Hello and welcome to Manchester. In this video I present my Top 50 best and worst buildings in Manchester and district.
We’ll start with the worst ones
Number 50. The Arndale Centre by Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley 1972-1979. – Ugly and far too big, but as a shopping centre, very successful.
Number 49. Library Walk Link Building SimpsonHaugh – 2015 – ruins the effect of the two heritage buildings and blocks the beautiful passageway between them.
Number 48. Piccadilly pavilion Tadao Ando – 2002
Simply ugly and reminded me immediately of the Berlin Wall.
In 47th place, Number One Piccadilly Gardens von Allies and Morrison – 2003 – It was built on a greenspace and blocks the view of the historic facades.
46. Northenden flats 2014
This apartment building appeared the suburb of Northenden. The design is not bad but here in a village its too big and dominating. The building is bigger than in the original plans.
and now on to the better ones
45. Piccadilly Plaza Covell Mathews and Partners – 1965
Many hate it but I find it exciting and futuristic.
44. Bernard House, Piccadilly Plaza 1965 a building with a very interesting roof. Sadly it was demolished in 2003.
43. The Beetham/Hilton Tower Ian Simpson – 2007
42. The Trafford Centre Chapman Taylor & Leach Rhodes Walker – 1998 Architects cricitise but millions of visitors seem to like it!
41. The Mathematics Tower Scherrer and Hicks 1968 A nice building but no longer compatible with a modern university and demolished 2005, and replaced by…
40. University Place John McAslan + Partners – 2008 – At the university they call it ‘the tin can’.
and now on to the good ones…
39. Wythenshawe Park Tennis & Bowls Pavilion by City Architect LC Howitt – 1960 – A tiny masterpiece of modern architecture.
38. No 1 Deansgate Ian Simpson – 2002
A nice place to live, but not so good if you value your privacy.
37. Furness House fmr Manchester Liners Leach, Rhodes and Walker – 1969
In the former Manchester docks, it reminds me of Liberty Hall in Dublin.
36. The 1962 terminal at Manchester Airport by LC Howitt and Besant Roberts As a child I found it exciting and futuristic. Here’s a photo of mine from 1973.
35. Manchester Airport ATC Tower by CPM Architects 2013
Impressive and similar to other towers all over the world.
34. Pall Mall Court Brett & Pollen -1969
A nice sixties building.
33. – 55 King Street Casson, Conder & Partners 1966, 1969
Was a bank, now it’s a boutique.
32. City of Manchester Stadium Arup – 2002
31. Owens Park Tower Building Design Partnership – 1968
A student hall of residence with fantastic views.
30. Peter House Ansell and Bailey – 1958
Its facade curves outwards and opposite…
29. No1 St Peters Square Glenn Howells Architects – 2015
An elegant modern building its facade curves inwards.
28. Granada TV building Ralph Tubbs – 1956
A monument to the golden era of British TV.
27. The Lowry Hotel Consarc Design Architects – 2001
26. Contact Theatre Alan Short and Associates – 1999
A beautiful, interesting and rather crazy building.
25. Islington Wharf Broadway Malyan – 2000
Futuristic with great views
24. Oxford Rd Station William Robert Headley and Max Clendinning – 1960
It’s made out of wood and reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House
23. The Royal Exchange Theatre Levitt Bernstein – 1976
A building within a building. It looks like a lunar module.
22. The Bridgewater Hall Renton Howard Wood Levin – 1996
The new home of the Halle Orchestra founded in 1854 by the German-British musician Sir Charles Hallé.
21. Toast Rack Hollings Campus Leonard Cecil Howitt – 1960
Was a college for catering and so form represents function.
20. Manchester Cancer Research Centre Capita Symonds – 2015
19. National Graphene Institute Jestico + Whiles 2015
It has facets, like a jewel.
18. The Quay Bar Stephenson Bell- 1998 It won prizes but as a bar it wasn’t successful and it was demolished in 2007
17. MMU Business School and Student Hub FCB Studios – 2012
A very impressive building made out of glass.
16. Stockport Pyramid 1992
Now an icon of Stockport.
15. Manchester International Office Centre former Renold Chain – Cruikshank & Seward – 1955
Near the airport, a very early example of modern office architecture.
14. New Piccadilly Station BDP – 2002
in my opinion the best modern station building in the UK. I use it every day.
13. Gateway House Richard Seifert & Partners – 1969
Here in 1998 recently renovated, and today it looks great.
12. The Lowry Michael Wilford – 2000
With its metal façade and crazy shapes and colours, it’s unmistakable.
11. Maths and Social Sciences Building Cruikshank and Seward – 1968
For me as a child, this was a symbol of modernity.
10. Renold Building W.A.Gibbon of Cruikshank and Seward – 1962
A masterpiece of modern architecture.
09. Hexagon Tower Blackley Richard Seifert – 1973
This futuristic building looks astonishingly like the modern PC Tower.
08. Daily Express Building Sir Owen Williams – 1939
Visionary and progressive, unlike the paper which moved out years ago.
07 HOME by Mecanoo – 2015 a home for cinema, theatre and art. It looks great by day and by night.
06. Siemens Building Buttress Architects – 1989p
In south Manchester, influenced by the Bauhaus.
05. Imperial War Museum Daniel Libeskind – 2002
Represents a world shattered by war.
04. Civil Justice Centre by Denton Corker Marshall – 2008
Very big, very expensive but in my opinion a modern masterpiece.
03. Urbis Ian Simpson – 2001
A great building – exciting. My Manchester Megaphoto was displayed here. Since 2012 the National Football Museum.
02. One Angel Square by 3DReid – 2013
For many Manchester’s best modern building but my number one is…
01. The CIS Tower by Gordon Tait – 1962
Outside and inside superb, influenced by the Inland Steel Building, Chicago, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 1956. Since 2004, a huge solar project. I’ve taught in the CIS Tower.
So what’s your favourite building (in Manchester?) Please write it in the comments below.
And please like and subscribe.
Many thanks for watching and see you again in Manchester.
This video was showcased on the I Love Manchester website – many thanks to them for featuring my work.
When we think about George Best, do we remember him for his football, or for his alcoholism? Many people have asked themselves this question both during his life and after his premature death. How will he be remembered?
George Best was born on 22 May, 1946 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father Dickie is a shipyard worker, his mother Annie a former hockey player. They are from a Presbyterian background and live in the residential district of Cregagh, south east Belfast, at number 16 Burren Way.
The Bests have six children, George is their first child. In every spare minute George plays football on the street and on the neighbouring sports field. At fifteen, he is discovered by Manchester United’s talent scout Bob Bishop.
At that time, the club were looking for new talent, because three years earlier, they had suffered a major blow. It happened on Thursday, 6 February, 1958 at Munich-Riem Airport. The team had played against Red Star Belgrade and were on their way back to Manchester.
Their plane, an Airspeed Ambassador, stopped at Munich to refuel. It was snowing and there were freezing temperatures. On the third attempt to take off, the plane came off the runway and exploded. Half the team died. Manager Matt Busby was seriously injured. His life hung in the balance. Nine team members survived. Matt Busby recovered and started building a new team.
And so, in 1961, talent scout Bob Bishop sends Matt Busby a telegram in which he says: “I think I’ve found you a genius“. Best comes to Manchester, but returns to Belfast after just one day. He doesn’t feel comfortable at the world-famous club and he’s homesick. Matt Busby writes to his father. His father writes back and Best returns to Manchester. Busby becomes a father figure to him.
George lives a small house on Aycliffe Avenue, Chorlton, South Manchester with Mrs Fullaway, a widow, and her son Steve, a Manchester United fan. She takes care of him as if he were her own son.
Soon his team mates start to notice his talents. “Sensational,” says Pat Crerand in the 2017 BBC documentary. He also remarks, what a nice and quiet lad Georg Best is. His first outing is on 14 September, 1963 in the game against West Bromwich Albion.
Manchester United’s main aim is to win the European Cup. In 1966 United plays Benfica in the quarter-final of the European Cup. It is 3 2 to United from the first leg. After Tony Dunne’s free kick, George Best scores the first goal with a header. Five minutes later, he dribbles past five Benfica players and scores for the second time. Manchester United win the game 5:1 but not the cup.
In the BBC documentary, goalkeeper Harry Gregg comments: “The night that George became a different person, was the night that George scored two goals against Benfica. On that night he became the legend that was George Best.”
George Best becomes the first football pop star with an extravagant lifestyle: parties, expensive cars, champagne, gambling, women. He owns two fashion boutiques, appears on tv shows and is called the ‘fifth `Beatle’.
Lisbon 1968, Best scores in the final of the European Championship against Benfica. United wins 4-1. Best is voted Footballer of the Year in Europe and England.
Ten years after the Munich Air Crash, Matt Busby has achieved his ambition. At 22, George Best has reached the peak of his career. But where to now? Unfortunately for George Best it downhill.
On the 26th of April 1969 Sir Matt Busby resigns as manager, but stays on as General Manager of the club. Several managers follow, but the good times are over for Manchester United.
Best’s alcohol escapades become more and more frequent. He turns up drunk for training or not at all. Everywhere he’s pursued by the press.
George commissions a dream house to be built on Blossoms Lane, in Bramhall south of Manchester. But the state-of-the-art bachelor pad only offers even more opportunities for parties, intimate rendezvous with attractive models and alcohol.
On one occasion, George goes missing for several days and is then found in London. Sir Matt stipulates that he must go back to live at Mrs. Fullaway’s house.
Due to his gambling addiction and unsuccessful business activities he starts to build up large debts.
In 1972 Best announces his resignation, but makes a comeback nine months later. He’s not successful. He is not fit enough and he doesn’t train enough not to mention the effects of alcohol.
After eleven years at Manchester United, he makes his final appearance on 1 January, 1974. He has scored 179 goals in 470 games but never has played in the World Cup or the European Cup
After that, George Best makes a series of appearances: for the Jewish Guild of Johannesburg, Dunstable Town, Stockport County, Cork Celtic and then Los Angeles Aztecks. At that time, Elton John was co-owner of the club.
There he becomes a cult star and is able to enjoy the California life style: soccer during the day, racquetball on the beach in the afternoon, pool and drinks with friends in the evening. In Hermosa Beach he meets model and former Playboy Bunny Angie MacDonald. In 1978 they get married in Las Vegas.
The stability does not last long. George opens a bar, Bestie’s Bar, and the alcohol problems return. Angie becomes pregnant, Calum is born in 1981.
Again he doesn’t show up for training. He is suspended, moves to Fort Lauderdale Strikers, plays for Fulham FC, Hibernian Edinburgh, then San Jose Earthquakes. There he undergoes alcohol therapy three times, but to no avail, and he finally returns to the UK.
Best plays 37 times for the Northern Ireland national team and scores nine goals. He declares he’s in favour a single north-south Irish national team. After appearing at AFC Bournemouth and Brisbane Lions in Australia, Best ends his career.
In 1984 he is found by a police officer to be drunk at the wheel of a car. After insulting another police officer, he goes to prison for two months.
In 1986 he gets divorced from Angie. In the late 80s he works for various newspapers and becomes a commentator for Sky Sports. He often talks openly about his alcohol problems. His escapades are reported almost every day in the British tabloid press.
In 1995 he marries the model Alex Pursey. In the BBC film, she tells how, free of alchool, he is the ideal husband but when under the influence, he becomes aggressive
In December 2001, he receives an Honorary Doctorate from Queens University Belfast. He undergoes a liver transplant in August 2002, but still he is unable to give up alcohol. In 2004, he loses his licence due to drink driving and his marriage to Alex ends in divorce.
In October 2005, he is admitted to Cromwell Hospital in London. The end comes on Friday the 25th of November 2005 at 1:00 p.m. His son Calum tells the press: “Not only have I lost my dad, we’ve all lost a wonderful man.”
