snapped and put into the calendar, as well as appeared on display in that beard-haven, Common Bar.
So, if you’re Ancoats and especially if you’re Irish-Italian (and a dab hand at solving murder-mysteries) get involved!