Friday, 30 September 2011

Bowled over by the heatwave

Here at Spinningfields who could have blamed them for putting away the deckchairs and allowing an indoor ten pin bowling arena to be set up on part of the grass (out of picture to the left), all ready for indoor autumn activities? A pop-up bowling alley Pin-Up Bowling is here until 6th November and I shall visit that another day.

Instead, with this wonderful burst of heat and sunshine, workers and shoppers are flocking to the lawn once more to picnic, and the funky yellow deckchair trade is experiencing an unexpected late season flourish.

With a week of high temperatures, peaking at 27°C today and tomorrow, it's the hottest I have ever known the UK to be at this time of year. Hotter than most summers in fact, and as hot as last April which was the hottest UK April I've ever known. Hmm...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Rosh Hashanah- in the year 5772

Let's pay a visit to the Manchester Reform Synagogue on Jackson's Row in the city centre. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "Head of the Year," and as its name indicates, it is the beginning of the Jewish year. The coming year in the Jewish calendar (which starts 29/30 September) will be 5772.

The Manchester Reform Synagogue was founded in 1857. On the 1st June 1941 during the World War II blitz of Manchester the synagogue was bombed and lost its building as well as most of its records and treasured possessions. In 1949, compensation from the War Damage Commission allowed the congregation to purchase the present site and build this Shule in Jackson’s Row, which opened on 29th November 1953. More information at:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hot air

The mini heatwave in the UK this week has not curtailed preparations for the annual Conservative Party Conference, which takes place in Manchester from Sunday 2nd October to Wednesday 5th October. Workers are hard at it, in 25°C, constructing road blocks, gantries and assorted barricades to protect the government.

I remember being surrounded by police and security last time the Tories were here in 2009, when it was difficult to gain access to parts of the city centre, trams were not allowed to run in certain areas, and dozens of men in pinstriped suits quaffed gin and tonics in some of my favourite watering holes. In Beluga bar and restaurant many looked akin to Steve Bell cartoons from the 1980's yuppie age, only with smaller mobile phones:

Anyway, there is a demonstration against all the Conservative cuts that takes place in Albert Square on Sunday 2 October from 2.00 p.m: Take the Square is for all people opposed to the cuts:

The Labour Party have also used this building for meetings. Now known as Manchester Central convention complex, it was formerly called GMEX (Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre) but once upon a time it was Manchester Central railway station, which sadly was closed in 1969. 

Generally speaking a Tory blue is as rare a sight in Manchester as late September days reaching 26°C. Oh dear, that does not bode well...

Footnote: The Conservative Party emerged in 1834 out of the old Tory Party, which dates to 1678; it has always been colloquially called the 'Tory Party' or 'Tories'.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Ilam Rock

A mere 30 miles south-east of Manchester lies the magnificent Peak District Nation Park. This is Ilam Rock, one of several impressive limestone pinnacles on the River Dove. It is 25 metres (82 feet) high and often ascended by rock climbers.

With a week of glorious sunny weather here and temperatures above average for the time of year (26°C), it's a good time to enjoy some fresh air and long walks. explainsAround 350 million years ago, the whole of what is now the Peak District was covered with a shallow tropical sea, with deep lagoons fringed by coral reefs. The fossilised remains of sea creatures and corals make up what we call limestone. This rock forms much of what is now Dove Valley.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Italianate Knutsford

For a small but gentile northern English town, Knutsford (about 15 miles south of Manchester) has more than its fair share of Italian inspired architecture. This is currently my favourite. The Italian buildings scattered through the town were designed early last century by well-travelled local glove manufacturer Richard Harding Watt.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

1642 Civil War siege

The English civil war started in the summer of 1642.
The following excellent account comes from the Radical Manchester site:

On 15 July 1642 a party of Royalists led by Lord Strange came to Manchester and a fight broke out during which Richard Perceval, a linen weaver from Levenshulme, was killed, allegedly by Thomas Tyldesley from Astley. This has been claimed as the first death in a conflict which eventually claimed tens of thousands of lives.

By September Lord Strange had gathered several thousand troops in Warrington, while Manchester had a militia raised from the townspeople under the command of Colonel John Rosworm, a German soldier living in Manchester who had served in the Low Countries and Ireland and been taken on for six months to organise the town’s defences.