100,000 people come to his funeral in his home city of Belfast. In 2007 the airport is renamed George Best Belfast City Airport. But the decision is controversial. In the referendum, 52% were in favour, 48% against.
So when we think of George Best, do we remember him for his football or for his alcoholism? Both, because they are the two sides of a tragic hero.
In his homeland, his name is still spoken with reverence by people in both communities there are George Best murals in many places. On YouTube, videos of his legendary dribbling skills have been viewed millions of times. The George Best Facebook page now has over 300,000 members, more than any other deceased football player.
In the end, what can you say about George Best? Genius on the pitch, most famous footballer of the beat generation, tragic hero. But for his fans, young and old, he remains the best football player of all time.
Wenn wir an George Best denken, denken wir dann an seinen Fußball, oder an seinen Alkoholismus? Diese Frage haben sich viele Leute auch während seines allzu kurzen Lebens gestellt. Wie wird er in Erinnerung bleiben?
George Best wurde am 22. Mai 1946 in Belfast, Nordirland geboren. Sein Vater Dickie war Werftarbeiter, seine Mutter Annie ehemalige Hockeyspielerin. Sie haben presbyterianischen Hintergrund und wohnen im Wohnviertel Cregagh, Südost-Belfast, Burren Way Nummer 16.
Die Familie Best hat sechs Kinder und George ist ihr erstes Kind. In jeder freien Minute kickt er auf der Straße und auf dem benachbarten Sportplatz. Mit fünfzehn Jahren wird er vom Talentscout des Manchester United Bob Bishop entdeckt.
Der Verein war auf der Suche nach neuem Talent, denn drei Jahre zuvor musste er einen schweren Schlag erleiden. Es geschah am Donnerstag den 6. Februar, 1958 am Flughafen München-Riem. Das Team hatte für den Europapokal gegen Roter Stern Belgrad gespielt und waren auf dem Rückweg nach Manchester.
Ihre Maschine, ein Airspeed Ambassador, machte zum Auftanken einen Zwischenstopp in München. Es schneite und war eisig kalt. Beim dritten Startversuch kam die Maschine von der Startbahn ab und explodierte. Die Hälfte der Mannschaft starb. Cheftrainer Matt Busby wurde schwer verletzt und schwebte in Lebensgefahr. Neun Mannschaftsmitglieder überlebten. Matt Busby erholte sich und begann ein neues Team aufzubauen.
1961 schreibt Talentscout Bob Bishop in einem Telegramm an Matt Busby: “Ich glaube, ich habe für Sie ein Genie entdeckt”. Best kommt nach Manchester, geht aber schon nach einem Tag wieder zurück nach Belfast. Er fühlt sich im weltberühmten Verein nicht wohl und hat Heimweh. Matt Busby schreibt an seinen Vater. Er spricht mit seinem Sohn, antwortet und Best kehrt nach Manchester zurück. Danach wird Busby zu einer Vaterfigur für ihn.
George wohnt in einem kleinen Haus in der Aycliffe Avenue, Chorlton, Süd-Manchester bei der Witwe Fullaway und ihrem Sohn Steve, einem Fan von Manchester United. Sie kümmert sich um ihn wie um ihren eigenen Sohn.
Bald werden seine Kameraden auf seine Talente aufmerksam. “Sensationell”, sagt Pat Crerand im BBC-Film von 2017 “aber auch ein sehr netter und ruhiger Junge”. Sein erster Einsatz ist am 14. September 1963 im Spiel gegen West Bromwich Albion.
Es ist das gemeinsame Ziel von Manchester United, den Europapokal zu gewinnen. 1966 spielt United gegen Benfica im Viertelfinale des Europapokals. Es steht 3 zu 2 vom Hinspiel. Nach dem Freistoß von Tony Dunne erzielt George Best mit einem Kopfstoß das erste Tor. Fünf Minuten später lässt er mehrere Benfica-Spieler aussteigen und trifft zum zweiten Mal. Manchester United gewinnt die Partie mit 5 zu 1 aber nicht den Pokal.
Im BBC-Dokumentar kommentiert Torwart Harry Gregg: “Der Abend, an dem George zu einer anderen Person wurde, war der Abend, an dem George zwei Tore gegen Benfica erzielte. An dem Abend wurde er zur Legende George Best.”
George Best wird zum ersten Fußball-Popstar mit extravagantem Lebensstil: Partys, teure Autos, Champagner, Glücksspiele, Frauen. Der Eigentümer von zwei Modeboutiquen tritt in Fernsehshows auf und wird ‘fünfter Beatle’ genannt.
Lissabon 1968, im Endspiel des europäischen Landesmeisterwettbewerbs gegen Benfica gelangt Best ein Treffer. United siegt mit 4:1. Best wird zum Fußballer des Jahres in Europa und in England gewählt.
Zehn Jahre nach der Luftkatastrophe hat Matt Busby sein Ziel erreicht. Mit 22 Jahren erreicht George Best den Höhepunkt seiner Karriere. Aber wohin kann es nun gehen? Für George Best geht es leider bergab.
Am 26. April 1969 tritt Sir Matt Busby als Cheftrainer zurück, bleibt aber als General Manager im Verein. Ihm folgen mehrere Trainer, aber bei Manchester United sind die großen Zeiten vorbei.
Bests Alkoholeskapaden werden immer häufiger. Er kommt betrunken oder überhaupt nicht zum Training. Überall wird er von der Presse gejagt.
George lässt ein Traumhaus in der Blossoms Lane südlich von Manchester bauen. Die hochmoderne Jungesellenbude bietet jedoch nur weitere Möglichkeiten für Partys, Rendezvous mit hübschen Fotomodellen und Alkohol. Einmal bleibt George mehrere Tage vermisst und wird dann in London aufgefunden. Sir Matt stipuliert, dass er zurück zu Frau Fullaway muss.
Wegen seiner Spielsucht und seiner erfolglosen Geschäftsaktivitäten hat er Schulden aufgebaut.
1972 erklärt Best seinen Rücktritt, macht aber neun Monate später ein Comeback, jedoch ohne Erfolg. Er ist nicht fit und trainiert nicht oft genug, geschweige denn die Effekte des Alkohols.
Nach elf Jahren bei Manchester United tritt er zum letzten Mal am 1. Januar 1974 auf. Er hatte in 470 Spielen 179 Tore geschossen, spielte aber weder eine WM oder EM.
Dann folgt eine Reihe von Auftritten: für die Jewish Guild of Johannesburg, Dunstable Town, Stockport County, Cork Celtic, Los Angeles Aztecks. Elton John war damals Miteigentümer des Vereins.
Dort wird er zum Kultstar und kann das Leben in Kalifornien genießen: Am Tag Fußball, dann Racquetball am Strand, am Abend Pool und Getränke mit Freunden. In Hermosa Beach lernt er das Fotomodell und ehemalige Playboy-Bunny Angie MacDonald kennen. 1978 heiraten sie in Las Vegas.
Die Stabilität dauert aber nicht lange. George eröffnet eine Bar, Bestie’s Bar und die Alkoholprobleme kehren zurück. Angie wird schwanger, Calum wird 1981 geboren.
Schon wieder erscheint er nicht zum Training. Er wird vom Verein gesperrt, wechselt zu Fort Lauderdale Strikers, spielt bei FC Fulham, Hibernian Edinburgh, dann San Jose Earthquakes. Dort dort macht er dreimal eine Alkoholtherapie, aber diese brachte nichts und er kehrt endlich zurück nach Großbritannien.
Best spielt 37 Mal für die Nationalmannschaft Nordirlands und erzielt neun Tore. Er erklärt, dass er für ein vereinigtes irisches Nord-Süd-Nationalteam sei. Nach Auftritten bei AFC Bournemouth und den australischen Brisbane Lions, beendet Best seine Karriere.
Im Jahr 1984 wird er betrunken am Steuer von einem Polizisten erwischt. Weil er einen Polizisten auch beleidigt, muss er für zwei Monate ins Gefängnis.
Im Jahr 1986 lässt er sich von Angie scheiden. In den späten 80er Jahren arbeitet für verschiedene Zeitungen und wird Kommentator für Sky Sports. Er spricht offen über seine Alkoholprobleme. Über seine Eskapaden wird in der britischen Boulevardpresse fast jeden Tag berichtet.
1995 heiratet er das Fotomodell Alex Pursey. Im BBC-Film bekennt sie, er sei ohne Alkohol der ideale Ehemann. Unter Alkoholeinfluss werde er aber oft aggressiv.
Im Dezember 2001 bekommt er die Ehrendoktorwürde an der Queens University Belfast. Eine Lebertransplantation erfolgt im August 2002, aber er kommt vom Alkohol nicht weg. Im Jahr 2004 verliert er wegen Trunkenheit am Steuer den Führerschein und seine Ehe mit Alex endet in einer Scheidung.
Im Oktober 2005 wird er ins Londoner Cromwell Hospital eingeliefert. Das Ende kommt am 25. November 2005 um 13:00 Uhr. Vor dem Krankenhaus sagt sein Sohn Callum. Ich habe nicht nur meinen Vater verloren, sondern wir alle haben einen wunderbaren Menschen verloren.
In seiner Heimatstadt Belfast kommen 100.000 Menschen zur Beerdigung.
Im Jahre 2007 wird der Flughafen in George Best City Airport umbenannt. Aber die Entscheidung ist umstritten. Im Volksentscheid waren 52% dafür, 48% dagegen.
Wenn wir also an George Best denken, kommt sein Fußball oder sein Alkoholismus in den Sinn? Die Antwort ist beide, denn es sind die zwei Seiten eines tragischen Helden.
In seiner Heimat wird sein Name noch mit Ehrfurcht von Protestanten wie Katholiken ausgesprochen. In vielen Gegenden sieht man George-Best-Wandmalereien. Bei YouTube werden Videos seiner legendären Dribbel-Künste millionenmal angeschaut. Die George Best Facebook-Seite hat heute mehr als 300.000 Mitglieder, mehr als irgend ein anderer verstorbener Fußballer.
Was kann man letztendlich über George Best sagen? Genie auf dem Rasen, bekanntester Fußballer der Beat-Generation, tragischer Held. Doch für seine Fans, jung und alt, bleibt George Best der beste Fußballer aller Zeiten.
The German influence in Manchester is significant but often hidden. In this video, I look for the traces of German language and culture and some of the people from the German speaking countries who helped to make Manchester what it is today.
The name Albert is famous all over the UK. Streets, buildings and monuments are named after him. But how many people know where he came from?
Prinz Albert von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, to give him his correct title, was born in 1819. In English we say Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg and Gotha.
He married Queen Victoria and became Prince Consort. Sadly he died in 1861 at the age of 42. His birthplace, Schloss Rosenau, now in Bavaria near the former East German border, is open to the public and I intend to visit.
Round the corner – um die Ecke – from Albert Square you’ll find Alberts Schloss – a self-proclaimed palace of Bavarian and Bohemian-inspired food and drink. It’s on the ground floor of the Albert Hall on Peter Street.
Opposite Alberts Schloss is the Free Trade Hall, former home of the Hallé Orchestra founded by Sir Charles Hallé. Karl Halle was born in the town of Hagen, now in the federal state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. He came to England and changed his name to Hallé with an accent on the letter ‘e’ so people wouldn’t call him Mr ‘Hall’.
In 1858 he founded the Hallé Orchestra – Im Jahre 1858 gründete er das Hallé Orchester – and brought many German musicians over from Germany. He had a distinguished career. His gravestone is in Weaste Cemetery, Salford.
Friedrich Engels was born in Barmen, Wuppertal in 1820. He came to Manchester to work in the family textile business. He studied the English working class and wrote ‘die Lage der Arbeitenden Klasse in England’ – ‘The condition of the working class in England’. In 2017 a statue of Friedrich Engels was brought from Ukraine to Manchester. It stands in front of Manchester’s HOME arts centre.
