3 June 2016

Manchester

"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 

28 comments:

  1. Interesting little tour you shared with us. That Votes for Women tea towel would have been nice but definitely too pricey.

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    1. Besides, isn't there something ironic about a "Votes for Women" T-towel? It's a bit like selling "Votes for Women" scrubbing brushes and steam irons!

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    2. In my experience it's usually men who do the washing up.

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  2. I hate tattoos...I just don't understand why anyone would want to have their bodies disfigured with them...any number of them. I hate seeing people spit, too.

    Hmmmmmm....there is much I like, though...but the above aren't amongst what I like.

    That's very expensive for a t-towel of any description. They wouldn't get my vote, nor my money!

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    1. I guess you won't like this YouTube clip then Lee!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f57rh51ErBc

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    2. What more can I say...just another confirmation that humans are weird.

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  3. Redevelopment is good in that we get a very attractive and useful area. On the other hand I hate to see old buildings disappear.

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    1. Manchester seems to have obliterated much of its past.

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  4. It's all a bit grim in Manchester isn't it?

    As for selling souvenirs in the prison caff, they might need to be under lock and key....

    Ms Soup

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    1. Ha-ha! Nice one Alphie! They could sell big fruitcakes with metal files inside!

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  5. Hmm. Manchester doesn't sound like a tour I'd be interested in. I like your peaceful jaunts along the...what do you call them? fells & moors, with lazy sheep & timeworn stone walls much better.
    I don't care for tatoos, either. I can't help wondering what they'll look like when they're 85 or 90, saggy & wrinkled!
    Still waiting for my millstone to arrive in the mail. Soon, no doubt? I shall display it in my flower garden...

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    1. I meant to tell you about the millstone. It was confiscated by The Port of New York authorities for some obscure reason. I shall be back in the countryside before too long.

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  6. What a good idea, a trip to Strangeways to check out your MP's new accommodation. It looks too good for Clegg.

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    1. Is Clegg a verb? As in "The former deputy prime-minister was clegged in his cell by Knuckles and Ginger."

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  7. No, I don't understand the need for body decoration either, or body piercing !
    Somehow YP, Manchester doesn't appeal at all, and I've never been, nor really had any desire to visit. Nothing personal, though I'm sure it's filled with good folk, but it just doesn't have the same lure as, say, Paris or Barcelona. Much prefer your hills and vales walks and photos, but you are right to show us the gritty side of the country too.
    Oh - just remembered - I've flown from Manchester Airport on occasions - does that count??

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    1. No - Manchester Airport isn't in Manchester. It is in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

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  8. Your post offers some unusual glimpses of Manchester. I always arrive and depart at Manchester Airport for my annual Yorkshire Holiday and therefore know the train stations quite well. But I've only once been to the city properly, taking an extra day specifically to have a look round. Most of what we saw looked very modern and culture-conscious.

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    1. The biggest hindrance to Manchester's visitor prospects is that it is mostly filled with Lancastrians. It certainly does seem culture-conscious. You can smell money in Manchester...or sometimes the lack of it.

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    2. Now I was with you on this post until you started making unwarranted racial slurs about Lancastrians. And you wonder why there are wars?

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  9. I'm glad to hear that you finally reached civilisation after so many years! The People's History Museum is always worth a visit, as is the Museum of Science and Industry (splitting atoms and computers began in the city), not to mention the National Football Museum. (There must be a small exhibit for HCFC).

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    1. It is criminal that the National Football Museum has ended up in Mank when it should have been sited in Sheffield - the birthplace of organised football.

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    2. You say that like it's something to be proud of YP.

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    3. Computers began in Germany - Konrad Zuse built the first one!

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  10. My son read music at Manchester University many moons ago. I went there often to take him at the beginning of term or collect him at the end. Haven't been since - have no desire to go again.

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    1. It is interesting that Manchester left such a positive impression upon you Mrs W. Such a shame that your son only "read" music instead of singing it or playing it.

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  11. Manchester's at the wrong end of the East Lancashire Road. Enough said.

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  12. I've never been to Manchester but it's on my list. I'm always up for a bit of urban grime.

    That Brexit billboard is very telling. Over and over again, and despite efforts to couch it in other terms, the "Leave" argument seems to boil down to panic about Turkey.

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