Strange moved out of Warrington on 24 September and laid siege to the town. The alarm was sounded by ringing the church bells. The Royalist headquarters were in Alport Lodge on Deansgate near what is now St John Street. The town refused to surrender and on 26 September the Royalists attacked down Deansgate, firing their cannon. They were driven off after some fierce fighting. They then attacked across Salford bridge but were held back as the defenders were on higher ground in the churchyard.

There was more fighting the following day but the again the attackers were repulsed. A truce was called and further talks took place but again the town, though running short of ammunition, refused Strange’s demands, though there were some divisions in the town.

On 29 September there was another round of fighting in which 200 Parliamentarians sallied out to attack a house on Deansgate which had been occupied by the Royalists . There was an hour of fighting in which the Royalists were defeated. A sniper on top of the church shot dead the Royalist Captain Standish who was standing in the door of a house on the Salford side of the river.

There was more fighting the next day. On 1 October there was an exchange of prisoners and Lord Strange and his troops abandoned the siege. In the course of the week’s skirmishes the Royalists appeared to have lost about 200 men and the defenders about 20. The victory at Manchester greatly boosted the moral of Parliament’s supporters in Lancashire. There was no further fighting in Manchester for the rest of the Civil War.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Avenue of Hope- I Am Kloot

Avenue of Hope is an atmospheric track by Manchester trio I am Kloot. Formed in 1999, they create a melancholic indie acoustic sound which has heralded six successful studio albums.
This photo is hardly an avenue of hope, but  Kloot’s lyrics were probably sardonic in which case they might apply...
Avenue of Hope by I Am Kloot
“Along the avenue of hope
The footsteps falter, the fingers grope
and days, stretch out, beneath the sun
No-one's born, and no-one dies, no-one lives, so no-one cries
and we wait to see just what we will become

Don't let me falter, don't let me ride
Don't let the earth in me subside
Let me see just who I will become...”
John Bramwell, one third of the band, is performing solo at the Words & Music Festival in Nantwich, Cheshire, in a couple of weeks - Saturday 8th October 2011:    

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Homage to Adolphe Valette

This is my homage to Valette’s painting India House (right). My photo is taken from a couple of blocks away and is of the Rochdale canal rather than the River Medlock of Valette’s work. I used Fotosketcher software to (hopefully) give my photo an impressionist feel.

Adolphe Vallette (1876-1942) was a French Impressionist artist who lived and painted in Manchester. He also taught Salford’s most famous son: the artist LS Lowry, at the Manchester Municipal College of Art.

Some of Valette’s most famous pieces were of Manchester and are on permanent display at the City Art Gallery.

You can view them online at:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Autumnal Equinox

To those of us in temperate countries with four seasons, those seasons' dates are open to debate. For some in the northern hemisphere autumn started on 1 September; likewise it was the first day of spring for many in the southern hemisphere. For me, the seasons change on 21 or 22 of September (and December, March and June).

An online guide for children explains it well for us adults too: The Autumn Equinox is the first day of the autumn season and occurs when the sun passes the equator moving from the northern to the southern hemisphere. The North Pole begins to tilt away from the sun. Day and night have approximately the same length. Autumnal equinox is near 22 September:

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Freshers' week at Manchester Met

The students are back in town. Manchester and Salford have approximately 88,000 university students. There's Salford University and the University of Manchester (which is the merged UMIST and Victoria University) plus, - as seen in today's photo- Manchester Metropolitan University- formerly a Polytechnic, and also my alma mater.

Some of Manchester Metropolitan University/Manchester Polytechnic's famous alumni include:
LS Lowry - artist
John Mayall- blues musician
Richard Griffiths- actor
Julie Waters - actor
Amanda Burton - actor

Mick Hucknall - Simply Red
Bryan Robson - England football captain

Peter Purves- television presenter
Steve Coogan - comedian

Ossie Clark  - fashion designer and 1960s/70s icon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Happy Mondays: Alfresco at Bar 38

The past week has been blustery at times weather-wise, with the remnants of Hurricane Katia bombarding the north of England. Thankfully, some sunny late summer days have prevailed, enabling us to enjoy a cup of coffee or something stronger al fresco. However, the leaves on the trees here at Bar 38 on Peter Street are starting to turn yellow and autumn is well on the way...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Antiques Roadshow

Corridors of power in the gothic ediface that is Manchester Town Hall.