In the 19th century German-speaking immigrants came to Manchester. Many went on to generate huge wealth and helped to make Manchester the city it is today. Hans Renold wurde 1852 in Aarau geboren – Hans Renold was born in 1852 in Aarau, west of Zürich in the German-speaking part of Switzerland He came to Manchester and founded Renold Chain. The Renold Building in Manchester University is named after his son Sir Charles Renold. Renold is a worldwide company and its head office is near Manchester Airport.
Siemens is a German company that is a major player in the UK. You’ll find the Siemens name in many places, such as on the doors of these trains.
Simon is a name familiar to people from Manchester. Henry Simon and Simon Carves are prominent local companies. In Wythenshawe you’ll find Simonsway and in Manchester city centre, Shena Simon Campus of the Manchester College. Where does the name come from? It doesn’t sound very German. Gustav Heinrich Victor Amandus Simon wurde 1835 geboren – He was born in 1835 in the Prussian town of Brieg, now Brzeg in Poland. He moved to Manchester, changed his name to Henry Simon and founded Simon Carves and Simon Engineering.
Henry Simon revolutionierte die britische Mehlindustrie – He revolutionised the British flour industry. His son Ernest Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe was a politician and former Lord Mayor of Manchester. His wife Lady Simon was a politician, feminist and educationalist.
He bought Wythenshawe Hall and donated it to the city in 1926. On the estate a new town was built, named Wythenshawe. With its wide roads and yellow trams it looks like Germany – es sieht aus wie in Deutschland.
In England we don’t explain our street names. I think the Simonsway sign should have information about Ernest Simon so I made a version in Photoshop.
Only a short distance away in West Didsbury are Marie Louise Gardens, given to the city by Mrs Silkenstadt, the widow of a wealthy German merchant, in memory of their daughter.
Die Gardens haben eine besondere Ambiente – the gardens have a special atmosphere, like other parts of West Didsbury. Many German musicians, industrialists and scientists lived here, the name Palatine Road recalls Rhineland-Pfalz, but it’s so called because it links the two palatinates of Lancashire and Cheshire across the river Mersey
The River Irwell has a Germanic name. In German ‘irre’ means ‘crazy’, or meandering. ’Welle’ means wave or water so the ‘Irre Welle’ the ‘crazy wave’ might be the origin of Irwell, though it’s not certain. Anglo-Saxon migrants brought their Germanic language to England from around the 5th century onwards and it eventually became the language I’m speaking now, English.
Die Spuren der deutschen – the traces of German people – can be seen around the conurbation. There is a large German community living in the Manchester area today and some of them attend the Martin-Luther-Kirche in Stretford.
In Stockport there is an intriguing sign on a row of cottages on the A6. Germans buildings. Woher kommt der Name? – Where does the name come from? I would love to know.
In the Edgeley district of Stockport where I grew up, there are streets named after European capitals including Berlin and Vienna. As a child I loved these street names, Berliner Straße und Wiener Straße.
In central Manchester there is an area called Brunswick – the anglicised name for the German city of Braunschweig in North Germany. Brunswick Street runs from Ardwick to Manchester University where it was turned into a park.
Woher kommt der Name? Where does the name come from? Caroline of Brunswick was Queen Caroline, Königin von Großbritannien, Irland und Hannover von 1820 bis 1821. She was Queen of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover from 1820 to 1821. She has a remarkable story I intend to return to.
On Brunswick Street, now Brunswick Park on the Manchester University campus there is the Simon building, named after Henry Simon and the Schuster Building, named after Arthur Schuster, ein Physiker deutscher Abstammung – a physicist of German origin. He was born in Frankfurt in 1851 and became professor of Applied Physics at Manchester University.
Another German physicist was Hans Geiger. Er wurde 1882 in Neustadt an der Haardt geboren – he was born in Neustadt an der Haardt in 1882. He worked with Ernest Rutherford and gave his name to the Geiger Counter. He is not to be confused with the Austrian Kurt Geiger who founded the shop of the same name in London in 1963. There’s a branch in Manchester.
Other German-sounding high street names are Deichmann – der größte Schuhhändler in Europa – the biggest shoe retailer in Europe, founded by Heinrich Deichmann and based in Essen. schuh is a British company founded in 1981 in Scotland. They chose the German spelling for the name of their store.
Remember when you shop at Spar, they are telling you to save. Spar was founded in the Netherlands and the word spar in Dutch and in German means ‘save’.
Not far from Piccadilly Station is Elbe Street – Elbestraße, next to Raven Street – Raabestraße. The street is named after the wide magnificent river Elbe, which flows through Dresden and Hamburg. Elbe Street is neither wide nor magnificent, more Elbegasse than Elbestraße. The origin of the name is a mystery I would like to uncover.
Radium Street in Ancoats was originally called German Street – aber der Name wurde geändert – the name was changed. At the end of the First World War, many references to Germany were erased. The Royal Family changed their name from Saxe-Coburg Gotha to Windsor. Rutherford experimented with Radium at Manchester University and so German Street became Radium Street. I think the name German Street should be revived.
Not far away is Dantzic Street, named after the former German city of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland. The spelling has been anglicised to give the correct pronunciation. The name probably arose from Manchester’s trading links with the Baltic area. I would love to know who chose the name and why.
Der deutsche Einfluss in Manchester ist kaum sichtbar, oft wird er sogar verschwiegen – the German influence in Manchester is mostly invisible and is often hidden, not spoken about.
Dantzic Street crosses Hanover Street. Das Haus Hannover produced five of Britain’s monarchs, from George the 1st to Queen Victoria.
Am Ende der Hannoverstraße – at the end of Hanover Street is Victoria Station where you’ll find a large nineteenth century map of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway. In the far top right are the names of German cities across the North Sea – once called the German Ocean.
Stettin – now Szczecin in Poland, Hamburg and Bremen. In those days you could travel by train to Hull and by ship direct to Germany. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many Jewish people came from Germany and central Europe to Manchester via this route.
They brought their customs, German-sounding names and Yiddish language, which is closely related to German. You can find out more about Jewish-German heritage at the Manchester Jewish Museum.
And at Manchester’s other station, Piccadilly, there are multilingual signs – The one in German says: Willkommen bei Metrolink – welcome to Metrolink. It continues: Fahrkarten sind nicht in der Bahn erhältlich – tickets are not available in the tram – Bitte kaufen Sie Ihre Fahrkarte auf dem Bahnsteig. Please buy your ticket on the platform. Vielen Dank. From here it’s just a short tram ride to the Christmas markets – die Weihnachtsmärkte – held in November and Dezember.
Auf den Weihnachtsmärkten kann man Essen und Trinken aus Deutschland genießen – at the Christmas Markets you can enjoy food and drink from Germany. You can try Bratwust, fried sausage, Bockwurst boiled sausage, deutsches Bier und vielleicht Bratkartoffeln – maybe fried potatoes. The prices are higher than in Germany but you can sample German culture and cuisine right in the heart of Manchester!
There’s plenty of Weihnachtsstimmung – Christmas atmosphere. And did you know the wooden tower with a rotor at the top is called a Weihnachtspyramide, a Christmas pyramid. The Christmas Markets are on St Peters Square and Albert Square, where we began.
And so to the Zusammenfassung…
Der deutsche Einfluss in Manchester ist bedeutend. Im 19. Jahrhundert kamen deutschsprachige Einwanderer nach Manchester. Der Ingenieur Henry Simon revolutionierte die britische Mehlindustrie. Der Musiker Charles Hallé gründete das Hallé Orchester. Friedrich Engels studierte die englische Arbeiterklasse. Es gibt zwar den Albert Square, die Dantzic Street und die Brunswick Street, aber der deutsche Einfluss in Manchester ist kaum sichtbar, oft wird er sogar verschwiegen. Auf den Weihnachtsmärkten kann man Essen und Trinken aus Deutschland genießen.
The German influence in Manchester is significant. In the 19th century German-speaking immigrants came to Manchester. The engineer Henry Simon revolutionised the British flour industry. The musician Charles Hallé founded the Hallé Orchestra. Friedrich Engels studied the English working class. There is Albert Square, Dantzic Street and Brunswick Street, but the German influence is hardly visible. It’s often hidden, not spoken about. At the Christmas markets you can enjoy food and drink from Germany.
If you’re interested in learning German, go to aidan.co.uk/german
Vielen Dank fürs Zuschauen und auf Wiedersehen in Manchester.
At MediaCityUK, you’ll find the studios of the BBC and ITV. The production centre for Coronation Street is located across the Manchester ship canal on the Trafford side, next to the Imperial War Museum with its crazy metallic fragmented shell.
The Lowry is a centre for art and performance and is also housed within in a shiny metallic structure full of strident angles, shapes and colours. The Lowry Outlet is a stylish shopping mall where you can buy discounted clothes and many other items. There’s a food court and a cinema there too.
Countless offices and apartments have been built all across Salford Quays. There are four impressive bridges two old and two new. Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground is very close. Manchester city centre is a 20 minute tram ride away.
I remember visiting the Manchester Docks as a child. It was exciting to see ocean-going ships floating on the water so close to the heart of the city. I once went with my mother to visit a Royal Navy submarine named Grampus. It was docked close to where the Millennium lift bridge is now.
A few years later, containerisation and the growth in the size of ships made the Docks redundant. By the early 80s, the area was mostly derelict and unused. But people at Salford City Council devised a plan. It has taken many years to bring that plan to reality and the development is still ongoing but I’m sure if the dockers and crews of the past could look into the future and see what’s there today, they would be astonished.
Just a quick note about place names, which can be confusing in this part of the world. Unlike other major cities, whose boroughs form one unit – I’m thinking of London, Berlin, New York and many others – the Manchester conurbation is divided up among a number of local authorities. Salford is a separate city and sees itself as having a strong identity that’s separate to Manchester.
The Manchester Docks were not located inside the City of Manchester – apart from a small section – but inside the City of Salford. The name of the conurbation is known as Manchester, or Greater Manchester and they were referred to as the Manchester Docks. Visitors often find the geography of the local area quite difficult to understand!
And the confusion continues: The area we think of as Salford Quays is actually split between Salford on the north side of the water and Trafford on the south side. For this reason the name ‘The Quays’ has been introduced as a unifying identity. The trouble with this name is that it has no place identifier. If you type ‘The Quays’ into a search engine, you may well stumble on other locations, for instance a shopping centre of that name in Newry, Northern Ireland.
There are other controversies. Not everyone is keen on the strident and outlandish designs of the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum. Others say the architecture of MediaCityUK is too bland and not adventurous enough.
There is a sentiment within Salford that Salford Quays has received the lion’s share of local funding, to the detriment of poorer areas. I’m not going to go into that controversy here, I will just approach Salford Quays from the point of view of a visual artist, with an eye on its history. And in Salford Quays I can find plenty of visually arresting scenes that demand to be captured. I’ve done this mostly through the medium of photography but I’ve also completed one drawing so far and hope to do more.
A major reason to visit Salford Quays is to see the paintings of LS Lowry, which are on display in the Lowry. His work should be an inspiration to everyone.
My Salford Quays e-book brings together around 30 of my best photos of Salford Quays mostly taken from around 2000 onwards. The cover photo shows the Lowry in early 2002, around the time it was completed, with no buildings around it . At that time it was possible to see the complete outline of the structure. Since then, more buildings have appeared all around, and new ones are under construction today.
I only have a couple of images from the eighties, both taken on Trafford Road Bridge, one of the bridge itself and one of the view along the canal before any of the development started.
I was at the opening of the Lowry in 2002 and managed to capture the view of the shiny new building from the top of the car park. Now there is an office development on the site next to the car park. It’s nice when there is open space to photograph buildings, but you have to act quickly. Things change quickly in this part of the world.
I love seeing the Mersey Ferry arriving in Salford Quays after its journey from Liverpool. I’ve done the six hour Manchester Ship Canal Cruise from Salford to Liverpool twice and I have to say it’s stunning.
