Friday, 31 August 2012

Skywatch Friday: Roaming in the Roman granary

Believe it or not, this is the site of Roman Manchester- these are the reconstructed foundations of a granary. Manchester sadly can't offer much from its Roman era, other than the reconstructed fort and granary at Castlefield. 

If you want to see more authentic Roman ruins I suggest you visit Chester or York. The lovely city of York is covered in an excellent daily photo and history blog by my good friend Deb, at Ginnels Gates and Ghosts:

Follow the link for some spectacular Skywatch Friday posts around the world. Also a reminder that tomorrow is September's City Daily Photo theme day with the theme being people-watching. You can link to it at: .

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Drive-in & abandon your normal devices...

Abandon Normal Devices is a festival of new cinema, digital culture and art (runs until 2nd September). It's located at many venues around the city with Gorilla, First Street, MadLab and the Lionel Dobie gallery among them.

The photo is of the Empire Drive-in last night which was originally a spectacular concept of Brooklyn artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark and set up in San Jose. This first appearance of it in Europe has involved a dozen other artists and craftspeople.

Rows of scrapped cars provide the audience with seats and the cinema screen is mounted on stacked freight containers. Bands that performed soundtracks yesterday included Gnod, Plaster of Paris and Blue on Blue. This was followed by a showing of RoboCop.You can catch further in-car installations and film showings today and tomorrow.

All very post-industrial and a brilliant way to reuse some consumer car wastage. For more events go to the site: 

See also the Signs, Signs blog for a selection of weekly signs around the world.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

ABC Wednesday: G is for Granada TV Studios

Granada Studios have been making a wide range of quality television from here on Quay Street since the mid 1950s. By quality I'd include University Challenge, Seven Up, The World in Action, The Krypton Factor, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Brideshead Revisisted and The Jewel in the Crown.

Also some programmes in quantity (e.g. the ubiquitous Coronation Street) and a range of forgettable sitcoms in the 1960s and 1970s: The Lovers, Cuckoo Waltz and Nearest and Dearest spring to mind.

The architecture and fading signage screams to all that it is patently from the 1950s era. There are still a few other signs around the city with this classic fifties font, including the nearby Bridge Street Cleaners.

Granada is moving to Media City to become a neighbour to the BBC and a slice of Manchester television's history will soon go the way of the 1970s BBC New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, which is being demolished as I type.

Mancunian Wave is linked today, of course, to ABC Wednesday .

A heads up that September's City Daily Photo theme day (this Saturday 1 September) will be people-watching. You can link to it at: .

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Ruby Tuesday: Mini

The Mini has been a British icon since 1959. This modern red version complete with a union flag on the roof sparkles in the Manchester sunshine. It's a lovely summer's day here in the city and certainly not one for driving about. Time to use that older British icon- Shank's pony- to explore the city on foot. Linking today to the Ruby Tuesday blog.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Monday Murals: Lomo wall #lomowallmcr

Lomography is a current buzz word. The Lomo camera was the camera for the masses in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The cute mini cameras became a cult in Vienna in the 1990s where they lent themselves to a spontaneous shoot-from-the-hip style of photography.

It has since taken off in an artsy direction this century with a global following for retro analogue photography, perhaps as a reaction against the everyday acceptability of digital? 

The Lomography gallery and shop in Manchester is behind (not literally) a recently unveiled Lomo wall on Tariff Street. It's 30 metres long and consists of 18,000 photographs. I assume it is meant to look like a series of street scenes, or is it merely abstract? When you look close up there are many repeated photos, some at right angles or upside down, to achieve the overall effect.

I was offered the loan of a Lomo camera by Lomo UK earlier this year but struggled to get on with it. Yes it looked fabulous, with its retro deckchair canvas covering, but, IMHO, it was too limited, and expensive at £100 plus the processing of each film. I'll stick to my simple digital Coolpix which also cost about £100 and gives so many more options. You can easily apply a Lomo effect should you choose.  
If the Lomos were much cheaper, or if the old ones were simply being reused rather than new ones being manufactured, I might be tempted to use one as a fun photo accessory. Perhaps if like me you used analogue film back in the 1980s you are less likely to be as enamoured with it this time around?

