91 years ago, my grandma Celia Meschi was born on Oldham Road in Ancoats, Manchester and recently returned to rediscover the area.


Her father moved to Ancoats from Vellva in Italy, when he was 13 years old. It had already become the world’s first industrial suburb as the area was home to many of Manchester’s cotton mills. So in Italian villages when people sought better work, word spread that this was the place to get it. Many settled there and so it soon acquired the nickname ‘Little Italy’. 


My great-grandfather started an ice cream business in Ancoats which soon grew in popularity and spread to cafes in and around Gorton, where my grandma moved around age ten. The business, ‘Sivoris’ is still running today.


My grandma shares many stories with us about her time growing up in Ancoats with 5 of her siblings under the St.Michaels parish which we visited on our walk. However, my grandma also noticed how the area has considerably changed from what she remembers. Once downtrodden and full of smog, it has now been gentrified and is highly regarded as a trendy place to live. The mills have been transformed into apartments and many coffee shops and eateries have opened.