I really wish there were more ships on the water in Salford Quays. It’s much quieter than the Thames. HMS Bronington was previously moored on Trafford Wharf, as well as the theatre ship Fitzcarraldo but they have both since moved on.
The WAXI water taxi is the only regular passenger service operating on the canal. I went on a tour to the city centre and back and it was a great experience to see the Quays, bridges and the area along the water from new angles.
On most stretches of lakes and waterways around Manchester and Salford, waterfowl are in residence and they often add an attractive element to photographs. Humans can also be seen on the water. Rowers from the watersports centre often do their training there and occasionally there are swimming events.
MediaCityUK appeared later years on the northern side of Salford Quays, when the studios of both the BBC and ITV migrated here from the city centre. The view of MediaCityUK from the Lowry is great, especially on a sunny day when the water is still. It can appear as smooth as a piece of glass.
I love to take the tram from the city centre. There are amazing panoramic views all the way from Deansgate-Castlefield to MediaCityUK.
I’ve selected a small number of my best photos for this e-book, which I’m giving away in order to showcase my photos and provide some information about this very interesting and photogenic area.
Feel free to pass on the link to anyone else who might be interested. If you like the photos, please post a comment on social media or e-mail me directly.
1. Take your photography to a higher level
That’s the main reason people come on the Photo Walk in Liverpool and in Manchester – to improve their photography and most people find they learn new things that help them to take better photos than before. In a few hours I will share a large amount of information. If you’re a beginner you will probably learn a lot. If you’re more experienced, you can demonstrate your knowledge ‘peer-to-peer’ and you might find my approach to some aspects of photography different and refreshing.
2. Gain new and striking insights into Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO
I’ve developed a different and unique approach to learning about Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, the three fundamental aspects photographic exposure. You will learn about and practice my simple but groundbreaking step-by-step method to adjust the camera and learn what happens when you adjust the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. This simple principle is often neglected by tutors and photography books. They seem to think it’s ‘not necessary’ as ‘modern cameras take care of all that stuff for you’. No! It’s essential knowledge for everyone, just like the ABC is to reading and writing and the times tables are to mathematics.
3. Receive a copy of my Exposure Crib Card.
I will give each person who comes on the walk a copy of my ‘should-be-patented’ photographic exposure crib card. It brings together all the numbers associated with the three main parameters of adjustment found on all cameras and photographic devices: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. By referring to the card, you will gain a much better understanding of this subject and you’ll discover that in essence, it’s very simple, but is made more confusing by the different sets of numbers.
4. Ask questions about anything you like.
I never quite know what questions people are going to ask me. Luckily I am able to answer most of them, but some questions – such as how to find a certain feature on the camera – can be difficult to find an answer for. On some cameras, features are found in obscure places, or in they end, they may lack this feature. I’m able to answer most questions and if I can’t, I’ll refer you to a place where you can get the information! I don’t pretend to be an expert user of all cameras and 100% familiar with the most obscure features. I have a thorough knowledge of the basic features of all cameras and for the more obscure ones, I’m not afraid to look on my iPhone for the answer!
5. Learn other important things like Exposure Compensation.
What’s the next most important feature on the camera, after Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and perhaps the shutter button (which actually triggers three different things, I’ll tell you what they are) – It’s Exposure Compensation, a feature that many people are not aware of. Certain auto modes don’t allow you to control Exposure Compensation, which I find surprising. It’s one of the most essential features on the camera and I use it all the time. We will carry out exercises to try out this and other features on your camera.
6. Learn surprising things about your camera.
Many people are suprised to discover what Exposure Compensation can do, and there are other features you may not be aware of, buttons on the exterior whose purpose you weren’t sure of, items on the menu you didn’t know exist. We don’t have time to go through all menu items in detail, but often I’m able to point out features that are not obvious. For instance, on Nikon cameras, how to switch on more display screens, so you can find out more information about the photos you have taken.
7. See different types of camera, some unusual.
I may bring along a more unusual type of camera to show you – for instance my Fujifilm W3 stereoscopic camera. Most are amazed at the 3D stereo effect. Many have never seen it before. I may bring along a film camera, which is useful for showing the aperture mechanism and how it opens and closes. I also get to see different types of cameras which people bring along on the walk, something I find very interesting.
8. Gain constructive feedback about your photos.
One of the most important reasons to take part in the Photo Walk is to gain positive feedback on your photographs, when I look at them on the back of the camera. I look for positive aspects and will give praise where praise is due. I will also pick out things that could be improved – for instance ‘The photo is leaning half a degree to the right!’ I am very keen on exact horizontal and vertical alignment, perhaps too keen! When you’re taking photos, it can be valuable to have the feedback of someone experienced, who can give thoughtful and supportive commentary. For those using film cameras (actually, very few) it’s not possible for me to comment on the walk, but you can e-mail me copies of your photos after the walk and I will comment on them.
9. Find out a little about the history of the city.
I am also quite knowledgeable about the history of the city and the buildings we will look at, in both Manchester and Liverpool. I include a lot of information for instance about the style of architecture, the architect and how the city looked in past times. If you go into a bookstore or art gallery shop, you might find books featuring my photos: Manchester Then and Now and Liverpool Then and Now, not to mention Glasgow Then and Now and Birmingham Then and Now, if you happen to be in those cities.
10. Receive copies of tip sheets on photography.
In addition to the photography crib card, I give all people who come on the walk printouts of a few of my photography tip sheets, such as ‘Tips on Taking Better Photos’ or ‘Tips on taking dusk to night city photos’ or maybe ‘Tips on taking better portraits’. These tips sheets only take a minute or so to read but sum up important aspects of photography in the style of a checklist. I only give copies of my tip sheets to my students or people who support me on Patreon.
11. Go home with some good photos.
We will take test shots to try out the camera, but it’s also important for people to go home with some memorable and well-composed photos. That’s what photography is all about! If the weather is cloudy, it may not be possible to take the best photographs of buildings, but there are other types of photo we can take, which may be more suited to cloudy or rainy weather. I try to pick out each person’s ‘star photo of the day’ and if it’s particularly good, I might ask you to e-mail me a copy. I hope you’ll be able to do something with the photos you’ve taken, such as posting on social media, inclusion in your portfolio or you could even print it out and frame it!
There’s more information on the Manchester Photo Walk and Liverpool Photo Walk pages. To book, simply get in touch. You can either come on a scheduled walk or arrange a bespoke walk. It’s also possible to give the walk as a birthday or Christmas present. I will e-mail you a personalised letter which you can give to the person as a gift.
I’m a coach in languages and so I am keen to explore languages – especially German. I want to provide useful content for a wide audience on issues concerning the UK and Germany.
Following a suggestion from a colleague, I decided to look at the question of the UK’s National Health Service and how it compares to the health system in Germany.
I’m giving a very brief overview of a complex subject. I’m going to give some personal opinions as well as general information based on my research. There are some statistics as well. I’ve tried to ensure everything is factually correct, though some information may go out of date.
Which health system is better? The British NHS or the German healthcare system?
It’s complicated! So let’s look at some key facts, and by the way I’m going to give some useful words and phrases in German later.
OK, so what is the fundamental difference between the UK system and the German system?
The UK NHS is owned and run by the state and it’s free at the point of use.
The German system is mostly free at the point of use but it’s paid for through contributions to a health insurance scheme that’s closely regulated by the state.
In Germany people pay for the health system by paying social insurance contributions into a health fund – Gesundheitsfonds . The money then goes into a Krankenkasse or health insurance ‘pot’. The money is taken directly from salaries and the employer also contributes 50%.
In the UK, the money to support the health system is provided by the government, mostly through general taxation.
The NHS was launched in 1948 at what was then Park Hospital in Urmston near Manchester. Today it’s Trafford General Hospital. A blue plaque commemorates the launch.
British people are proud of their NHS and often compare it unfavourably to the US system. They like the fact that it’s free, unlike the American system which relies mostly on private health insurance.
Aneurin Bevan – he was from Wales and that’s a Welsh name – was Labour health minister and he is credited as the father of the NHS. A statue of him is in the centre of Cardiff, on Queen Street.
The UK system is more like the old East German system and that’s not a criticism. The East German health system provided a good, basic service, though without the expensive equipment found in the West.
After the end of Communism – nach der Wende – the West German system was introduced into the East.
The German system goes back to the late 19th century, when under Otto von Bismarck, Germany pioneered the welfare state.
This system is still in use today. Krankenkassen are non-profit making organisations, that are governed by strict regulations.
The biggest state-run Krankenkasse is the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse. There are many private Krankenkassen offering a range of packages at different contribution levels.
You are required by law to pay into a Krankenkasse. You can see it on your pay slip. If you earn above a certain amount, you can insure yourself with a private Krankenkasse. Many cater for specific professions.
In the UK, the National Health Service is paid for by the government. The amount paid by the government varies depending on which political party is in power, whether Labour or Conservatives or a coalition.
Statistics indicate that the NHS received considerably more money under Labour governments than the Conservatives, though the Conservatives dispute this.
It’s important to note that the UK also has a private healthcare system which people can gain access to by paying for private health insurance. People also receive private healthcare as a benefit or ‘perk’ of their job.
So in theory, whether you are in Germany or in the UK, if you have a higher income and/or a better job, you can get better healthcare by paying more. To what extent that is true lies outside the scope of this essay!
The NHS has had a funding crisis for many years – German system is not perfect but it’s well-funded.
Due to Brexit, the NHS has a serious staffing crisis and it’s getting worse. Many staff have left and fewer people than before are being recruited from the rest of Europe. A no deal Brexit would be very bad for the NHS for many reasons.
How much do both countries spend on health? Germany spends 11.1% on health care, the UK, 9.8%.
Which hospitals are reputed to be the best in the UK and in Germany? I don’t think it’s possible to give a reliable answer to that question, but here are are some well-known ones: in the UK, Guys Hospital in London is famous, also Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, The Christie in Manchester and more.
In Germany the Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, the Charité in Berlin, Asklepios Klinik Barmbek – Hamburg and the Uniklinikum in Köln are all highly regarded.
What are the practical differences between UK and German hospitals? To find this out, I went for a walk around a few hospitals in the UK and in Germany.
One thing I noticed walking around the Uniklinik in Cologne is that each department or unit functions as an independent practice – eine Praxis . I saw a children’s emergency Praxis behind the main building.
In the UK most departments and units display the NHS logo. Services based around for instance, a hospital or the local ambulance service are organised as an NHS trust. This arrangement is intended to provide more autonomous control. Some medical services are provided to the NHS by outside companies, for instance Fresenius, a German-based company.
At UK hospitals you’ll see adverts for fundraising – which is often needed to pay for basic hospital equipment, such as scanners.
In Germany you just don’t see this, pretty much all main medical services in Germany are fully funded.
This is especially true of hospices. St Ann’s Hospice near Manchester receives just over a third of its funding from the NHS. That means it needs to raise around £20,000 every day just to keep the hospice running.
They organise glamorous celebrity dinners, midnight runs and many other fun events. They operate charity shops as well, but is it right that a facility providing a basic healthcare service needs to do this to raise money?
In Germany hospices are fully funded.
Here are some more differences I found:
The emergency ambulances in Germany have a two-tone sound, but in the UK, they have an oscillating tone. The German siren is called the Martinshorn, named after the company that makes it.
In the UK the emergeny ambulances are yellow and green and in Germany they’re red, like the trains. In both countries you often see the same basic vehicle, the Mercedes Sprinter.
On the side of the ambulance in the UK, you’ll see the emergency number 999 and you can dial 111 for non-emergency medical issues and advice.
In Germany and other mainland European countries, the emergency number for fire brigade and ambulance is 112. The 112 number also works in the UK and on any GSM phone anywhere in the world.
In recent years, smaller hospitals have closed and their services, including A&E have transferred to larger single-site hospitals.
