Hot drinks, once expensive luxuries for the few, have enriched our lives, promoted the exchange of ideas and influenced the design of our homes. Trading Station traces the history of how these drinks arrived in the UK, revealing their global histories, connections to slavery and colonisation and contemporary ethical issues. Spanning four centuries and ranging from silver, porcelain, glass, fashion, lighting, prints and painting, this showcase of exquisite and utilitarian objects asks probing questions and uncovers hidden histories.
At the heart of Trading Station is a gathering space for visitors and groups to use freely. The space is designed to host making workshops, talks and performances to encourage new debate, thinking and action on how better to live together today. The gathering space has been shaped and co-designed by a group of 24 people from groups who regularly use the gallery, working with Manchester-based design studio Standard Practice to realise ideas. The space is open for all to gather and participate in, either in a programmed event or as a space to stop, reflect and take stock.