A video of the wall being installed, and more on it is at:

Linked to Monday Murals at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Northern Quarter takeover / @NGTakeover

Today, Sunday 26 August, is the Northern Quarter takeover. “18 very individual venues, one unique takeover”. Events on Back Turner Street, Edge Street, High Street and Tib St and Thomas St will include nine hours of music, a street party, a three-legged race, a dog show and a high heeled egg and spoon race, plus more usual events such as busking.

The Marble Arch Brewery is also producing a special beer, a “heavily hopped best bitter” called M4 (the area’s postcode). Northern Quarter visitors and residents (such as those at these flats in and around the old fish market) will have plenty to see and do on their doorstep. More at Twitter: @NGTakeover

Linked to the Weekly Top Shot blog.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Frame by frame, yarn bombing on Brewer Street Bridge. #canalfest

We return to the 2012 Canal Festival in the Northern Quarter, celebrating 200 years of the Rochdale Canal. This is part of a "yarn bombing" installation on Brewer Street Bridge by Kerry Howarth. It's also known as guerilla knitting.

The narrow boat (barge) in the canal below is the Wandering Duck, a boat that you can stay overnight on.  For full details of the festival and so much more, do visit the wonderful Creative Tourist website:

Friday, 24 August 2012

The big weekend @ManchesterPride

Manchester Pride is Manchester’s annual LGBT festival, held over the August public holiday weekend, in and around the gay village.  The main goal of Manchester Pride is to raise money for a variety of LGBT organisations and groups in Greater Manchester.  
This bunting is among the most discreet on display- there are giant rainbow flags and huge swathes of colourful materials swung across Canal Street and neighbouring roads elsewhere. Hope everyone attending has a great time.

The festival lasts ten days with a series of art, culture, heritage, debate, sport, music and film events celebrating the great diversity of the LGBT community.

Pride Fringe ran from 17 to yesterday, 23 August. The Big Weekend starts today Friday 24th running until Monday 27th August. Singers Alison Moyet, Amelia Lily and Louise Dearman are among the acts on the Sackville Gardens stage:

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Float in movie #canalfest

There are often canal festivals on the north west's waterways but the 2012 Canal Mini Festival is one with a difference. As it is held in the Northern Quarter there is an inevitable artistic twist to proceedings.

Where other such festivals are more about the narrow boats and people of the past who plied their trades along the canals, this one has a float in movie, and more, including a lomo wall (see next Monday's post), a theatre boat and a floating barge which doubles as a hostel and bar.
"A Mancunian take on the American drive-in: two nights of free, outdoor film at a canalside, pop-up cinema. Bring your car, your boat or just yourself (and an FM radio) for screenings of Captain America (filmed in the Northern Quarter, fact fans) and The Life Aquatic. Plus hot noodles from Ning, deckchairs, Bollington Brewing Co. beer and a bar."

Visit: or follow on Twitter @creativetourist  #canalfest
Mancunian Wave is linking to this week's Signs, Signs blog.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

ABC Wednesday: F is for fire escape

I am always impressed by the variety and colours of the fire escapes on some older buildings around Manchester city centre - they are works of art in their own right in my view.  A suitable "F" for today's link to ABC Wednesday .

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summertime, and the living is easy

Every city needs some urban oases to escape the hustle and bustle. This is St. John's Gardens on a day when the sun shone and the grass was not too wet to lay on.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Marlsbro House Street art

Marlsbro House on Newton Street houses a wide range of businesses including clothing wholesalers, bookeepers and a dance studio. The shutters provide fine canvases for different artists to express themselves too.

You can read and see more about the building and its history at the ever wonderful Manchester History Net website:

Linked to Monday Murals at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Oliver Cromwell's head of steam

I was surprised to see a steam train in the name of Oliver Cromwell. It was completed at the Crewe Railway Depot in Cheshire on 30 May 1951.