This means ambulances have a longer distance to go than before. I hear many ambulances passing every day in the UK but when I’m in Germany, I seem to hear fewer? Is that really the case? I’m not sure.
Parking at hospitals is an important issue. At German hospitals, it’s generally free for a period, then there’s a charge.
This is also the case in Britain, though some have very expensive charges, for instance Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport.
If you are a citizen of another EU state visiting Germany, you can receive healthcare on the same basis as German nationals
Thanks to the UK’s membership of the EU, citizens from other EU nations are treated for free by the NHS – or more exactly, the NHS charges the cost of the treatment to the home country.
And UK citizens travelling in the rest of Europe can receive treatment on the same basis as nationals. It’s not necessary to take out medical insurance, as you do when travelling to the United States, for instance.
I once had a bike accident in Germany, and I was given first class treatment at the local hospital. The bill of 233,50 Deutsche Mark was charged to the UK and I didn’t have to pay anything.
If you’re from the UK and are unfortunate enough to suffer illness or an accident in Germany you’ll be able to gain first hand experience of healthcare in Germany and so you’ll be better able to answer the question of which has the better system, the UK or Germany.
But before I come to that question, I’m going to give you a short German language lesson.
What do doctors ask you when you go and see them?
Doctors in the English speaking world say ‘What seems to be the problem?’ or ‘What can I do for you?’ or maybe ‘How can I help you?’
German speaking doctors might ask you ‘Was fehlt Ihnen?’ – What’s wrong with you, literally what’s missing from you? Also ‘Was kann ich für Sie tun?’, What can I do for you? or maybe ‘Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?’ – How can I help you?
Let’s look at a few complaints
Ich habe Kopfschmerzen. – I have a headache.
Ich habe Halsschmerzen. – I have a sore throat.
Ich habe Magenschmerzen. – I have a stomach ache.
If the pain is coming from your hand, foot or leg you can say ‘tut mir weh’ – (it) hurts
Meine Hand tut mir weh.
Mein Fuß tut mir weh.
Mein Bein tut mir weh.
For other parts of the body, consult a good dictionary!
If there’s been an accident and you need to phone 112 you can say:
Es gab einen Unfall. – There’s been an accident.
Es gibt Verletzte. – There are injured people.
Okay, so let’s get back to the important question: Which system is better, the UK healthcare system or the German health system?
In doing my research I found an interesting video on the BBC website (link below) with some interesting information:
- Waiting times for operations are shorter in Germany, typically three to four weeks in Germany.In England most people wait 22 months for orthopaedic operations.
- Germany has three doctors per 1000 population, but the UK has two.
- Germany has three times as many hospital beds compared to the UK.
- Germany spends 11.1% of its GDP on health, Britain 9.8%.
- Most Germans pay 7% of their income for healthcare. Their employer pays the same.
Most people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the German healthcare system say it offers a higher standard of service. But people in Germany have to pay for their system directly out of their salary. Some pay many hundreds of euro each month.
The British healthcare system provides a good system too, and though people don’t pay contributions directly towards the health system, the NHS is paid for through taxation and a share of National Insurance contributions.
Despite its current difficulties, the majority of people in Britain are proud of their health service and they appreciate the work done by medical professionals at all levels. By and large they still support the original idea of the NHS, that is, to provide free universal healthcare and most people are reluctant to move towards a US-style system.
So that’s it, a quick, hopefully informative and maybe entertaining overview of a very complex subject. I hope it will arouse your curiosity and encourage you to look for more detailed information online.
If you’re interested in learning German, go to www.aidan.co.uk/german/.
If you’re visiting Germany, I wish you gute Reise! and if you’ve visiting the UK, enjoy your trip. And to all EU nationals visiting another EU country, don’t forget to bring your EHIC card!
Here’s the link to the BBC video I found.
I made this video in May 2019 and it’s a milestone as it’s the first medium-length video (around 9 minutes) I’ve made shooting and editing on the iPhone 8 Plus. On this page I present the video script as a blog post. There have been some changes since I made the video, listed at the end.
We’re going to go around the Manchester Airport Orbital Cycleway. This is our starting point, one mile east of the terminal. This is our mode of transport, an electric bike and we’re going to head West olong the A555 Manchester Airport Link Road.
We’ll be stopping along the route at places where you can watch and photograph or video the planes.
Here by the northern perimeter on Ringway road and Shadowmoss Road we are right underneath the final approach path.
I came here as a child and wished I lived in one of those houses. They were demolished in recent years for safety reasons this is the scene today.
The name Shadowmoss Road makes me think of the Shadowmoss air crash in 1957, when a BEA Viscount crashed into a row of houses. It’s Manchester’s forgotten air disaster.
Today there are more than 500 aircraft movements per day. Planes have reached a high level of sophistication and safety.
The planes land from the north east and take off towards the south west. When the wind is from the east they take off towards the north east.
The Airport Hotel on Ringway Road is a pub with a garden at the back, which has great views of the planes taking off, but be careful, parking is restricted. Here’s my photo of an Aer Lingus Airbus 320 taken in 2007.
Next to Terminal three you can see the planes through the fence. It’s too narrow for a DSLR lens but the iPhone lens is so tiny it can peep through the wire netting.
Terminal 3 has no public viewing facilities, and please note, there’s a charge to drop off in front of the terminal. Better to use the free drop off point, from where there are free buses to the terminals.
This is the only part of the original 1962 terminal building still visible. The air traffic controllers moved to a new control tower in 2013. I came here is the child and went on to the viewing terraces where I took this photograph and included it in a school project. The terraces were closed due to increasing security threats.
In 1981 I worked at Manchester Airport on the Information Desk and got to know the airport quite well. It was a great job.
The airport grew and grew, and today arriving passengers are welcomed by the sight of a multistorey car park. But a new terminal is planned. The remains of the old one will disappear.
The Radisson Blu hotel is an impressive building, with great views from the business class lounge at the top. And just nearby, beyond the hedge, a taste of the exotic, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner of Ethiopian airways.
This is the station, bringing together trains, trams and buses. The Skylink leads to terminals one and three. It has moving walkways that are not always working!
This part of the Skylink goes to Terminal 2, which is currently being extended as part of the airport’s one billion pound expansion plan. The drop off point is now further away from the terminal building and there’s a three pound charge. Best to use the free drop off point.
This is the interior of Terminal 2. Soon it will be much bigger and will become the main terminal of the airport and it’s set for completion in 2020.
When I worked at Manchester Airport, this area was just empty fields.
But just a few feet away from all this construction, an old timber-framed house that was here centuries before the airport appeared.
We continue along the lane to the south west of the airport and there’s an amusing road sign and we are at the World Freigh Terminal on the west side of the airport. We can see the new control tower which opened in 2013.
Close to here the Romper pub in Ringway. For many years the airport was called Ringway, a name which goes back the middle ages and before. Strange that the name Ringway is similar to the word ‘runway’. This is Ringway Chapel now the Ringway Life Centre. The name ‘Ringway’ always reminded me of the ringing sound of the turboprop engines of the planes.
Further along Wilmslow old Road is Runway visitor park. A Trident and a Nimrod are on display, Concorde is in its own building. Book in advance to visit. Here’s my photo of Concorde on its final journey on 22 Oct, 2003, taken from the viewing park. The viewing park is fairly close to the runways and taxiways and the views are quite good. Entry is free to people on foot and by bike but car drivers pay a hefty parking charge. The upmarket PremiAir private terminal is located directly in front of the viewing area.
We’ll move on from Runway Visitor Park and onto the A538 towards Wilmslow, passing a brand new petrol station. Using the shared pedestrian and cycle path head towards the tunnel under the south west end of the airport. While I was working at the Airport I had a Trumph Spitfire, my first car and it ran out of petrol at this spot!
We are between the old tunnel and the new tunnel which passes under the second runway. If we’re lucky we might see a plane taking off but not at the moment. We continue through the new tunnel to the roundabout by the River Bollin and this spot always reminds me of the 2nd Runway protestors who camped out in the trees near here.
The old Altrincham Road was closed when the second runway was built but we can continue through the National Trust property. The airport is just beyond the trees and soon we are riding along the path next to the perimeter fence and here we can stop to watch the planes.
We can see the Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner about to take off for Addis Ababa. Here are a few of my archive photos taken from this viewpoint. The BMI A330. BMI sadly finished in 2019. And American Airlines Boeing 767 in the old livery, the Virgin Atlantic 747, and today still operating, same livery, but with a different font!
The big crowd-puller is the Emirates A380, with two arrivals and departures every day. Please note, this viewing area is not approved by the National Trust. In fact there was an interesting sign which has long since disappeared. My photo of it is on my Patreon blog.
And now we’re back on the orbital cycleway by the perimiter fence, looking over towards the 2013 control tower and an easyJet Airbus. We continue along the old Altrincham Road. It’s semi-rural with farms and houses now on both sides.
Let’s go down this narrow footpath and what do we find? A field with horses, providing an idyllic sunset scene, just a stone’s throw from the busy airport. We’d better continue, there’s still plenty of power in the battery and after passing an emergency gate, it’s the Manchester Airport mockup aircraft used for fire training.
Now we’re on the home stretch heading towards Styal Road, where we turn left and soon we are back at our starting point. We’ve covered a distance of around 7.5 miles.
The video was captured mostly on the iPhone and I also used a Panasonic TZ70. The video was entirely edited on the iPhone and it’s an iPhone 8 Plus. If you found this video interesting, then please like it and please post a comment, hit the bell button for notifications and most importantly, please subscribe – I have two channels – This one aidanorourke for my photo and video projects and my other channel AidanExplorer, exploring Europe and the world through languages.
We’ll finish with a sunset captured here a few weeks ago.
1. My sole active YouTube Channel is now the www.youtube.com/aidanorourke where this video is posted.
2. Virgin Atlantic have permanently withdrawn their Boeing 747s.
3. My Connect folding electric bike, shall we say, has reached the end of its service life and I now use a non-electric Brompton B75 folding bike.
4. The coronavirus crisis of early to mid 2020 almost completely shut down Manchester and other airports – watch my short video at the end. By mid 2020 it was starting to recover.
5. I am not updating my Patreon page, though it remains active.
6. The German version of this video is in preparation.
I’ve been interested in the history of Manchester for many years and as a full time coach in German, I’m very interested in the German influence in Manchester. One of the most famous emigré Germans who lived in Manchester was Friedrich Engels and I wanted to find out more about him.
After a search online, I found the Engels walking tour, organised by New Manchester Walks, founded by tour guide and writer Ed Glinert.
We met by the statue of Friedrich Engels outside the HOME arts centre, in the south of Manchester city centre. The statue is unique because it originated in Ukraine and was brought to Manchester by artist Phil Collins (not the singer!) in 2017. It’s an old Soviet-era statue of which thousands were put up all over the Communist bloc. After the fall of Communism, most ended up on rubbish tips, but this one was saved.
This location is appropriate because close to here was the area known as Little Ireland, which in the 19th century had some of the worst poverty in the UK. Friedrich Engels used to walk around this area, observing the terrible living conditions of the poor at that time.
One very interesting fact I learned was that he was accompanied by his Irish companion, Mary Burns. He was in a relationship with her and they were not married, something which the wife of Karl Marx found scandalous.
Friedrich Engels was born in the town of Barmen, now part of Wuppertal, on 7 June 1835. He came into Manchester to work in the factory of his father, Friedrich Engels Senior. He had already been interested in radical politics and it was hoped that working in England would cure him of his radicalism. Instead he became even more committed to radical politics, and went on to write one of the most politically influential books of all time.
He first came to Manchester in 1842 and spent various periods in the city, finally departing for London in 1869, aged 49. His book, Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England, was published in Leipzig in 1845 but didn’t appear in English until 1887 in New York and 1892 in London.
Here are some of the locations we went to along the route which took us from HOME in the south of the city centre to Victoria Station in the north.