A sign that autumn is almost here is the new series of BBC 1's Antiques Roadshow, starting tonight coming from the Town Hall. I always assocciate the programme, which explores all treasures great and small, with cosy, dark evenings. Over 3,100 items were examined and evaluated when the programme was filmed here, and if you miss it when live, you can see the best online at BBC i Player after the Sunday evening broadcast:

Saturday, 17 September 2011

North West Tonight weather girl

Holly auditions to become a new weather girl on the BBC 1 North West Tonight programme. This was part of a tour of the BBC Studios at New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road. It's not so new these days as they were built in 1974 for the Beeb who are in the process of moving out to Media City UK at Salford Quays.

See also Tim at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra's Steinway piano:

Friday, 16 September 2011


Yogberries fat-free frozen yoghurt shop in Hale. It's expensive but popular, especially with teenagers in term time.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

So lar, so good

Fitting solar panels means this house will be self sufficient at times on the electricity front, and able to sell any excess to the national grid too. So, so far, solar is so good.

Photo taken by Holly Sutton-Brand

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Love city life

"Love City Life" proclaims this empty retail unit, keen for investment. Nothing to do with the "I love MCR" campaign as these premises have been empty and displaying this montage for months. It is on Pall Mall in the business district and my vivid imagination sees the silhouettes coming to life at night. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The lion, the cherubs & the library

"The lion, the cherubs & the library" -not the title of an undiscovered CS Lewis manuscript, but a lion and two cherubs framing a window at the City Library on Deansgate.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Happy Mondays: sunflower

This sunflower self-seeded and has thrived in our vegetable patch over summer. Although not the tallest sunflower at about 6½ feet, it still looks perfectly lovely enough to me. If you look closely you can see it's also popular today with two wasps and a ladybird amongst the visitors. The beauty of mother nature!

It's the sunflower season in the northern hemisphere. I am not the only City Daily Photo blogger to capture a sunflower this past week. See Red Pat in Toronto's post of a Giant Russian variety at:

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 ten years on

The Imperial War Museum North at Salford Quays is hardly the most enticing of names but it has an exhibition marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11. This includes a 2m long British flag found at Ground Zero. The flag was later laid on the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral in London at a memorial service for victims of the attacks:

To mark the tenth anniversary itself at 4.00pm (1500 UTC) on Sunday 11 September, the Imperial War Museum is linking with Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA, for a memorial event, with two classical pieces composed for the event:  

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Street Athletics

We're in Albert Square where there is a temporary 60 metre long running track for today's Street Athletics national finals. This competition is for young athletes, with preliminary races having been held across the country for boys, girls and teenagers in five age groups (under 11, under 13, under 15, under 17 and under 20).

Street Athletics is headed up by Manchester's Olympic silver medallist Darren Campbell. He offered advice and support to participants at the Manchester heats in Whalley Range's Alexandra Park as part of the Caribbean Carnival last month.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Art Deco living at The Met

The Met is a former warehouse built in 1933 in the Art Deco style, now converted for heart of the city dwelling. There are clever uses of indoor communal spaces and apartments also have a loggia area (a gallery between outside windows and inside rooms). It's probably my favourite warehouse conversion in the city.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Peace, love and Lego

These drawings under the Mancunian Way are of two Lego figures- one with angel wings and the universal peace symbol (which is also the CND symbol in the UK) and the other sporting a "Food not bombs" top. I have also seen a slightly larger Lego angel graphic elsewhere in the city. They are by Brickz and Stones:

Anyway, I guess it proves that you're never too young to be a political activist. It's timely too for the annual Manchester Peace Festival, which runs for a week from 17th September. 

Manchester Peace Festival 17-25 September:
Greater Manchester CND:
Manchester Lego Discovery Centre:

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Anomalies at Motor Street Square

Motor Street Square is unusual in two ways: it is a triangle rather than a square and Motor St does not exist any more on any Manchester street guides. Only a name plaque in the square, sorry- in the triangle, remains.

Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopædia of Greater Manchester describes it as follows:
This triangular square is a popular lunchtime venue with local office workers, and has seen several different incarnations over recent years. At its best it was filled with pavement café seating and in fine weather seemed to represent everything that was the best of European café culture.

