A day trip to the people’s museum

I took the JusticeforLB quilt (or people’s artwork) to the People’s History Museum in Manchester today. An outing like no other. It’s going to be on exhibition there from 1-22 April.

Quilt responsibility is a pretty big gig.


I set off with a good dose of fear this morning. This ain’t a bad thing. Cab to station. Deep breath. Biggest fear was forgetting the quilt. I waited for the train down platform from the typical chunk of passengers in a curiously quiet and peaceful spot in the sunshine. Nearly missing the train by absorption in our response to the Public Administration Select Committee stuff around NHS safety stuff. I got on board, timed the electronic doors to perfection and was allowed to sit in first class. Cross Country trains deserve a big shout out for this.

Justicequilt-116I was able to get a shedload (haha) of work done with the quilt safely above me and no (apparent) quilt peril opportunities for three hours. Malcolm, offering various treats over that time, gave me a cup of coffee and piece of cake and we got chatting. Turned out he used to work as an agency support worker at a learning disability unit. They had a staff ratio of 2 nurses/ 2 support workers to around 25 patients.

“Five patients and four staff? I don’t understand it. NHS? I think the NHS is great, don’t get me wrong, but… four staff and five patients?”

We said goodbye at Manchester and I went to get some cash out. With some giggling, the woman behind me held the quilt while I got my wallet out.

“Am I going to end up on one of those TV shows?” she laughed, balancing it carefully across her arms.

A station cleaner joined in asking what the quilt was. He too was as shocked as Malcolm when I told him.

“When I think about what people moan about…” he said. Shaking his head. “I mean I moan about money. But this…”

He took a postcard to show his wife.

Justicequilt-117At the museum I was taken down to the quarantine room. The person I was supposed to meet was in another part of Manchester because of a flood.

“A flood?” Gulp.

I left the quilt in the quarantine room after serious protestations of quilt care and carefully tucking the quilt smarts provided by Janet Read, chief quilter, on a memory stick with a lovely large Paddington Bear style luggage label inside the plastic covering.  I met various staff members in a place that just exudes people’s history. This is such a good venue for LB. Stan has always been ‘dog of the people’ and LB a history hound.

Just before I left there was mention of freezing the quilt.  Freezing? Oh boy. [Sorry Janet]. Frozen and freezing kept bouncing around my frazzled mind, including the Frozen cinema showing organised by Yellow Submarine tomorrow and our half arsed watching of Fortitude.

More reassurance from cheeky chappy guide on the way back upstairs. Frozen schmozen. Freezing is common museum practice. He asked me about the quilt.

“Wow.” He said. Visibly shocked. “That’s just shoddy.”

I headed back to the station. Then realised I lost my wallet. Eurgh. I retraced my steps and found it on what looks like the freezer in the quarantine room.

On the train back, later, I bumped into Malcolm again.

“Good luck with your case”, said he said, “I’ll look out for it”.Justicequilt-118

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