|Newsletter 1998 Week 7|
RECOMMENDED MANCHESTER WEBSITES
A second Metrolink accident took place at the junction of High St and Corporation St on Wednesday. Three people were injured and a man was trapped and had to be cut free. Two accidents also occurred recently at the point where the line crosses Corporation St to enter Victoria Station, a few months ago, a passenger suffered a serious foot injury. Despite these accidents, the Metrolink system continues to be an outstanding success. The line to Eccles is currently starting to take shape across Old Trafford and Salford Quays.
The campaign group "Save Our Railways" have drawn up a rescue plan for Britain's railways, including the opening up of disused lines and a cut in fares. Bids opened today for a £500m signalling system for the West Coast Line. The new signals will allow the operation of French-style 140mph trains. In the meantime, Manchester-London passengers have to put up with Virgin Trains, constantly subject to criticism and jokes. They are being taken to task this evening on BBC's Panorama programme. The picture below shows what's left of Exchange Station, with a disused signal box and Strangeways Prison tower in the background.
A revised design for the controversial Free Trade Hall hotel development was announced at a press conference this morning. Read the Civic Society's view on the opening page of the Civic Society Website www.manchestercivic.org.uk.
Prayers were offered at Manchester Cathedral over the weekend by people against British military involvement in the Gulf. There was also a candlelight vigil in Albert Square, and today, two protesters unfurled a banner from Knott Mill Bridge, Deansgate. "We've decided to make a protest in the most eye-catching way we can" said one of them on GMR radio. I witnessed a sit-down protest on Oxford Road outside the Students Union Building on Friday. The students, many waving Socialist Worker banners, were protesting at Government legislation to introduce university fees. I got off my bus, hoping for a confrontation, but they dispersed before the police arrived, and I was late for my appointment!
Anti-roads protesters needn't worry about the proposed Alderley Edge by-pass - Cheshire County Council have rejected it - on financial grounds. But residents of Alderley, one of Cheshire's wealthiest and, in my opinion, most beautiful districts, are all in favour of the road. Since the construction of the A34 by pass from Cheadle to south of Wilmslow, the A34 north and south of Alderley has turned into one long traffic jam.
A house in Alderley Edge was the scene of a stabbing attack. A man in his late 30's was taken into custody in connection with the incident. And in nearby Macclesfield, a man was beaten unconscious in an attack. He's in a serious condition in Macclesfield General Hospital.
The Manchester City ground has seen regular protests by jeering fans angry at the club's poor showing. On Saturday they lost 1-0 to Bury, and there have been calls for chairman Francis Lee to resign.
Manchester City may move into the new Commonwalth Games stadium. Until they decide, there will be continuing uncertainty over the new stadium, to be built in the east Manchester development area, near the Manchester Velodrome. If a permanent user can't be found, a temporary structure may be built, which won't benefit the city in the long term.
A woman was taken to hospital after being found lying injured on a railway line near Jocelyn St, Monsall. She had apparently jumped from the bridge. Whatever the background to the incident, depressed people are currently being targeted by two separate ad campaigns. Billboards around Manchester are carrying the message that far more people die of depression than of Aids or drugs. And the Samaritans also have ads in prominent locations. It seems that nowadays, everything can be marketed!
The Big Issue is another example of modern communication methods being used for charitable purposes. As I've reported previously, City Centre workers and shoppers can't usually get very far along the pavement without being asked "Big Issue mate?" or "Big Issue madam?". This week's edition carries a piece by Prince Charles. The Big Issue, which in Manchester, operates from a building on Ancoats St, started in 1991. 2000 homeless people sell over 300,000 copies all over the country. The vendor pays 40p for each copy and sells it for a pound, keeping 60p.
Homeless birds, of the feathered variety, are being targeted by an initiative at Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, which is offering courses in nest-building. It's open to adults and children over 7 and all materials are provided free.
I'm not sure what the blue tits have been making of the freak weather conditions we've been having over the past few days. Friday's mild and sunny weather seemed to herald the onset of spring, and daffodils and other flowers started to appear. It looked like being a sunny, care-free weekend, and Saturday started off bright, but by the afternoon, clouds had appeared and Sunday was overcast and much cooler.
Yesterday in the city centre, I noticed something I hadn't seen since my wet, winter days in Saudi: cars were covered in sand. It had been carried in water droplets from north Africa, and landed mainly on the north west of England. Today was breezy, cloudy and cold, but by late afternoon, there were blue patches of sky over Manchester, but no sunshine where I was.
SOME UK & WORLD HEADLINES THIS WEEK
Words & pictures ©Aidan O'Rourke
If you're looking for self-catering holiday accommodation near Manchester, have a look at the Coachhouse.
SOME READER MESSAGES RECEIVED THIS WEEK:
THANK -YOU FOR MAKING MY HOME TOWN SEEM SO MUCH CLOSER. I DISCOVERED YOUR WEB SITE LAST YEAR AND MAKE A POINT OF VISITING EVERY WEEK.
I HAVE LIVED IN SOUTH CAROLINA, USA FOR 18 YEARS AND AM ORIGINALLY FROM PRESTWICH.
THANKS AGAIN FOR A WONDERFUL WEB PAGE, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. THE PHOTOS ARE ESPECIALLY NICE!
Greetings from the North East tip of Vancouver Island specifically Port Hardy where it is wet and windy but the fishing is great and I wouldn't leave it.
I was born in Grange Drive Blackley @ # 48 in the front bedroom on July 6th 29, attended Crossley school the day it opened in 34 and eventually went to North Man high school. After mucking around in the Navy & MN I married my 1st love Marie Jones of Blackley village and with our first born took off for the west coast of Canada and after a varied job history finally got a job as a meteorological tech which lasted 30 yrs with 28 here in PH or as it is known to airline types YZT.
Anyway what I am rambling on at, is there any info on Blackley and does Crossley or North M/cr High have a web site. I have been unable to locate one.
Just found this site tonight and will keep looking in.
Cheers George BR>I'm not aware of any Blackley website - the only Manchester suburb I know of with its own website is Chorlton.
Hope you'll visit every week. Let me know of a photogenic scene in Blackley you'd like to see, and I'll try and get up there with my camera and include the photo in Eyewitness.
Have just read the account of the "Haunted Bus". Seems strange to me that no one has had the bus exorcised by a priest or similar?
Have so enjoyed your site. Many thanks for all the work you guys put into it.
Hi Aidan from a very hot Western Australia,
I love your newsletter which keeps me in touch with the "old country". But why no pics this week? Your pics are truly the best part of the newsletter and I really miss them.
I would like to use this forum to ask a question which I can't get answered elsewhere...does the Manchester Flower Lovers Guild still exist, or the Flower Arranger magazine or even the National Association of Flower Arrangers Societies (NAFAS)?
I taught flower arranging 30 years ago in Manchester and want to renew my lapsed knowledge to do the church flowers here in Perth, Western Australia.
Thanks in hope,
Kaye Hawley (formerley Kathleen Kazim of Newton Heath and Alkrington, Middleton.)
Sorry, due to an oversight on my part, links to the pictures weren't working on Tuesday - I corrected the mistake later. It'a mad rush putting together Eyewitness in Manchester single-handedly, and mistakes happen. I hope readers will let me know immediately of any problems.