EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 12 midnight BST MONDAY 29 JUNE 1998

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St Anne's Square & Passage

DUKE OF YORK VISITS MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY

MANCHESTER'S MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY, in Castlefield had a distinguished guest this evening: His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. He came to attend the Young Electronic Designers Awards - young people have been invited to enter a competition to design and create useful electronic-based devices. This evening, the finalists' projects were judged and put on display in the Museum's magnificent 1830 Warehouse, which I visited last week to do a QTVR panorama of the Futures exhibition. Have a look at the QTVR panorama here. Make sure you have the plug-in software from Apple. Report & more pics to follow soon in Eyewitness @ DS98.

nude drawing by LS Lowry - or maybe not MANCHESTER CITY ART GALLERY TO CLOSE

ART TREASURES at Manchester's City Art Gallery, on Mosley Street, have been packed away for three years, and the Museum has closed its doors so that a new 20m extension can be built. Up till now, the Gallery has only been able to display a small proportion of the works. The new extension, to be built on the car park behind, will provide much more space. The most famous works in the Gallery are those by the Pre-Raphaelite artists - they're my favourites too. The new enlarged gallery will open in 2001.

And talking of art, a controversy has arisen over the authenticity of a nude drawing attributed to Salford artist L S Lowry. Art dealer Ivan Aird, who owns the drawing, says it's genuine. So does Harold Riley, another famous Salford artist and friend of Lowry. But Mike Leber of Salford Museum and Art Gallery says there's some doubt. Looking at a reproduction of it in today's MEN (right) I'm not so sure, but I could be wrong! An exhibition of Lowry's drawings is on at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

SWEET SMELL OF VICTORY FOR HYDE RESIDENTS

Smith Brothers meat rendering factory, in Hyde, has had to pay 330 000 in fines and 40,000 in costs, for failing to "clean up its act". Manchester Crown Court heard that the firm had failed to keep foul-smelling emissions under adequate control. The company went into voluntary liquidation prior to today's hearing, with the loss of 40 jobs. Local residents had been campaigning for a long time, but as one of them said on Northwest Tonight this evening, they had never wished for the factory to close, only to keep its odours within the front gates.

And in another part of Tameside, there was disruption today after the discovery of a grenade in a building near Ashton Bus Station, BBC teletext reports. The bus station and several roads had to be evacuated, but in the end it turned out to be a false alarm - the grenade was a toy!

SUMMER TAKES A RAIN CHECK

IT'S MIDSUMMER, but the weather would suggest otherwise. I've been waiting for ages for a clear blue sky to take some photos, but practically every day recently, there have been heavy grey clouds, and quite often, heavy rain. This afternoon, the sun came out over the city centre for about 10 minutes, but by the time I'd got to St Anne's Square with my new digital camera, it had clouded over again. When are we going to get some proper summer? Mind you, I complained before when it got really hot, so maybe I should keep quiet. The current EWM temperature is 56/14 and the forecast is for, wait for it, unsettled weather.

HAVE YOU BEEN to Castlefield recently? If not, you should go, because it's very impressive, especially at night. The amazing Quay Bar, a glass-fronted, oval-shaped, construction somewhere between a cruise ship, an airport and a nuclear research plant, makes an interesting photographic subject. It's a far cry from the Pevril of the Peak, and is typical of late 20th century Manchester chic. But maybe you'd prefer the Vine or the Sawyer's Arms. I don't care, as long as the beer and the company are nice!

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 12 midnight BST SATURDAY 27 JUNE 1998

Computer VR model & photograph

WHEN VIRTUAL REALITY MEETS THE REAL WORLD

THE ABOVE IMAGES (finally ready after some delay) illustrate how close virtual reality has come to actual reality. The view on the left is taken from a computer simulation of the Manchester Computing building. The photo on the right was taken by me, and shows the same scene in real life. The VR simulation was demonstrated at the Department of Computer Science Open Day, which I attended last week. See my report, which I've just uploaded, by clicking on the picture or going to the DS98 events page

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 8pm BST FRIDAY 26 JUNE 1998

Market St Corporation St & Marks and Spencer building site
This is how the city centre reconstruction area looked on Wednesday. The large concrete towers are the backbones of the new Marks and Spencer Store, which will be the biggest in the world. Over to the left, we see the corner of the Royal Exchange - the shopping centre there was re-opened this week. Over to the right, on the Market St/Cross Street corner, we can see Gymboree, a childrens clothes shop. The concrete supports just above stripped of their covering, remind us of the bomb, which exploded just over two years ago at a point dead centre in the photo, just beyond the green wall.

