|"The Jolly Angler"|
Over the dark hills lurks another city. Brooding and mysterious. it is largely unknown to Yorkshire folk. You may have heard of it. It is called Manchester and its main claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of World Cup footballer Nobby Stiles.
Normally, the east of this large island enjoys better weather than the west but during the last few days things have been reversed as troublesome continental weather drifted across the North Sea. Wanting a good long walk and fresh photo opportunities I decided to catch a train over to Manchester.
|Sign of the times in Salford|
For four hours I plodded about the grim Mancunian streets before returning to Piccadilly Railway Station. My walk took in districts like Ancoats, Collyhurst, Salford and Strangeways where I had lunch in the visitors' centre attached to Her Majesty's Prison Manchester. There solicitors in business suits and tattooed visitors with screaming kids waited for entry passes while I chomped on my tuna and mayonnaise sandwich. Though it was a visitors' centre there were no souvenir pens or keyrings for sale and no wall displays depicting the history of Strangeways. I think they are missing a trick there.
|HMP Prison Manchester from Lord Street|
There's a lot of modern construction happening in Manchester and Salford right now. Numerous cranes, city centre squares being remodelled and decaying old building being extracted like bad teeth. The city has a real "buzz" about it as silent electric trams weave around it taking pofaced Mancunians to exotic suburbs with evocative place names like Oldham Mumps, Eccles, Audenshaw and Crumpsall.
In Ancoats an ugly young man with vile tattoos and a yapping bull terrier attempted to speak to me as I crossed a footbridge over The Rochdale Canal but his nasally Manchester accent made communication very difficult indeed. " I - am - sorry - but - I - do - not - understand - you," I said very slowly. He spat a gob of phlegm into the canal before carrying on with his growling hound. It was in this area that L.S. Lowry painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs and terraced streets but not tattooed thugs with bad manners.
|Pedestrian underpass in Collyhurst|
During the urban ramble I enjoyed a brief stop off at The People's Museum in Spinningfields. It focuses upon working class history in a city that was built on cotton and the hard labours of the downtrodden poor. I was going to buy Shirley a souvenir tea towel on which an original "Votes for Women" poster design had been replicated but as it cost £15.99 my interest evaporated instantly.
|1923 political poster in The People's Museum|