The past, present and future of Mayfield, one of Manchester’s foremost industrial areas, now a world-class urban park at the centre of Manchester’s new green quarter, was told through an art installation and exhibition of historic botanical fabrics coinciding with the First RHS Urban Show at the city’s Mayfield Depot earlier this month. 

Displayed in a former railway arch next door to the show’s venue and alongside Mayfield Park, the exhibition revealed fabric prints of exotic, imaginary gardens that were produced on the site almost 300 years ago when the land was owned by the cloth merchant Thomas Hoyle.

Curated by Dan Dubovitz from the Manchester School of Architecture, it charted the history and regeneration of the area, from its time at the centre of a thriving textile industry, when up to 10 miles of fabric were produced on the site each day, through its years of abandonment and neglect, right up to the present day where it has been transformed into Mayfield Park – the first new city-centre park to be built in Manchester for over a century combining biodiverse ecological areas including water and wetlands, trees and wildflowers, long lawns and rain gardens, with  play areas and recreational spaces for visitors.

Dream Garden Hoyles Mayfield Patterns 1884

The Original ‘patterns’ samples are in the Manchester City Museum Collection, from the Mayfield Patternbook 1884 , Photographed by Dan Dubowitz 2024 (original size is c. 5cm x 10cm for all pattern samples).