RAIL LINES NORTH OF VICTORIA TO BE RENOVATED

DRIVING DOWN Oldham Road towards the city centre this afternoon, I looked up by a railway bridge and saw a legacy of the Victorian age - old-fashioned railway signals with rectangular arms standing out against the sky. These picturesque, but out-dated signals are to be removed as part of a much-needed modernisation scheme. But as the editorial in this evening's MEN points out, grand plans and good intentions are no consolation to commuters who have to endure crowded trains, or worse still, cancelled ones. I'll take photos of the signals before they're taken down - keep watching this page!

And at the Museum of Science and Industry's "Futures" exhibition, you can travel by train from Manchester to Liverpool in minutes - it's a time-lapse video, part of an exhibit documenting the early days of the railways. The video shows the view from the driver's cab. The train, speeded up several times, appears to be doing similar speeds to the SuperSonic Car which I saw on display recently at Woodford Air Show. Watch out for my feature on the Futures exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry, coming soon in my DS98 website.

VIAGRA OFFERED FOR SALE ON THE BLACK MARKET IN MANCHESTER

IT HASN'T BEEN LICENCED for general sale yet, but the wonder-drug Viagra, said to be a miracle cure for impotence, is being offered on the black market in Manchester. Several private clinics have been approached by people offering the drug in tablet form for inflated prices. Though widely reported to be effective for its intended purpose, it has some side effects, particularly when people use it for "recreational" purposes.

This evening I'll be sticking to good locally brewed bitter - I'm going on a a Civic Society guided tour of the pubs of Ancoats. Details on the Civic Society notice board page.

RAIN & SHINE OVER MANCHESTER

There were heavy showers, and bursts of bright sunshine today. The changeable weather is going to continue, and it looks as if it'll be the wettest June for ages. Well, when it's sunny I take colour and when it rains I take black and white - like these ones below (taken on colour film and changed to black and white in Photoshop). Does anyone recognise the exact location of these attractive scenes? Current EWM temperature 56/13 degrees - cloudy.

Railway viaducts in Manchester

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 2pm BST THURSDAY 25 JUNE 1998

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 11pm BST WEDNESDAY 24 JUNE 1998

ROYAL EXCHANGE SHOPPING CENTRE REOPENS

TWO YEARS AFTER the bomb (and on the same day that a car bomb devastated the village of Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, in Northern Ireland), the Royal Exchage shopping centre re-opened. I'm going to have a look, and possibly take some photos, tomorrow. The newly redeveloped centre was opened by the Lord Mayor. I remember when Danish Food store used to be there, and a Japanese shop, called Mitsukiku, I think, later replaced by the Body Shop. I'm very interested to see how it looks in its latest incarnation.

Over in Dumplington, I mean, at the Trafford Centre, there was disappointment when local mega-star Mick Hucknall refused an invitation to take part in the ceremony to open the gigantic new shopping centre in September. From his comments it's obvious where his preferences lie: "It should not have been allowed to happen. I don't agree with out-of-town shopping centres - they are invariably a design error and a planning error". (reported by Jaya Narain in yesterday's MEN) We'll have see what happens, but given the choice between an invented US-style shopping mall, and Manchester's real-life City Centre, I'll have the City Centre any day.

BODY IDENTIFIED AS CLAIRE HART

BBC1'S NORTHWEST TONIGHT reported from the village of Eaton near Congleton, where the local school held a memorial assembly this morning, for Claire Hart. Her body was found in 5 feet of water and positively identified yesterday. She had been strangled. 19 year old Craig Smith has been charged with her murder.

CHANGEABLE WEATHER CONTINUES

IT WAS MOSTLY WET TODAY over Manchester - and St Peter Square looked much as in the photo above, though I didn't go into the centre today. Late afternoon, the sun came out, and earlier in the evening it was shining through hazy clouds. The rain is predicted to continue for another few days, and the current EWM temperature is 63/17.

"BUT WHAT IS IT?"

Chorus

It's part of artranspennine98 and DS98, and is housed in the oldest railway warehouse in the world, at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester. To find out more, click on the picture, taking you to my Eyewitness @ DS98 website.

READER RESPONSES
From: sgarry(at)csc.com
Subject: Digital alternative to your Nikon etc

Aidan,
I was reading your report on Louise Woodword on your marvellous site and noted your comments re: a digital alternative to your Nikon. Well I've just read in Demon Internet Magazine of a "device that can be inserted into any standard 35mm camera to take digital pictures". The ImageK Electronic Film System(EFS-1 or E-Film) looks like a standard roll of 35mm film with an extended panel to cover the shutter area. It sounds too good to be true - using the quality of existing lenses etc to take digital photos. What do you think ? You can check out their website at www.imagek.com.

Keep up the good work !

Steve

Wow, sounds just up my street, I just can't bring myself to shell out good money for a digital camera yet - this may be the breakthrough, I'll have a look.


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