Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Manchester 2 ( Central and West )

I return with a second set of Manchester images which is more of a supplement to the last post taken two months later when I returned for the Dinner Ball. With the passage of time and hindsight, it's strange how I am currently trying to overcome a difficulty similar to the one I was thrown on this visit (that terminated with my Leeds blog post). I've nearly completed this particular roller coaster ride that I'm on at the moment as I can just about see the exit sign ! My next move will be a bit of faith but on a parallel theme and hidden message, the next post will be the start of a new series from a completely different part of the country that excites me taken during the summer.

Looking through this set of images, it seems to be like a bits and pieces post that concentrate more on my camera art style.

In the midst of the busy shopping centre of Manchester is a green space called Piccadilly Gardens. In the long line of trees along the edge of the square is a metal one erected in 2005 to commemorate those who died in World War II.

Unfortunately on the two occasions I was there, the area wasn't as peaceful and tranquil as what I expected due to temporary metal barriers preventing people from using the grass and mounted policemen waiting to pounce on any trouble that may arise.

In the early part of the 20th century it was thought that the first Chinese people to come to Manchester were involved in the laundry business ...

...but it wasn't until after World War II that the community began to increase with the post war labour shortage problem.

Following the passing of the British Nationality Act to enhance this in 1948 and problems of space in Hong Kong ...

... the restaurant business was the first to take off followed by many other industries later to supplement it.

Back in the day, Manchester as I knew it had a transport problem in that you could arrive from the south by train into Manchester Piccadilly, then have to cross a busy town centre by shuttle bus to Manchester Victoria in the North. A proposed underground system was scrapped in favour of a Light Rail network during the 1960s - 1980s period with Government approval in 1988 and the first tram running to Bury in 1992.

In a previous generation, trams went out of favour and were replaced by trolley buses using the overhead cables which were in turn later dismantled and replaced with buses.

The only system in Britain to survive that change was the classic seafront Blackpool tram network which was popular with holidaymakers. Other than that Manchester set a president by becoming the first city in the UK to return to the street tram. Expansion of the network is an on going process with the current projected phases due to be completed by 2016.

Although inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, Manchester Central Library was built as late as the 1930s but unfortunately it was closed for a 3 year renovation period when I was there.

The Upper floor enjoys the full benefits of the Great Hall with a Dome shaped roof and central window light. At one time noise resonated around the room with ease so sound absorption had to be installed.


Decided to have a quick in the Art Gallery on the way to the next location but didn't take many photos for obvious reasons. The Gallery was opened in 1824 with extensions in 1826 and 2002. Two of the more famous artists who have their work on display are Thomas Gainsborough and local industrial artist L.S. Lowry.

The Town Hall was difficult to photograph due to some construction around the back and a drinks marquee in the adjacent square. There was a reasonable amount of interest from passers by when the bride and groom exited the function room for their wedding car.

The Receptionist :-)
It was quite scary trying to get past the reception desk as I needed a good reason for entering the building !!

The Architecture inside this 1877 Gothic Revival building was quality and I could have stayed there for much longer.


When researching Manchester, I came across a blue post box from an internet photo album from a friend of a friend. The person I met for lunch in the previous post had only lived in the City for a few years and didn't know it existed so I was more determined to find it on my second visit. It included a long walk to the North West area of Castlegate. The colour may seem a bit pale but it is unusual to see anything other than red. The colour denotes a special airmail box which were found in specific sites during the 1930's. However due to expansion of the service, they were no longer needed but this one was repainted in the original colours in 1983 to commemorate the link between the Post Office and the aviation industry.

On the walk to the location, I had to walk past the very futuristic looking Hilton Hotel. Love it or hate it, you can't help but look up at ... hope I did it justice !


As a little aside, as I'm talking about buildings, The 15th century Ordsall Hall was the last image I took as I left my Hotel in Salford Quays the following morning on a grim weather day. Unfortunately it wasn't open, maybe another time.

Back in Castlegate, the Museum of Science and Industry which opened in 1969 covers a large site split into different zones and built around the worlds first railway station in 1830. Aircraft from the World Wars feature heavily as do railway locomotives, one of which albeit the small one operates rides down a section of track in the yard from the station platform. There is a current proposal to close some of Government funded museums to cut costs. The MOSI is one of those under consideration along with other famous establishments such as The National Railway Museum in York.

Lastly, a couple of grotesque things I came across, the first was a fountain in Albert Square just outside the Town Hall built to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria ....

... and secondly the location of the Jeremy Kyle show at Granada studios where a certain section of society consider it famous to go on TV and argue over the parentage of child or try to defeat a lie detector test and have an embarrassing argument in the process !! On that note, the clock on the GMEX arena (now called the Manchester Central Convention Complex ... nothing's simple here !! ) reminds me where I started in this post ... it's time to move on to other things !! ....


  1. What a nice collection of photos! My favorites are the gargoyle and the stairway and the MOSI guillotine. I suppose that 'airmail' post box is solidly affixed to the sidewalk? LOL What a treasure! I won't even start about the Jeremy Kyle show, although you can imagine that I have very strong opinions about the decline of culture.

  2. There are many excellent images here. It is a grand city.
    I'm happy you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. I like all the photos, but the indoor shots really shine. I like what you do with doorways, arches and stairways.

  4. You have found a lot more in Manchester than I knew was there. It sounds like a really interesting place to visit.

  5. I see here a much changed Manchester since my visit there, in the 90's!


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