One of the most interesting places was the site of the Peterloo Massacre near to what is now Manchester Central and not far from the Free Trade Hall. The Peterloo Massacre took place on 16 August 1819, a long time before Engels arrived, but the event was a milestone in the social and political development of nineteenth century Britain.
Ed Glinert explained very well the complexities and self-contradictions of the politics at that time – the Prussian spies, the cotton barons, the anti-Corn Law League, the reformers, the upper classes, the middle classes and why the Tree of Liberty was found only in Scotland and not in England.
Another interesting location was the Abercrombie pub, the only surviving building from the time of the Peterloo Massacre. Footballers Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville had planned to demolish the pub as part of their hotel development on the adjacent site, but after a public outcry, the pub was saved. One frustrating aspect of a tour like this is the fact that most of the locations have been demolished, either recently or in the nineteenth century.
Ed frequently read quotations from the writings of Engels, some on the subject of alcohol consumption in Manchester, a big problem then, as now!
Another interesting location was the site of the offices of the company Ermen and Engels, where Engels worked. The address is number 7, Southgate, which is at the back of the department store now called House of Fraser, but still known by many local people as Kendals.
Inside the huge Royal Exchange Theatre lobby, we were able to sit down for a while. There we learned about the Cotton Exchange and the importance of Manchester in the world cotton trade.
It was interesting to find out about some of the incorrect information that circulates about Friedrich Engels. We learned that the Communist Manifesto wasn’t written in Chetham’s Library, but somewhere else!
We stopped by the entrance to Chetham’s Library. It is well known that Friedrich Engels studied at the table next to the stained-glass window. Ed quoted an excerpt in which he expressed his preference for this location, which I’ll be visiting in preparation for my video, The Power of Libraries – die Kraft der Bibliotheken.
We concluded the walk in another appropriate location: Victoria Station, which was built on the site of a burial ground where thousands of the poor people of Manchester were laid to rest.
Friedrich Engels died in London on 5 August 1895 and his ashes were scattered off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne.
It’s amazing how you find out new things about a familiar place, when you go on a walking tour like this. There are plenty of new topics and places to explore right on your doorstep!
For more information about the Friedrich Engels walking tour just do a search for new Manchester Walks and Friedrich Engels Tour or go to the page on New Manchester Walks website.
I’ve chosen 60 great places to visit in the Manchester area. Here I present them in 120 seconds. I aim to attract people from outside the area and encourage those from inside the area to go out and explore.
- Manchester Town Hall
- Manchester Central
- Palace Theatre
- Band on the Wall
- MediaCityUK Salford Quays
- The Manchester Apollo
- Manchester Airport Runway Viewing Park
- Manchester Arndale shopping centre
- Ashton Market
- Manchester Cathedral
- The Manchester Bees #beeinthecity
- Manchester Art Gallery
- Fog Lane Park
- The Transport Museum
- Canal Street
- The Manchester Jewish Museum
- Bruntwood Park, Cheadle
- Cheetham Hill Road
- Chinatown Manchester
- Clayton Hall
- Heaton Hall
- Tatton Hall
- The Curry Mile
- Didsbury village
- Fletcher Moss Park
- Chetham’s Library
- The John Rylands Library
- The Portico Library
- The Central Library
- The Museum of Science and Industry
- Liverpool Rd railway station (MOSI)
- The Baby Computer (MOSI)
- London Road Fire Station
- Oldham Street
- The Opera House
- Platt Hall
- The Peveril of the Peak
- The Greater Manchester Police Museum
- The Printworks
- The Victoria Baths
- Wythenshawe Hall
- The Museum of the Manchester, Ashton
- Wythenshawe Forum
- The Whitworth Art Gallery
- The East Lancashire Railway
- Platt Fields Park
- The Octagon Theatre Bolton
- The Trafford Centre
- Tandle Hill Woods
- Lyme Hall
- Crime Lake
- Ordsall hall
- Beech Road Chorlton
- Rochdale Town Hall
- The National Football Museum, Urbis
- The Bridgewater Hall
- Afflecks Palace
- Market Street
- The Christmas Markets
- The view from Werneth Low
Jon Parker-Lee has been active as a photographer in Manchester since 1993. An exhibition in November/December 2013 at the basement venue 2022 in Manchester’s Northern Quarter celebrated his 20 years in the photography business.
I attended the opening night and was very impressed with the variety, style and high technical quality of the photographs. He told me he had picked them at random using a pin, but to me these photos look like they have been carefully chosen.
I’ve singled out ten of them and I’ve written something about each one. Hopefully this will inspire photography students to learn from Jon’s work and to go out, experiment and develop a style of their own.
As I often say ‘try to capture the intrinsic quality of the subject’ and the here, the portrait of the late Seamus Heaney seems to do just that. The poet stares with narrow eyes into the camera, white haired and dressed in a suit and tie. He has gravitas, and the photo reflects that, with its dramatic lighting from the upper right, casting deep shadows.
Attention is concentrated on the face by the use of a wide aperture – the camera was set to f/1.4 – throwing the background out of focus. The wide aperture is probably essential as the light is low, and the background is almost, but not quite black. It’s just a series of blurred shapes that could be a wall or a wooden cabinet. The setting is Manchester University.
A similar attitude towards space can be seen in the portrait of the author Martin Amis. He stands on the left with a serious expression, set against a striped wooden background. The light is coming from the right, casting deep shadows to the left. The picture is not very sharp. The aperture was f/1.4. Only the eyes are in focus. As no flash was used, there are no catch lights in the eyes, giving an enigmatic quality.
The photo of the Miliband brothers at the Labour Party conference was taken under difficult circumstances. This was just after the moment when he was voted party leader. The photographer had to act quickly in order to be in the right position to get the shot. There was no time for composition or lighting but the photo still catches something very important. The hands seem more expressive than the faces. To capture an image like this you have to be able to move quickly and you must be on top of the technical side of photography. The aperture was f/4 and shutter speed 1/80th of a second.
To record the essence of the subject you often have to capture the essence of their working environment. Jon photographed music stars Amadou and Mariam at the New Century Hall before their Concert in the Dark at the Manchester International Festival in 2009. Jon has depicted them small in the frame, placed against an almost totally black background. Only a small amount of light shines on them. They are both wearing dark glasses, and most of the picture is black. A paparazzi style photo taken outside the venue with a flash would not have captured the essence of the subject, as this image does.
The photo of the lead actor in the Manchester Passion play 2007 was also taken under difficult circumstances. It was near the end of the rehearsal, actor and crew were tired, but the photo is still very successful. The subject is illuminated from above by flash and the crucifix behind ls lit up from inside, providing some rim lighting on his hair and shirt. Again John has placed the subject off centre, and look how the left hand side of the head is placed midway over the left hand side of the crucifix. Even with a shot taken in the space of a couple of seconds, composition is all important. There is just about the right amount of light falling on the ground. The control of light in this image is very good indeed.
The George Best tribute image from 2005 shows the potential of ‘a photo within the photo’ but what really gives the image a lot of power is the use of diagonal shadows at the top and the bottom. The piece of chewing gum – or is it a squashed piece of Blu-Tack – is in keeping with the improvised nature of the subject.
I’ve picked out the photo of Gill Wright, project manager at Victoria Baths, because I know her. e setting is actually quite untypical of the Baths, as the changing cabins don’t normally look like this. A single light is set up inside a cubicle in the main pool. Gill sits inside, maybe a little self-consciously, with a smile on her face. She is very slightly off centre which could be said to break the rules of composition. Actually they are not rules, they’re guidelines. Overall, the image works well.
I love the photo of road markings on the Mancunian Way from 2004. This is the closest subject matter to mine. The viewpoint is from above, making the road look like a wall and turning the letters into graffiti lit up by the orange street lamps. The line on the right looks like an exclamation mark without the dot. Without doubt, a strong statement about Manchester.
The vigil to remember the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is lit by just a few candles and little else. John has managed to achieve a picture that is sharp and without any blur due to movement. There is just the right amount of lighting on the faces of the three people in the foreground, including Neville Ball and Betty Tebbs. In terms of composition, they make three points of a triangle. Betty Tebbs, who is wearing the anti-nuclear necklace, is the central focus of the image. A point-and-shoot photographer would probably have just used flash. This photograph shows why you often have to use available light to capture the true essence of a scene. It is not easy to achieve, but Jon has managed it here.
So those are my thoughts. If you’re serious about photography there is no substitute for going along to an exhibition and studying top quality framed prints by a skilled, experienced and imaginative photographer – like Jon Parker-Lee! The exhibition finished in early December 2013, but you can keep up to date with Jon Parker Lee by going to his website www.jonparkerlee.com.
Ian Wylie @ianwylie London
@AidanEyewitness Thanks Aidan. Great photos enhanced by really interesting comments.
This is the first in a series of video slide show presentations on the theme of ‘Before & After’. From my archive, I have selected photographs of buildings and locations in Manchester and photographed how the same scene looked a few years later. The changes are the result of demolition, restoration, new construction.
Locations featured in this slide show include the Hacienda night club on Whitworth Street, the Rochdale Canal, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Piccadilly Basin and the Whitworth Art gallery.
I’ve tried to match up the viewpoint as closely as I can, but it’s not always possible.
‘Then and now’ is one of my central themes as someone who is interested in the local area and how it is changing. I’ve done the ‘now’ photos for several ‘Then and Now’ books, including Manchester and Liverpool.
I have taken a large number of photographs since 1996 and what I find visually fascinating is how places change, often in unexpected ways. In some cases, locations become worse, not better. I have campaigned to save buildings under threat and prevent bad construction, with mixed success.
I have written subtitles in both English and German. This is because my main activity is now language trainer and I want to provide clear German language material for my students based locally, as well as English material for people in Germany and beyond. I often give local tours to people from other parts of Europe, including Germany.
Please comment via my @AidanEyewitness Twitter account.
What’s Stockport famous for? It’s the last stop on the West Coast line from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, it’s seven miles south east of the city centre and it’s my home town! But what else is it famous for? Oh yes, it’s the home of a groundbreaking recording studio that existed from 1967 to 1993, Strawberry Studios.
So what made Strawberry Studios different? The first thing is that it wasn’t in London. The music industry has been mostly based in London – it still is. But in the mid-sixties, a visionary group of people wanted to set up a studio in the north.
The driving force was Peter Tattersall and Eric Stewart. It was named after Eric’s favourite song, Strawberry Field, which was released in 1967.
It originally started in another location but moved to an industrial building on Waterloo Road in 1968. Incidentally this is just by the location of the Stockport air disaster of 1967.
They wanted to provide a recording facility to match those in London, but close to Manchester. They offered cheaper rates at night so that local bands could afford to record there. They made full use of the latest recording technology.
The band 10cc were closely involved in the studios and they recorded many classic songs there, the most famous of which is “I’m Not In Love”, which featured groundbreaking use of tape loops to create rich layered vocals. It was a number one UK hit in 1975 and reached number two in the US. Many other artists recorded at Strawberry, including Paul McCartney, Neil Sedaka, the Bay City Rollers and most notably, Joy Division.
Despite the success of I’m Not In Love, 10cc split in 1976, continuing as two separate entities. The studio sadly closed in 1993, but the name survives both as a legend of music and as the name of the building.
In the seventies I lived just 10 minutes from Strawberry Studios and though I was active in music in the eighties, I never had any involvement there. The achievements of 10cc and Strawberry Studios are a source of local pride in Stockport and so in the year of the 50th anniversary of the setting up of the studio, it was natural that there should be a commemoration and exhibition.
It opened on 27 January, 2017 and though I couldn’t make the opening, I attended in late February. It’s housed in Staircase House in Stockport’s historic Market Place. The house contains exhibits about the history of Stockport on five levels and I can highly recommend it.
For me, the high point of my visit was entering the 10cc exhibition in the basement exhibition area. The two adjoining rooms are packed with many fascinating objects, musical instruments, photographs, videos and audio recordings.