It was parked at the world's oldest passenger railway line, which is the Liverpool Road station by Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). The station opened in 1830 and linked Manchester and Liverpool.

I am amazed that in the pro-monarchy days of the 1950s a steam train was named after England's only Head of State who did not gain the position through hereditary means. Cromwell headed England's first republic which lasted from 1653 to 1658. I look forward to a ride on this train when England becomes a republic again, one day...

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Atelier's white sheds, white noise?

The Atelier project brings together the Office for Subversive Architecture, students from Manchester School of Architecture and École Spéciale d’Architecture, and curator Jane Anderson.

It's part of the 2012 Canal Festival and summer long "Cultural Olympiad". I think that various sports and play activities both in and beside the water go on during the day, but I will need to revisit as I feel I have missed something. Call me cynical but the white sheds and a basketball hoop are all that I can see that has changed from what was here before... I expect I stand to be corrected, probably between 18th to 26th August when the Canal Festival takes place. I will pop along and see...

Friday, 17 August 2012

Barges & boats

These two vessels at Deansgate Quay prove that the canals aren't just for barges.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Tea, cakes and fascism at the Midland

A section of the famous Midland Hotel, which was completed in 1903.

During World War II Adolf Hitler ordered that the Midland Hotel and the Town Hall should not be bombed. Hitler and his fellow megalomaniacs planned to rule the north of England from the Town Hall, and the Nazi cabinet would have lived at the 5 star Midland Hotel.

Another World War II fascist connection is that William Joyce (a.k.a Lord Haw Haw) used to meet at the Midland with his boss Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists (a.k.a Baronet Mosley of Ancoats). Mosley’s ancestors had been the lords of the manor of Manchester for hundreds of years.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Indian Independence Day

Today, 15th August, is Indian Independence Day, granted in 1947. An opportunity then to use this photo of the entrance to the Bank of India on Newton St. There are a multitude of Indian connections in Manchester, from road names such as Bombay St and buildings like India House. Plus a long established Indian community and, of course, the many colourful sari shops and huge range of curry houses we all enjoy.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Taxi for Man City?

Once upon a time all taxis were black. The chequered taxi on the right advertises a hotel chain. The blue cab sports the badge of the richest football club in the world, Manchester City and, inevitably, their current sponsor. City are 2012 Premier League winners and 2011 FA Cup winners.

Like it or not, the name of Manchester is often synonymous worldwide with football. Sadly the past 20 years have seen club football at the top level in England sell its soul to the highest bidders. Triumphs now can only be hollow.

Author and City fan Colin Shindler wrote a popular book "Manchester United ruined my life" - a tale in part of the frustrations over the marketing machine that Manchester United had become. His new book "Manchester City ruined my life" is more poignant, tracing the latest rise of City who sadly could only achieve success by emulating the model of United, and other big business clubs.   

Monday, 13 August 2012

Posting for Gold

Earlier this year The Royal Mail promised to paint a gold post box in the home town of each British gold medallist at London 2012. They have been good to their word. This gold post box is on Albert Square, at the top of Lloyd Street, and is gold for Greater Manchester's Olympic cyclists Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny. German-born teenager Philip lives in Manchester and 24 year old Jason was born in Farnworth. Sadly the Royal Mail will, in n unspecified time, repaint each post box in its traditional red.

You can find your favourite gold medallist Briton and their postbox's location at the Gold Postboxes site:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Oast House Olympics

The Oast House (in shadow to the left) is a rarity in Spinningfields in that it is trying to look old rather than cool or modern, as the rest of the area aspires to. Modelled on an old Kent oast house it has become a popular watering hole of the after work crowds, whatever the weather. It was only built late in 2011 and is not somewhere I would frequent myself- the hog roasts put me off to start with...

