Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Musicians' entrance at the Hallé

Today we pop around the back of the Bridgewater Hall, home of the Hallé Orchestra, one of the two world renowned Manchester orchestras (the other being the BBC Philharmonic). The Hallé was founded in 1858 by Charles Hallé, (German born Karl Halle, 1819-1895). It is the UK's oldest symphony orchestra (and the fourth oldest in the world) and supports a choir, youth choir and a youth orchestra.

In May 1857, pianist and conductor Hallé set up an orchestra to perform at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition. He then decided to continue work with the orchestra more formally, and their first concert in this guise was on 30 January 1858.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Eid on the curry mile

It's early evening on the curry mile in Rusholme. Thousands of people will be flocking to the dozens of restaurants there this evening and tomorrow night for the Eid Festival. 
Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

New and old at Islington Wharf

Housing stock separated by 200 years (the early 19th and early 21st centuries) collude, or maybe that should that be collide, at Islington Wharf.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Woodland walk at the Carrs

Walk from The Carrs into the woodlands along the River Bollin between Wilmslow and Styal. 'Carrs' derives from the Norse 'Kjarr' meaning 'meadow recovered from bog'. Friends of the Carrs website:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

On the corner, Chorlton cum Hardy

On the Corner is a juice bar and also a secondhand record store. There's a 1950s retro theme to the decor, a 1970s/80s theme to the vinyl on sale and a 21st century selection of smoothies and food:

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mount St: Mid-morning at the Beluga

Palm trees? Check.
Sun umbrellas in position? Check.
Coffee for an early customer? Check.
Red advertising clashing with purple paintwork? Check ;-)

The Beluga cafe and restaurant is ready for another day's business:

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Play up, play up and play the game

Vitai Lampada (They Pass On The Torch of Life).

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
Henry Newbolt, 1892

Monday, 22 August 2011

New Islington houses

The New Islington Millenium community village is a redevelopment of the old Cardroom Estate, an area just to the east of the city centre. New and innovative housing such as these were the first to spring up a few years ago. There are also many colourful apartment blocks and buildings and a new water park, all of which I intend to explore here in the autumn months:  

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Saturday, 20 August 2011

City cliches?

Many people outside of Manchester might recognise the popular culture images on this construction site hoarding: Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Coronation Street tv soap opera, George Best of Manchester United, Morrisey of The Smiths, and the infamous Manchester rain (here as red raindrops on a pink background).

Perhaps less well known by outsiders would be the Beetham Tower, and the bee- a traditional symbol of industrious Manchester and its 19th century workers known as the "busy bees".

Friday, 19 August 2011

Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride is celebrating its 21st year. Running from 19th to 29th August in the gay village, it raised £115,000 for charities in 2010:
These giant beach balls and bunting have been up in the
village's main hub of Canal Street since July.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Full moon over Princess Street

 The city is quiet with, it seems, hardly anyone around to appreciate the moonlight.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ordinary afternoon

Sometimes it's necessary to show the run of the mill, rather than the exceptional.
Even more so in light of last week's city centre riots.
So here we have an ordinary afternoon downtown...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Remember The Peterloo Massacre, 16th August 1819

No blog of Manchester's history should go long without mention of Peterloo.  For details on the campaign to have the massacre noted more appropriately than just the above plaque, see:

Wikipedia sums up Peterloo accurately, thus:

The Peterloo Massacre (or the Battle of Peterloo) occurred at St Peter's Fields, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000 gathered at a meeting to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. By the beginning of 1819 the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the lack of suffrage in northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism.

In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.

Shortly after the meeting began, local magistrates called on the military authorities to arrest Hunt and several others on the hustings with him, and to disperse the crowd.

Cavalry charged into the crowd with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people were killed and over 600 were injured.

The massacre was given the name Peterloo in ironic comparison to the Battle of Waterloo, which had taken place four years earlier.

Historian Robert Poole has called the Peterloo Massacre one of the defining moments of its age. In its own time, the London and national papers shared the horror felt in the Manchester region, but Peterloo's immediate effect was to cause the government to crack down on reform, with the passing of what became known as the Six Acts. It also led directly to the foundation of The Manchester Guardian newspaper (now The Guardian), but had little other effect on the pace of reform.

In a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper in 2006, Peterloo came second to the Putney Debates as the event from British history that most deserved a proper monument or a memorial.

Peterloo is commemorated by a red plaque [above] close to the site, a replacement for an earlier blue one that was inadequate as it did not reflect the scale of the massacre.

Monday, 15 August 2011

City centre hotel for ducks

This canalside duck house and dovecote would be a delight to behold if walking along the towpath in the countryside. Even more impressive then that it is located in the heart of Manchester city centre, in the grounds of the Bridgewater Bank Apartments. There is also at least one other such duck house further along the canal.