Eric Stewart’s Gibson ES 335 semi-acoustic guitar is proudly placed in a display cabinet. The guitar was used on all four 10cc albums.
The exhibition is packed with lots more artifacts, including 45 rpm discs, badges, amplifiers, music cassettes, brochures, post cards and the original sound equipment used by producer Martin Hannett.
I was intrigued to see an original Marshall Time Modulator, and another piece of equipment which had the name ‘Martin Hannett’ inside the case. There was also an example of the ‘gizmo’ a device invented by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. An electronic copy of the studio bookings diary from 1980 to 1981 contains many famous names.
I was overwhelmed by just how many fascinating items of memorabilia have been crammed into such a relatively small space. I found it all fascinating and absorbing.
I was lucky enough to meet the curator of the exhibition, music historian Peter Wadsworth. He told me that the exhibition was an extension of his PhD thesis, which is on the subject of Strawberry Studios.
For anyone who is interested in the history of music in the Manchester area, this exhibition is a must-see. And if like me, you lived through the Strawberry Studios era, and remember the artists and songs of that time, it will bring back many happy musical memories.
I am in Love – runs from 27th January 2017 until 29th January 2018. Stockport Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Entry to the exhibition is free. Stockport Museum is located at 30 Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1ES.
Bill Rogers captures the darker side of Manchester in his crime novels. We met at the Portico Library and he told me about the inspiration he draws from Manchester and how he has found success as a self-published author. Interview date: October 2015.
Aidan O’Rourke: Tell me about your connection with Manchester.
Bill Rogers: My connection with Manchester started in 1963. I had been born in London within the sound of Bow bells, and had spent all my life in and around London, but in 1963 at Saint Mary’s College Twickenham, I met a Lancashire Lass from Tyldesley, and later that year headed North to meet her family.
I stepped out of the station in Manchester into a smoggy, grimy, dark, almost foreboding city. The car wended its way past Mosley Common Pit where her uncle was the manager, and into Tyldesley with its five working mines and cathedral-like red brick cotton mills. it was a world I had only glimpsed in Charles Dickens’ novels.
It was massive culture shock, but I immediately fell in love with the people, and with the food! It was Christmas time, and as we went from terraced house to terraced house I found myself plied with strange yet enticing delicacies such as meat and potato pie, Lancashire hot pot, black pudding, and fried Lancashire cheese with bacon.
No surprise then, that when we finished college we bought a house in Standish, Wigan, behind a slag heap. before moving to Bolton. I have now lived in Greater Manchester for 43 years.
Angel Meadow ‘ Location in the crime novels of Bill Rogers
Aidan O’Rourke: And your career was in education?
Bill Rogers: Yes. I taught in London briefly, in Chorley, and in Wigan. My subjects were English and History, Games and PE. I was a Senior Pastoral Tutor at a St John Rigby Sixth Form College in Orrel, Wigan. I was Deputy Head and Head of Sixth Form at Saint Mary’s RC High School, Astley.
After 22 years of teaching I went into the Inspectorate in Manchester as a District Inspector, and over the course of the next 18 years I worked across the whole of the City of Manchester, ultimately as Principal Inspector and the Head of the School Improvement Service. My work took me to every part of the city. I think I’ve been into every school and educational establishment in every part of the city, from pre school to University, and everything in between.
That’s one of the ways in which I came to appreciate the city, came to know it intimately, the people as well as the places.
Aidan O’Rourke: Tell me about your connection with the police service.
Gorton Monastery ‘ Location in the crime novels of Bill Rogers
Bill Rogers: I’m steeped in the police service. I come from four generations of Metropolitan police officers. My great grandfather came over from Kerry and ended up as a Station Sergeant in the East End. My grandfather was a founder member and Head of the Flying Squad. He was at the siege of Sidney Street as Winston Churchill’s bodyguard. My father was a PC during the war in London and my sister was a WPC in London. You could say that I was the one that got away!
How are you inspired by Manchester and how does that manifest itself in the books and stories?
They say you should write about places you know and people you know, and I came to really love Manchester as a city. I was born in a city, I love London and still do, but Manchester is where I’ve lived for the bulk of my life, and I’ve been inspired by the way in which the city has changed. I taught Economic History and so I understood about the Industrial Revolution and the part that Manchester, and Greater Manchester played in all of that. The evidence is all around you. I was fascinated by the industrial archaeology of it.
But more than that, it was the way in which the city has transformed itself that has fascinated me. When I started working in Manchester we had a very left-wing administration. I lived and worked through the way in which the administration changed, whilst managing to stayed true to its socialist principles. It has grasped the potential of the New, and remodelled this city, physically, culturally, and economically. In the main it’s been successful, Manchester is rightly regarded as The UK’s second city.
In that time I’ve seen many changes. The Crescents in Hulme for example were infested with drugs, crime and poverty, and immediately post the Moss Side riots I visited schools and parents who felt isolated and under threat. As in much of the city demolition and regeneration has changed the physical and emotional landscape. Largely, but not exclusively, for the better. Being part of these changes inevitably provided ideas and inspiration for my novels.
During those 18 years I worked very closely with Greater Manchester police and the Chief Constable on initiatives to do with combating crime affecting young people, in particular knife crime, street robbery, drugs and gang membership. We introduced the first Police Schools Liaison Officers in the country. An initiative that is still going, and which lot of places have copied. I’m proud of that.
Manchester Bootle St Police Station Oct 2004
Aidan O’Rourke: What’s the name of your main character and where did he come from?
Bill Rogers: DCI Tom Caton. He is probably the police officer I would have been if I’d followed the rest of my family into the Police. There is a lot of me in him. He is accused of being too politically correct, but that’s what I had to be in Manchester. In a way, I would have been like that by choice. He finds it difficult to an extent, being a straight copper. He isn’t Rebus. He isn’t drunk and disillusioned and miserable and depressed. He is in quite a good place now that he’s married, and has a child. He’s got a lovely team around him, and I quite admire him!
Aidan O’Rourke: Which are the most important locations in the books?
Bill Rogers: All of them are important. Let’s take The Cleansing, which was the first DCI Tom Caton novel, published in 2009. That begins in St Johns Gardens at the back of Deansgate. And all of the subsequent settings in the city, like New Broom Street and the New Broom sculpture in the Northern Quarter, the Gay Village, Manchester Town Hall are of particular significance within the city. They also have a special meaning for the perpetrator, and also in relation to the way in which the city has developed.
Chinatown features very very strongly in the Tiger’s Cave, which is about Chinese gangs,Triads, working within the city. Castlefield figures partly because it’s where Tom Caton had his first apartment at the beginning of the series, and partly because there are a couple of crime scenes and other developments in the area. Salford Quays figures in several of the novels, The Head Case in particular. The Monastery and Friary of Saint Francis in Gorton figures quite strongly in one of the novels. I could just go on and on. In every part of the city you could mention, there is going to be a crime scene, which I have then put in the book of walks around the city, based on the novels.
Castlefield ‘ Location in the crime novels of Bill Rogers
Aidan O’Rourke: And how important is the Manchester setting for your readers?
Bill Rogers: It was really important for me personally. I felt the books had to be anchored by a deep sense of place. I am relieved and delighted to discover that the majority of people who read all of my books do so partly because they love reading about the city, about the settings, especially those who used to live in Manchester and no longer do. Expats in Australia, Canada, America, even Europe, even Scandinavia will email me and say ‘I love the way you wrote about Moss Side” or Hulme or Gorton or Wythenshawe or north Manchester or Middleton’ ‘I remember going to the Rylands Library when I was young” So yes, it’s very important. The city is another character in my novels, as important as the protagonist.
Aidan O’Rourke: You are very successful as a self-published author. Do you think there are advantages to self-publishing in comparison to traditional publishing?
Bill Rogers: There are clear advantages. The most significant is that you have total freedom in terms of what you write and how you publish it. On the other hand, You have to take responsibility for editing, proofreading and so on. But you have the freedom to write what you want to write, when you want to write, to conclude when you want to conclude, to start again when you want to, and not be driven by timetables. I don’t have to pay 15% to an agent; I don’t have to pay a publisher; I get all of the royalties that I’m entitled to without anybody taking a slice. And yes, I love the freedom.
But on the other hand, I have just received an offer from a major publisher who has asked me to write a spin off series for them, whilst continuing to self-publish the DCI Caton series myself. If I accept, I know that I will have to make sure that the constraints of the publisher’s timetable do not begin to impact on my freedom and my creativity. You have to balance those out.
Aidan O’Rourke: You have made a success of being an independent, self-published author and you are earning royalties though your creative work?
Bill Rogers: Yes, I have, and I’m earning considerably more than the average writer in Britain, and more than some published authors, and I feel very very lucky and quite privileged. But I’ve worked hard.
Bill Rogers ‘ Caton’s Manchester book cover
Aidan O’Rourke: How many books are there in the series, now?
Bill Rogers: Thirteen now, ten of them in the DCI Tom Caton series. Nine of them are complete, and the tenth is underway at the moment. And I’ve written another one in the spin-off series the publisher requested.
Aidan O’Rourke: How long will you keep writing?
Bill Rogers: For as long as I am still able to and people continue to tell me that that they enjoy reading what I write. I’ve discovered that creativity is a kind of addiction. But like all addictions it has to be controlled, and my Lancashire Lass and I have another life firmly rooted in reality!
Manchester Then and Now is a book written by Jonathan Schofield presenting archive images of Manchester placed side by side with contemporary scenes – captured by yours truly Aidan O’Rourke! The book was published in May 2010 by Batsford (144 pages, £12.99).
Manchester Then and Now features archive and contemporary photographs placed side by side, along with descriptions written by Jonathan Schofield.
The archive images were chosen by Jonathan mostly from the collection of the Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central Library, a favourite browsing haunt of mine. I was commissioned to take contemporary images of the same scenes today. I tried to match the camera angle as closely as possible to the viewpoint used in the archive image.
As well as being Manchester’s most high profile tour guide, Jonathan Schofield is an experienced journalist, writer and after-dinner speaker. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Manchester, and is full of facts, figures and quirky anecdotes.
Motifs include many of Manchester’s most famous buildings and streets: The Town Hall and Albert Square, Cross Street, with the former Manchester Evening News building, Manchester University Sackville Building, the River Irwell and Sackville Park, Manchester Airport and most spectacularly, a view from the CIS building overlooking Victoria Station and Boddingtons Brewery chimney.
The book was published on 10 May 2010 by Batsford, price £12.99.
See the details for Manchester Then and Now on Amazon
In 2006 I interviewed film and music historian C P Lee at his home in Manchester. On the occasion of his retirement on 30 January 2015 I am re-publishing the interview.
Why is Manchester so pre-eminent as a city of music? Is it the weather, the geography or or some other unknown factor? CP Lee provides some very interesting insights.
CP Lee has done extensive research on the development of music-making in Manchester, and is the author of the book ‘Shake Rattle and Rain’, a history of music in Manchester from 1955 to 1995. He has also written two books about Bob Dylan. For 23 years, he was a lecturer at Salford University, and is co-founder of the band ‘Alberto & Lost Trios Paranoias’.
It was very interesting to discover that the history of music in Manchester goes back to the 18th century, and that the reason for its success in recent decades is not some intangible magic in the air, but something much more basic, something that most people may not have thought about.
Chris talks about the echoes and interplay between America and Manchester, and why Northern Soul became such a phenomenon here during the sixties. He did an excellent documentary on Radio 4 about Northern Soul. He mentions clubs, bands, singers, personalities, and also talks about the Manchester and District Music Archive, which he is helping to organise, and of which I am a co-trustee (since 2014)
CP Lee also helps to keep alive the memory of comedy actor Frank Randle and the Mancunian Film Company. More on his official website where you can buy books and lots more items.
The introductory music is a short section from the song ‘Manchester Anthem’ written and sung by James Herring. Listen to the full version of Manchester Anthem on Jay Herring’s Myspace page.
