For the last few years, some of Manchester’s most famous residents have been living in a corner of a production studio – formerly a pie factory – at MediaCityUK.
But they’re about to get a new home.
Danger Mouse and Count Duckula are two of the iconic children’s film and TV characters created at Cosgrove Hall, the Chorlton-cum-Hardy based studio founded in 1976 by former Manchester College of Art and Design (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University) students Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall
They produced quality animation by bringing together some of the biggest talents, puppet-makers, actors and animators in the UK and quickly became the UK’s largest animation house, creating some of the best-loved and most iconic children’s animated characters of all time.
They also brought characters from popular childhood fiction to life in animations such as Roald Dahl’s The BFG (1989), Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows (1983), and Terry Prachett’s Truckers (1992).
With a reputation for creativity and an eye for detail, Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall inspired a generation of animators with their skillful use of stop-motion and traditional techniques.
Puppet-makers Mackinnon & Saunders started their careers at the studio, as did BAFTA-winning animator Barry Purves. David Jason voiced several notable characters throughout the years and guitarist John Squires of the Stone Roses worked on Wind and the Willows.
Since the studio’s closure in 2009, the archive has been hidden away at The Pie Factory, MediaCity.
But as of later this month, the new home of Danger Mouse, Count Duckula and the rest of the Cosgrove Hall Films Archive will be the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale.
From paper to puppets, and from the development to the production of some of its most recognisable children’s animation of the last four decades, original models, puppets, storyboards and hand drawn animation will all go on display there.
Westley Wood, ex-Cosgrove Hall development producer, who rescued the archive with the sole intention of preserving its history and artefacts, says: “The work from Cosgrove Hall Films is part of Manchester’s cultural heritage and was vital to the development of the animation industry in the UK.
“It’s with enormous gratitude and pleasure that we are working with the Sale Waterside team, to set up a new home and preserve the archive for people to love and enjoy for generations to come.”
To celebrate, Waterside is launching a brand new exhibition which will – for the very first time – shed a spotlight on much of the animation studio’s creative processes.
This brand new exhibition will offer a rare and nostalgic insight into some of the many delights from the Cosgrove Hall Films collection, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Cartoon and animation lovers of all ages will have a unique opportunity to rediscover the enchanting world of Cosgrove Hall Films and discover how some of the most iconic children’s film and TV of the last four decades were made here in Manchester.
“I’m thrilled with the support from The Heritage Lottery Fund and delighted to be working with Waterside to preserve and share the Cosgrove Hall legacy with new generations,” said Brian Cosgrove.
“I am honoured, and I’m sure Mark Hall would have been too, with the enthusiasm that our work still generates with the general public. I hope that many people will come from far and wide to enjoy these well-loved characters as much as we have over the years.”
Cosgrove Hall Films runs from Saturday 21 October 2017 – Saturday 17 February 2018 at Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale. Free entry and suitable for all ages.