An oast house or hop kiln is a building designed for kilning (drying) hops as part of the brewing process. They can be found in most hop-growing regions, which are not really found here in the north-west but more in the south-east.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Olympics on Exchange Square

Watching play on what must be the brightest hockey pitch ever - that blue and pink is so garish- but somehow adds to the atmosphere. Manchester's Exchange Square is partially packed with people, sporting activities and flowers while you watch the exploits of Olympiads a mere 200 miles away down south. The screen is a permanent fixture and relays all manner of sporting and cultural events from around the globe, sometimes even live opera, which I really would like to see here.

A guest post about my visits to the London Olympics is at the Smitten by Britain blog- Olympics for All!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Skywatch Friday: Olympics at Screenfields

One of two giant screens in the city centre where you can sit and watch the Olympics for free. Nearby bars and restaurants will meet your culinary needs, there's badminton and table tennis for thw young and young at heart, or simply a deckchair for those of us who pootle along after a hard day at the office. I enjoyed some table tennis followed by basketball between Lithuania and Russia here the other evening. More Skywatch Friday posts.

My second guest post on my time at the London Olympics is now up at Smitten by Britain, and is titled Olympics for All!   

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Timperley Thatch, a new Dickens creation?

A thatch-roofed house on the outskirts of Timperley. The title for my photo, Timperley Thatch, also sounds like a potential Charles Dickens' character to me. With 2012 being the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, it seems an appropriate little homage. Linked to the Rural Thursday blog.

Meanwhile, back in the modern world, my second guest post on my time at the London Olympics is now up at Smitten by Britain, and is titled Olympics for All!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

ABC Wednesdays: D is for discussing directions

This team of brightly-attired individuals are Olympic ambassadors. They were helping point people towards Old Trafford yesterday for the last Manchester event in London's 2012 Olympics - the men's football semi-final between Brazil and South Korea. 

Today is  "D" in ABC Wednesdays .

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympic football semi-finals at Old Trafford

The myriad of flags, banners and bunting in Manchester proclaiming "London 2012" seem a little incongruous to me but brighten up the Ship Canal  walkway. It's a short walk from here to where the Olympic football continues at Old Trafford today- the men's semi-final between South Korea and Brazil (kick off's at 1945 BST). It will do well to match the exciting women's semi-final at Old Trafford which saw Canada narrowly lose 3-4 to the USA last night.

For posts on my week in Olympic London see my guest posts at: Smitten by Britain. A second post on the Olympics is about to be published but meanwhile here's a reminder of last week's London Olympics...cycle road races.

Linking today to the Our World Tuesday blog.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A ticket to ride

A queue to buy train tickets in the booking hall at Victoria station.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Suburban summer sights

Another summer evening stroll around the salubrious southern suburbs.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Skywatch Friday: Lancashire man dies in London equestrian event

The statue on the left with pigeons at its feet is of Robert Peel, who was born into a wealthy cotton mill-owning family 1788 in Bury, Lancashire. After a privileged education at Harrow Public School and Christ Church College Oxford he twice became a Tory (Conservative) Prime Minister.

He is best remembered for setting up an organised police force in London in 1829, where the policemen (no women in those days, and I am unsure who the seated female statue is) became known as "Peelers". Peel fell to his death when riding a horse on London's Constitution Hill in July 1850.

More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Office gold in the sun

As the sun floods into a high rise office amongst the usual paraphernalia of computers, files and photos, you can see a Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games statuette on the window sill. The clever design of the Commonwealth Games logo represented three athletes in gold, silver and bronze postions, who also form a letter "M" for  the host city of Manchester.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Collection of numbers (City Daily Photo Theme day & ABC Wednesdays)

The City Daily Photo theme day for August is numbers and today is also "C" in ABC Wednesdays .  The CDP portal link is in transition so please go to: for August's Theme Day.

So, here is a collection of buildings' numbers (a lucky seven in total) from around the city centre. If you're local and want to follow my footsteps and findings, well, I started on Dickenson Street, then went up Portland Street, right onto Princess Street and left up Granby Row.

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