On the Bridge Street end it is overlooked by the Masonic Hall [see photo above], which was designed by Percy Scott Worthington in 1929. This Grade II Listed building is in Portland Stone and won the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal for Worthington in 1930.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Underneath the arches

There's always something going on underneath these railway arches, which run for about a mile across the southern part of the city centre. This evening shoot could have been for a student production, but I have also seen filming here for soaps, sitcoms, dramas and music videos.

The "The Vegetarian" graffiti has been there for a few months, but unlike much graffiti, I do endorse this one's sentiments.

Monday, 5 September 2011

I ♥ MCR campaign

The "I ♥ MCR" campaign has snowballed since its re-launch last month in response to the Manchester and Salford riots.  It aims to show the world that the people of Manchester are proud of their city and united against anti-social behaviour.

A sense of community spirit and hope has blossomed all over the city and suburbs, with posters and billboards in many independent shops and office windows, in public spaces and advertising spaces, as well as window posters, stickers, and tee shirts. (I have yet to see any of the profit-only large chains like M&S, Tesco or any of the banks like Barclays, HSBC, RBS etc. take part but I look forward to being proved wrong on that one). It was good to see The Cooperative Bank (founded in nearby Rochdale) with 8 storey high banners- I might post that next week.

A "We love MCR" day was held on 26 August plus various other events such as an all weekend music festival (N4 loves U) in the Northern Quarter last weekend. On the quirkier side "I love MCR" cupcakes are being baked by the Sweettooth Cupcakery shop and Manchester celebrities past and present are taking part in photo shoots. It is engendering both a civic pride and a community spirit that I have not known before in my 25 years in the city. Long may it last...

P.S Yes, it is based on Milton Glaser's iconic 1970's "I ♥ NYC" design, and has had several variations in Manchester over the years.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Early morn on the Edge

This photo was taken yesterday morning at about 9.00 a.m at Alderley Edge, on a lovely walk there from Hare Hill, before the crowds of weekend walkers arrived. The edge itself is a sandstone ridge and this view is looking north towards Manchester. The area is steeped in mystery, with landmarks and associated tales which include The Beacon, Druid's Circle, The Thieves' Hole, The Hermit, The Wizard, Golden Stone and Storm Point.

You can discover more at The Legends Of Alderley Edge website: which also states: Alderley Edge consists of a prominent ridge of land with a small village nestled against its western flank. Thousands of people visit the Edge each year having been drawn by the legends and history of Alderley Edge. There are many unusual sites nestled amongst the ancient trees and many of these are linked to the legend of the Wizard and his knights. It was this legend which inspired Alan Garner to write The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, a story about two children protecting a magical stone from the evil Morrigan and her followers.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Gateway House's Mancunian wave

This is Gateway House, which was completed in 1969 and is about to undergo a major refurbishment. Thankfully this modernist architectural statement will be retaining its wavy shape. Its wave is not where this blog gets its name. In case you ever wondered, my blog's name of "Mancunian Wave" comes from:

1) A flyover called the Mancunian Way, two words which could also apertain to a lifestyle or a certain way of doing things.

2) I envisaged a "wave" as in a greeting, a wave as in travelling across the airwaves and cyberspace, and a wave as in a trend.

Friday, 2 September 2011

An eyeful of the Blackpool Tower

There is not much that is subtle about Blackpool, which is located on Lancashire’s Fylde coast, a mere 40 miles (64km) from Manchester. It is synonymous with a big brash day at the seaside for Mancunians, Liverpudlians, Cumbrians and Lancastrians, plus tourists from many other British counties too.  
The rides of the Pleasure Beach are ever popular with the young and the young at heart. The promenade and the bold display of illuminations along the "golden mile" attract those in search of quick thrills and fast food. The beach comes complete with three piers, donkey rides, sandcastles and a chance to paddle in the Irish Sea.
The most famous landmark is the Blackpool Tower, which was reopened to the public yesterday (1 September 2011). It is now publically owned for the first time, having been bought by Blackpool Town council.
The tower was modelled on Paris’ Eiffel Tower, is 158m (519ft) high and first opened in May 1884. More details of its illustrious history can be read at:
Photo taken on 30 August by Holly Sutton-Brand

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Theme Day: Perspective

George Leigh Street in Ancoats was the heart of the Little Italy district of Manchester in the 1920s. More on Little Italy's fascinating history, which stretches back to the Victorian era, at Anthony Rea's wonderful website:

City Daily Photo September Theme Day: Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

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