A POWERFUL VISIONARY QUALITY that transforms the way we see familiar objects and places – That’s the hallmark of many great artists, and one that is clear to be seen in the drawings and paintings of Trevor Grimshaw.
Towns set in smoky valleys, murky canals, basins and ponds, railway viaducts, signals and telegraph poles, railway bridges with steam trains emerging from the fog, vast rutted areas of black earth and waste ground with the sky reflected in puddles, factory chimneys pouring smoke into a heavy atmosphere that hangs above the scene.
As you look into the pictures you can almost hear the whistle of the factory hooter, the huffing and puffing of a distant steam train, and feel the cold clammy air on your skin. The pictures capture the feeling of walking to the factory on a cold winters morning many years ago, and stopping to look out over the dismal grey townscape that is your home.
I only found out about Trevor Grimshaw in 2001 when I read an article in the Manchester Evening News about the artist’s untimely death due to a fire at his home in Hyde. Some of his pictures were reproduced in the paper, and even at small size, I was captivated by them.
They seemed to capture the essence of how I remember the north of England as a child growing up in Stockport, an atmosphere that seems far removed from the world we live in today. Most people found the industrial north ugly, depressing and certainly not the sort of thing you would want hanging up on your living room wall.
Only a small number of artists turned their attention to this subject matter and found beauty in it. Trevor Grimshaw is foremost among them and has probably left us the clearest and most powerful impression of how our towns and cities looked until not that long ago.
It’s a personal and stylised vision. Most places are not recognisable, and in those that are, for example the picture of Stockport, the elements have been rearranged, such that the church appears on the wrong side of the viaduct, as in a mirror image.
In the ‘railway journey from Hyde to Manchester’ series of pictures, which takes up half a wall of the gallery, there are no recognisable landmarks. The city centre has an anonymous yet familiar appearance.
It’s as if the memory of your home town has been wiped clean and you are arriving in it again for the first time, discovering it afresh.
In all Trevor Grimshaw’s pictures, elements are carefully placed with more of an eye for balance and composition than for factual accuracy. Often the perspective is distorted, playing tricks with the eyes and making the steam train appear as if it is about to take off.`
The paradox of Trevor Grimshaw’s work is that although his is a personal, stylised and selective vision, it is a more truthful rendering of what the north used to be like than many a photograph. That’s the power of the painter or illustrator, who can draw on the imagination in a way that’s more difficult with photography, though it’s getting easier with digital imaging.
Trevor Grimshaw had some high profile admirers – Edward Heath and LS Lowry bought his pictures in the 1970’s, as well as many collectors and gallery owners, including Colin Jellicoe. But since then, his work – like the industrial landscape he depicted – disappeared from view and was apparently forgotten.
Message received Friday 6 August 2010
Fascinated by your website. I lived and grew up in Stockport for the first twenty odd years of my life. I knew Edgeley very well then, the Armoury pub still lingers in my mind. Your finished image of the church spire and chimneys taken in November 2009 is very evocative of Trevor’s work.
I attended Stockport College of Art at the same time as Trevor and knew him very well as did a lot of people. We did at some time have a few beers together over the years.
A group of us including Trevor held an exhibition of steam trains and railway images in 1974 at a gallery in Portland Street in Manchester. I still have the invite and catalogue.
Through the years I worked in graphics starting in Manchester agencies and studios. Gradually got into digital imaging. Even from low end digital cameras you can rescue and manipulate anything in Photoshop which is an excellent piece of software. The last five years I was providing all digital imaging for students at the local art college from neg scanning to large format inkjet.
My lasting memory of Trevor was he gave me a publication of prints of his works in 1973. Entitled ‘Townscape’ it was published then in conjuction with The North West Arts Association. I only found out fairly recently of his death in 2001.
I moved away from the north and now live in Devon. ‘You can take the boy out of Manchester but you can’t take Manchester out of the boy’ but I was there last week visiting my daughter and finally got to see the Lowry Gallery at Salford keys.
Sorry to rabbit on but to share a moment in connection with Trevor is an honour.
hodgkinson194 at btinternet dot com
Born Mancunian and Stopfordian
Thanks for your message! It’s great to hear from someone who knew Trevor Grimshaw. And also to hear about your work with art and photography. I have a copy of Townscape which I bought on eBay a few years ago. It seems people have forgotten about the stark and evocative appearance of the North as it used to be! And they don’t seem to have much respect for what remains of this heritage, knocking worthy buildings down and fitting uPVC windows into Victorian houses!
I wish I had got to meet him and I could have done but I only got to hear about him after reading the piece in the MEN about the fire and his death. If only he had got a little bit of publicity while he was alive I would probably have met and interviewed him.
From 1999 to 2002 Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens were completely remodelled in a stark Modernist style with an office building constructed on green space at the Portland Street end, and a concrete pavilion wall next to the bus stops and Metrolink stop.
When I first saw the plans in City Life magazine I was horrified. I couldn’t believe that they would wish to put buildings on a park including a stark concrete wall.
I wrote a letter to object to the plans along with a lot of other people but the objections were overruled and the plans went ahead.
Since then it has become clear that most people don’t like the new gardens. A survey in the Manchester Evening News confirmed this fact. The only people who don’t seem to realise the failure of the new gardens are those at Manchester City Council.
Whenever I go into the city centre, I prefer to avoid Piccadilly Gardens
I often visualise them as they used to be: a cheerful place where shoppers and workers strolled along pathways or sat on benches, enjoying the colour and scent of flowers.
Celebrated on post cards, painted by LS Lowry, used as a backdrop in family photos, including my own, it was a public park as big as one of the London squares, overlooked by classic facades on three sides and the futuristic Piccadilly Plaza on the fourth.
It was a place where greenery co-existed happily with buses.
And then in 1992, a new tram system was opened, a big step forward, yes, but the lines took away some of the space around the edge of the Piccdilly Gardens. Manchester City Council neglected the Gardens and allowed them to become run down. Because they were run down, the council said ‘environmental improvements’ were needed and they gave us what we see today.
In late 2014 a spokesperson for the Council admitted that the Gardens needed to be ‘spruced up’. In my opinion there is only one solution to the problem of the new Piccadilly Gardens and that is tear down the concrete wall and pavilion, demolish the office block and start again.
Many people are saying an apology is needed. After 15 years I can honestly say I hate what the planners at Manchester City Council did to Piccadilly Gardens and I know that a lot of people agree with me. P
I will continue to campaign against the council’s destructive policies and hope for change in the future.
Rebuilding Manchester was written by Euan Kellie. It’s a full colour, hardback edition with 255 pages, 467 images and graphics, of which 384 are photographs. 105 of those photos are mine. Over 40 of them are displayed at half to full page. My Manchester Mega-Photo is on the cover.
Rebuilding Manchester tells the story of how Manchester responded after a massive IRA terrorist bomb devastated a large section of the city centre on 15 June 1996. Euan has assembled a fascinating selection of photos taken just after the explosion. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to witness the immediate aftermath as I didn’t arrive back from teaching abroad until the 15th of July of that year.
From the 16th of July, 1996 onwards I started to document the city and in 1997 set up my website Eyewitness in Manchester, later published under the aidan.co.uk domain and from 1998 on the embryonic Manchester Evening News website. Euan has included a good number of the photos I took during the nineties as well as many taken up to the publication year of 2010.
There are 13 chapters or sections including the introduction written by Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council. He was at the launch of the book at Beluga Bar just next to the town hall.
Euan Kellie and Sir Howard Bernstein at launch event 1 July 10
Other chapters focus on commercial, residential, historic and retail. The penultimate chapter looks to the future.
Most fascinating – and alarming – are drawings from the 1945 City of Manchester Plan, which proposed the demolition of Alfred Waterhouse’s neo-gothic town hall as well as most other buildings in the city centre (though not the town hall extension or the Central Library).
The book addresses that frequent remark that people like to make, namely that the IRA did Manchester a great favour by exploding the bomb. I disagree totally with this statement. From my reading of the book it seems clear that the bomb accelerated a process of regeneration that was already underway, but it also caused huge destruction and could have taken the lives of hundreds of Mancunians if it had gone off prematurely.
Euan is a chartered surveyer and has worked in the property industry both in the public and private sector. So as well as observing, he has played an active role in the process himself. He gives an industry insider’s point of view but the account is very readable and uses only a minimal amount of planning and development jargon.
I feel very proud to have been able to contribute more than a quarter of the photos in the book, many displayed at larger size, occupying both half pages and full pages. Apart from the Manchester Mega-Photo on the cover, front and rear, the image of mine that seems most striking is the night view of the Civil Justice Centre on page 90.
Rebuilding Manchester is an attractive coffee table book you can enjoy dipping into again and again, studying the photos and perusing all the maps, charts and diagrams. But it’s also an authoritative account of a key phase in the development of Manchester. In years to come people will refer to Rebuilding Manchester to get an accurate view of this period and I’m glad that many of the photos they will be looking at were taken by me!
Euan’s website www.rebuildingmanchester.co.uk remains his original oeuvre, the one that he founded around the same time as I began publishing my own Eyewitness in Manchester site.
If you’re interested in a copy of Rebuilding Manchester that has been signed by me, please contact.
This is a review of “My Guide to Manchester”, the complete guide to the city, written by tour guide and author Jonathan Schofield, published in early 2015 by Manchester Books.
Jonathan Schofield is probably the best known tour guide in Manchester and he has written extensively about the local area and region. I’ve known Jonathan for many years and I’ve contributed photos to some of his previous books.
“My Guide to Manchester” provides a comprehensive view of the city in 2015. It has 22 sections including an introduction to the politics and economics of the city and region, and the new opportunities that will be provided by The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which will come into force in 2017.
The book will be of interest to visitors and to people who live here. Every major tourist attraction in the city centre is described. There are several interesting city walks, plus features on nightlife, where to eat and places to go.
The 242 pages are packed with over three hundred contemporary and archive photographs, paintings, drawings, maps and diagrams.
My favourite is the bird’s eye drawing of Manchester from 1889 and the cityscape photo showing Manchester Cathedral. I also like the set of drawings by Neil Dimelow which give a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. From cover to cover, the design and layout of the book are excellent
Some of the famous people connected with the city are listed, including Anthony Burgess, Emmeline Pankhurst, Anthony Wilson, Morrissey and Professor Brian Cox. Also featured are Richard Lees and Howard Bernstein, the two men from Manchester town hall who in recent years have profoundly influenced the development of the city. There’s an overview the architectural styles in Manchester, and a very useful index – not all books of this type provide one.
I was invited to the book launch at Manchester Cathedral on Monday 16th of February. I saw many influential people there and met a few of them as well. I asked Jonathan what’s special about this book
I think what’s special about this guide book is that it’s all mine. This time I can have complete editorial control, recommend that to the publisher, put the stuff in I want, take some of the stuff out I didn’t want to put in last time. And I think also I’m more mature so actually I’ve left room now for three or four other guidebooks.
What I always wanted was a compromise between a practical guide and a souvenir, so I hit two markets. And this one I’m trying to make sure… there’s two or three pictures, sometimes three pictures nearly on every page, and colourful and bright, and vivid and all that, and then also loads of content. And it seems to be working because Waterstones and W H Smiths and Blackwells the rest are selling huge amounts of it, so I’m very very pleased.
So to sum up, “My Guide to Manchester” by Jonathan Schofield is a compact guidebook that provides a wealth of information, small enough to carry on a trip. It’s packed full of interesting useful historic but also up-to-date information on Manchester. It’s written in Jonathan Schofield’s chatty and anecdotal style. It’s as if he’s talking directly to you on one of his guided tours. It’s published by Manchester Books, a new and enterprising publishing house based in Manchester, and it’s priced at £9.99, great value when you consider the depth of information and the very high quality of the presentation.
For more information, visit www.mcrbooks.co.uk or just go into any of the major bookshops in Manchester and you’ll find it.