See also the Camera Critters blog:

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Tibetan Kitchen

The Tibetan Kitchen stall is a regular sight at Manchester festivals and other outdoor events. Their Tibetan chef has over 10 years of catering experience: from running Tibetan cooking classes for tourists in Northern India to chefing the busy 'Tibetan Fridays' at The Bar in Chorlton. Sue and Lyn are serving here, and the menu is all freshly prepared. It  includes:
Tibetan momos(steamed filled dumplings)
Stir-fried rice and noodle dishes
Phingsha- hearty stew
Spiced teas
There are lots of veggie options too (hooray!)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mere sailing

It's 9 a.m and all's well. Time to set to sail around Tatton Mere.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Riot repercussions

The Miss Selfridge store on Market Street was set alight during the riot on Tuesday evening. This is how it looks in the cold light of day.  The perpetrator has been caught and arrested.  See the frankly astonishing ITV news video at:

With some notable exceptions such as this, it has been a return to business as much as possible all across the city, although many stores, restaurants and offices are still are closing early, just in case of more riots. However many small independent businesses are badly affected and their short and long term futures could hang in the balance.

To reiterate for some international readers, as I have heard of misunderstandings on the international media reporting, these riots are nothing to do with the UK government cuts (unlike the mainly peaceful student and public sector demonstrations). The police shot dead an armed man in north London a week ago which led to a a peaceful demonstration, which was then hi-jacked and became a riot there. Copycat riots have spread through the country (just in England but not the rest of the UK- Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are thankfully unaffected so far). Most rioters and looters are not expressing a political agenda, but just a desire to cause damage and steal consumer items.

This BBC interactive map is useful:

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Manchester rain might save the day

The notorious Manchester rain that fell heavily throughout Wednesday should have helped to dampen the hooligans from further rioting in Manchester and Salford on Wednesday night.

This photo is of the 19th century Town Hall, which escaped Tuesday's riots relatively unscathed. Despite bursts of torrential rain, repairs such as these have been carried out all day across the city centre.

Neil Mutter owns the family-run jewellery shop AE Mutter, which was established in 1884, seven years after the Town Hall was completed. The shop in the Northern Quarter was damaged but he said: "I feel remarkably calm. We clean up and smile. I feel glad that the other businesses in the area haven't been targeted. Our customers have been brilliant. They have been calling in saying they have video of the people who did it and offering to help."
Mutter source:

Greater Manchester police report that magistrates and courts sat overnight and sentencing has begun on some of the criminals caught so far. Custodial sentences of 10 to 20 weeks have been handed out to the first few...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Disbelief at disrespect and disorder

Starbucks in Piccadilly Gardens hands out coffee to the volunteers and workers clearing up after last night’s riots. Meanwhile the shop's own smashed front door is patched up.
The riots in many English cities this past week spread to Manchester and Salford last night. I have heard many figures and opinions expressed in the past 15 hours since it started, on many diverse tv and radio stations, on social media, and in the street, and have witnessed some of the damage myself.
It’s said that 2,000 people in small groups were rampaging through the city centre from Tuesday afternoon to the middle of the night. They were mostly under 20 years old, some as young as 9, most in hoodies or balaclavas.
I have heard that at least 150 shops were smashed with many completely looted, which included Van trainers, Cash generator (second hand electrical goods), Diesel clothes, supermarkets,  tobacconists and alcohol stores. Charity shop Oxfam was thankfully not damaged, contrary to Facebook rumours.
There was certainly no political agenda; it was in my and many others’ opinion, merely the greed of disaffected youth with no moral compass who saw it as an opportunity to steal and to enjoy themselves by smashing up a city centre.
Described by councillor Pat Karnery as the worst night in Manchester's history, which is not true - the Manchester bomb in 1996 and the Blitz in World War II were guilty of more injury, and in the latter case, deaths. But it was certainly unprecedented, completely out of control and very frightening.
This morning many shop fronts have already been temporarily repaired, there is a strong police presence, and a strong community response. Community groups set up to respond include a peace vigil and a Clean Up Manchester action group. More on developments along with (mostly) excellent radio coverage at BBC Radio Manchester:  and

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Thatched cottage

An idyllic rural scene. One of the thatched cottages in Styal village, built for the workers at Quarry Bank Mill in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Apologies for my not commenting on friends' CPD blogs at present.
I'm travelling with limited internet access.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Balmy night on King St

A balmy summer night on ever-elegant King Street in the city centre. King St was once the heart of the north-west's banking business but is now mostly shops, restaurants and bars. The buildings still look striking, especially if you look above the shop fronts.

Apologies for my not commenting on friends' CPD blogs at present.
I'm travelling with limited internet access.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

St Laurence Church, Frodsham

Looking down on St Laurence Church in Frodsham, Cheshire. 
The structure of the present church, built from red sandstone, dates from around 1180. More at: and  
I shall try and take an interior photo next time I am there.

Apologies for my not commenting on friends' CPD blogs at present.
I'm travelling with limited internet access.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Venting anguish on Hiroshima Day

A man and flower cut from paper and pasted onto an air ventilator of some sort.
Perhaps it's an appropriate image for Hiroshima Day?

 Apologies for my not commenting on friends' CPD blogs at present.
I'm travelling with limited internet access.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Summer fashion for dummies

I've always been rather frightened by the mannequins in shop windows that model clothes. They gave me nightmares as a child, probably based on them coming to life in a 1970's Dr Who episode... 

Apologies for lack of comments on friends' CDP blogs at present-
I am travelling with limited internet access...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Magic Key/Quay

Two local radio stations housed in the same quayside building just to the south of the city- Magic 1152 and Key 103.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Window cleaner above New York Street

A nice sunny day to be working outside, in New York Street, if you have a head for heights.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Media City globemasters

These allium globemasters make an impressive display at the Media City tram terminus.

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