WHAT'S IN A LOCATION? Much more than first meets the eye, as can be seen by taking a closer look at these four views, captured within a hundred yards of each other along one of Manchester's major arterial roads. They tell a fascinating but melancholy story of the dramas, tragedies and achievements of Manchester past, present and future.
We can see two derelict pubs. The one on the left is adorned with three billboard sites. The upper one shows Labour Party election 2001 poster "Economic Disaster II", below it, an advert for Emirates airlines Manchester to Dubai flights and to the right, one of Marketing Manchester's promotional ads proclaiming 'This is not Hong Kong, this is Manchester'.
In the upper right photograph we see another abandoned pub - If walls could speak what stories would they tell of nights spent here in times past? The pub, I'm told, is haunted.
In the lower right is a plaque commemorating one of the earliest examples of the Fenian or Irish nationalist campaign of resistance in Britain - The plaque says "Fenian Ambush September 1867 - Site of the rescue of two Fenian prisoners. Following a shooting of a policeman, three of the rescuers were executed at the last public hanging in the Manchester area (November 1867)."
The "Manchester Martyrs" site is situated to the right of the railway bridge visible in the upper right picture. 129 years later, the biggest bomb to explode in mainland Britain was detonated by Irish nationalist terrorists on 15 March 1996 in the city centre two miles to the west of here.
And in the lower left picture, we see a poignant floral tribute to an innocent victim of Manchester's gangland feuds. His name is Gabriel Egharevba, and he lived nearby with his parents. On Wednesday 12 January 2000 at around 10pm the 17 year old was riding his mountain bike on this spot near Coverdale Crescent when he was gunned down by an unknown killer who fled on a motorbike. It's certain that he had no connection with drugs or gangs, and it was probably a case of mistaken identity. I'm not sure whether the killer has been found and brought to justice.
And it's interesting to note, that under the empty grassy space along Coverdale Crescent - once the location of a set of fort-like concrete flats - are the foundations of demolished terraced houses and streets - part of the old Manchester buried, but not forgotten.
Yes there certainly is often more to a location than first meets the eye, and this place has lots of personal associations - But where is it?
a) Hyde Road Ardwick b) Oldham Road Miles Platting c) Stockport Road Longsight
BARCLAY HOUSE is a building most people walk past without noticing, but it's one of my favourite buildings in this part of Manchester. It dates, I think from the 1930's, a minor golden age in Manchester architecture. With its exterior fire escape and large factory size windows round the side, it reminds me of a warehouse in New York's garment district around Houston Street.
On the front, we see neo-classical influences and the sort of exterior ornamentation you might find on an 18th century facade on London's Barclay Square. One of Manchester's leading tv and video editing facilities is located on the top floor of Barclay House, which as we can see, is situated close to the Palace Hotel, the former Refuge building.
The American influence on Manchester's character is nowadays mostly overlooked, with the current trend to brand Manchester as a 'European city', whatever that means.
But on which street is this building located?
a) Oxford Street b) Chepstow Street c) Whitworth Street West
AT THE HEART OF MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE, we see a fairy-tale-like assemblage of ornamented facades, with windows glowing under a clear night sky. That's the planet Venus visible just to the left of the conical corner tower of the Reform Club (architect Edward Salomons, built 1871). It was once proposed to dismantle the Reform Club and re-erect it on a new site to make way for an office complex which was never built.
Across King Street centre left is the magnificent Midland Bank (now HSBC) Building, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and opened 1929. On the left is part of the facade of the former National Provincial Bank, (Alfred Waterhouse, 1890) later Barclays Bank and now Rothwells wine bar and night club. The sign points to Piccadilly Gardens off to the left, but what is the name of the street just to the right, where, incidentally, you won't find any gardens?
a) Winter Gardens b) Parsonage Gardens c) Spring Gardens