THE LOWRY centre,
Salford Quays, is in my opinion a masterpiece of contemporary
design. It benefits by being on a waterside location with
no other buildings around it. The architects were able to
give full rein to their imagination, and the result is quite
unlike anything I've seen in Manchester before. Here are some
pictures, taken today (Wednesday 24 May) and in previous weeks,
showing this amazing building and its surroundings.
THE LOWRY IN ITS FIRST MONTH is not yet fully open - Certain
displays are still in preparation and the building is still
It's already a tourist attraction, though, and one way to
view it is to take this tour boat which runs from the city
centre down to Salford Quays, and back. Here it is on its
return journey, just passing under the new footbridge.
The Lowry is a stunning and intriguing structure, made all
the more impressive by its waterside location. But you need
sunny weather and blue skies to show the metallic exterior
at its best.
GLOOMY WEATHER passed over Manchester on the weekend the
Lowry opened (Sat/Sun 29/30 April 2000).
Here a dramatic sky and the silhouette of HMS Bronington
is reflected in the water of the Ship Canal. The Lowry is
on the extreme right, and the site of the new Imperial War
Musem North is on the Trafford Park side to the left.
The juxtaposition of performing arts centre and war museum,
linked by a footbridge across the Ship Canal is very unusual.
The former Docklands will be opened up to be used and enjoyed
by the public in a way that was never possible in their original
The Manchester Docks had a working life of only eight decades
(1894 to the mid-seventies)- and it will have taken three
more to transform them into the completed Salford Quays.
WHERE CARGO WAS taken off ships from around the world, now
you can walk out of your apartment and take a waterside stroll
Trees, lights and chain railings have been added, but the
original fixtures used to tie up the ships are still there.
Here in front of us is the widest stretch of water in the
former Docks, and we're looking towards the Lowry, centre
right, and the adjacent footbridge.
Salford Quays has a feel of somewhere far distant from Manchester
- America, or the Middle East perhaps, but in 2000, the one
thing missing is life - Even at weekends in good weather,
the place seems deserted, and the water is mostly empty of
IT'S STILL POSSIBLE TO IMAGINE the Manchester Docks as they
once were, if you look down the canal to this corner of Trafford
Park, where renovation and repair work on ships is still carried
On the extreme right you can see Mode Wheel Locks, the first
set of locks on the journey to Liverpool.
I'm not sure what these ships are carrying - can anyone help?
Though the "Port of Manchester" has all but ceased
to exist, it's nice to know that you can see ships in the
heart of a city 35 miles (50km) from the sea.
THE INTERIOR OF THE LOWRY has caused much controversy - here
we see the brash colour scheme that some people have complained
But I like it, as it suits the bold, and frankly, rather
crazy design of the Lowry centre.
Sunny weather turned cloudy on the day of my visit - I'll
be returning again in bright weather, when the centre is fully
open to do more interior and exterior shots.
Here are two more views taken just after the Lowry opened
in late April 2000.