Heritage Lottery Project-Cross Cultural Textiles



Cross Cultural Textiles



Creative Hands Foundation

A film documentary portraying the heritage of Manchester, which started in Hyde, since 1900 and the movement of ABC wax to Akosombo Textiles Ltd in Ghana. We explore the history of ABX Wax and ATL, the design and manufacturing process of wax printed textiles used in their factories, photographs from the archives dating from 1900 – 2015.
It included oral histories gathered from West Africans in Manchester and Ghana giving their interpretation and explanation of the motifs, colours, textures and patterns used in wax printed textiles. We also exhibited the work produced by the volunteers, women’s group and schools.





IMG_9719IMG_9723Exhibition and Celebratory Event at the Whitworth on the 2nd of June 2016.





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Creative Hands Foundation wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Creative Hands Foundation has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to explore a Manchester factory’s links to West African textiles and culture.  ABC Wax in Hyde had direct links with Akosombo Textiles Ltd in Ghana and from the 1900’s to 2007 the factory produced textiles for Manchester’s West African community.

A collection of these textiles are on display at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) but the story behind them has never been told.

Now a team of volunteers will set out to change that. They will identify and record, interpret and explain the history and importance of West African textiles designed and produced by ABC Wax and preserve and promote this heritage to a wider audience.

They will interview West African people to record their explanations and interpretations of motifs and colours used in wax printed textiles and explore the techniques and methods used to create the designs in the 1900s to present day.

Volunteers will receive accredited training in Basic Rudiments of Filming and Introduction to Photography.  They will also be trained in capturing oral history and facilitating a workshop.  They will capture, record and document stories from West African people in Manchester and Ghana and learn how West African culture and tradition influences textile designs.

 In 1966, ABC Wax was the last wax printing company in the UK.  They had been designing and producing wax printed fabrics for the West African market since the 1900’s.  In 2007 production finally stopped and ABC Wax, the production team and machinery were transferred to Akosombo Textiles Ltd (ATL) factory in Akosombo, Ghana.  British designs of wax printed textiles are now being produced in Ghana.  The last remaining manager at ABC Wax, design team, artefacts and archives of fabrics can still be found in Hyde, Manchester.

A project film will be created and shown at events in Manchester.

Commenting on the award, Project Manager, Joseph Ayavoro said: “We are delighted to bring to life this fantastic project through the support of Heritage Lottery Fund and our local and international partners. The project will be a significant landmark for the people and heritage of Manchester.

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Despite its significance to Manchester’s West African community, the story of ABC Wax has never been told. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this creative project which will finally put this heritage in the spotlight for a number of volunteers and the wider community.”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

For further information, images and interviews, please contact

Joseph Ayavoro, Project Manager at Creative Hands Foundation on 07525354429 and j.ayavoro@creativehandsfoundation.org


Creative Hands Foundation (CHF) received funding from Heritage Lottery Funding in July 2015 to document Manchester’s link to West Africa through wax printed textiles.  Follow our story.

Here’s some of our super talented team of volunteers!



They received training in oral history, digital photography, videography and workshop facilitation.

This is Joseph, project manager, Michelle, project coordinator and administrator and Clive, video and music producer.

schoolboycouture-2MichelleAyavoroHead ShotDSC00878

Our journey started with a visit to ABC Wax, a textile company based in Hyde, Manchester.  They have been designing and producing wax printed textiles for the West African market since the 1900’s.





In 2007, production stopped and the factory was demolished.

All production including machinery was moved to sister company Akosombo Textiles Limited in Ghana.  There is still a small team of designers based in Hyde creating designs.

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