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EWM UPDATE TUESDAY 29 DECEMBER 1998 (Week 52) 11pm GMT

THE YEAR IN REVIEW - 12 MONTHS IN MANCHESTER & DISTRICT SUMMED UP IN 2860 WORDS WITH A SELECTION OF THE YEAR'S PHOTOS! You'll find news from the last few days in December at the very end of this page.

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JANUARY STARTED STORMY, with power cuts and accidents all over the north west region. "It looks like it's going ot be a great year in Manchester in 1998" - my own words in the year's first update. The following week, a construction worker was killed at the Trafford Centre, and the weather turned mild. In week 3, Manchester Internet pioneer Andy Blunt was cremated at Southern Cemetery - he'd died tragically of a heart attack over Christmas. There were more complaints about Virgin Trains. The M62 suffered severe traffic congestion and Manchester City Council announced a Council Tax rise of "only" 10% In week 4, six people collapsed in a Bolton pub apparently suffering from drug use, while a radio ad campaign warned of the dangers of Ecstasy. Victoria "Posh Spice" and David Beckham annnounced their engagement.


FEBRUARY BROUGHT A COLD AND RAINY Chinese New Year in Manchester, Jodrell Bank listened for signs of intelligent life from other worlds. Other stories in week 5: Manchester University were gearing up for Digital Summer, and the Halle announced financial problems. In week 6, the 1958 Munich disaster was commemorated, "Fortean TV" featured the cursed Manchester City ground, and Laker Airways withdrew from the UK, including Manchester. There was another Metrolink accident, a revised design for the Free Trade Hall hotel proposal was announced, and unseasonably mild weather conditions confused the birds. Week 8 saw the resignation of MCFC former boss Frank Clark - he heard about on the radio. The Bolton homosexuals convicted under indecency laws attracted national media attention and a solar powered parking meter appeared at Hollingworth Lake. Oasis behaved badly on their world tour, and Sean Olsson from Stockport got a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Blue skies turned to drizzle, and I caught this image of Jutland St.


MARCH BROUGHT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A NEW MOTORWAY - the M60, well most if was there already, they just renamed the existing highway. Also in week 8 Peel Holdings announced a plan for a privately funded Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre (the plan has since been dropped), councillors objected to Bernard Manning's plan for "lap dancing at his club in Harpurhey, and Steve Bennett's rocket crashed on Dartmoor. Overcast skies and drizzle turned to snow - I managed to catch some up on Blackstone Edge, near Rochdale.

A Continental Airlines plan spewed flames just before take off - the passengers were evacuated via the chutes. The Irish Festival got underway, and a new supermarket opened in Hulme. In week 11, the Irish Festival was in full swing with a parade through the city centre, and Greater Manchester Police were criticised over the high level of crime in the area, with talk of "rampant lawlessness". Council tax payers on either side of Upper Chorlton Road were preparing for widely differing Council Tax amounts - Manchester residents on the south east side of the road would pay more than the Trafford residents opposite. Fans at United staged a stand up protest, and Lisa Stansfield got into trouble for criticising the singing style of her Rochdale compatriot Gracie Fields. It was cold, with overcast skies.

Week 12 saw another drama at Manchester Airport, when an ATP landed with its nose on the runway. New signs were going up around the Northern Quarter. Overcast weather was replaced by bright sunshine - summer felt like it was definitely on the way. In week 13, Martin Bell protested alongside Alderley Edge residents in favour of a new bypass, and Deirdre Rasheed of Coronation St was imprisoned. Paul Nicholls starred in "City Central", set in Manchester, and a new pub in Worsley wasn't named the "Parson's Nose" out of respect for local residents..

APRIL ARRIVED WITH A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN to "Free the Weatherfield One" - things began to get ridiculous - T shirts were sold, and "Free Deirdre" messages were written on Peak District hillsides. Nick Centi was stabbed to death on Saturday 4th of April, police in Longsight moved into a new police building, and Strangeways was renamed "HMP Manchester" (the name doesn't seem to have stuck). Nick Burton was found guilty of murdering Rachel McGrath. April showers continued, and the daffodils were out - here are some at the Whitworth Art Gallery



EASTER WAS GLORIOUSLY SUNNY and it felt like the start of the summer, but soon snow was falling. I started to do more frequent updates during the week and featured a newly designed page. The Free Trade Hall public inquiry began, the New Music festival got underway, and Deirdre was freed. Snow caused chaos in Oldham, as children threw snowballs at cars. In week 17, Marketing Manchester was being reorganised, with a new Chief Executive. Jodrell Bank identified Einstein's Ring, and the Free Trade Hall inquiry continued. In week 18, Cllr Pat Karney said he thought the Trafford Centre would be a financial failure. The "Toast Rack" (283) gained listed status, and the Prime Minister visted Trafford General Hospital. April was the rainiest month for years.


MAY ARRIVED WITH A NEW TV SHOW "MADE IN MANCHESTER" - Manchester Royal started diagnosing via the Internet, and police staged a clampdown on crime in central Manchester. There was bright sunshine in Manchester with hot temperatures during week 20.

 

Kevin Kennedy, alias Curly Watts collapsed in Didsbury, and an Altrincham delivery driver did a tour of Liverpool - abducted at gunpoint. There was gridlock on the M60 after a lorry accident, and there was a turnout of only 10% at the local elections. At the end of May, the public were encouraged to take the train and a 22 year old from Chorlton was charged with the murder of Nick Centi. During May, I got a very important phone call, and in June, Eyewitness in Manchester joined Manchester Online.

THE FIRST UPDATE OF JUNE (week 23) featured a new look Eyewitness page to mark the move to Manchester Online, with a drizzly black and white picture of Trafford Road Bridge from 1988. There was also a Manchester Airport postcard, and a story about flight delays caused by an air traffic controllers' strike in Spain. Tilting trains to London were announced by Virgin Trains, and alien-looking parking machines arrived on Manchester streets (right). Marking the start of Digital Summer, Week 24 brought D.percussion, the all-day all-night music festival in Castlefield. It was two years since the bomb, and people looked forward to the re-opening of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Manchester City Council chiefs proposed an enlarged City of Manchester, gobbling up parts of neighbouring districts. Councillors in those districts gave the plan short shrift the following week. And the Nynex Arena became the Manchester Evening News Arena.

In week 25, thousands attended a charity music festival at Platt Fields, Digital Summer was in full swing, and on the morning of Thursday the 18th of June, Louise Woodward held a press conference at Manchester Airport. I was there, and took a very nice photo which I had placed online, along with a write up, by midday. Digital Summer was officially launched at the Bridgewater Hall, I was there too, and got some front row pictures , featured along with many others in my DS98 website. Outside, the sun failed to shine through - a pattern which would last for the rest of Digital Summer. The end of June was rainy, as my black and white photo of St Peters Square showed. Rail lines north of Victoria were to be renovated, it was announced, and Viagra made its first appearance on the black market in Manchester. In the World Cup, England didn't win but Michael Owen came out a hero, and David Beckham was sent off.

JULY ARRIVED with a bomb scare on Albert Square - it turned out to be a false alarm. Prostitute Julie Jones was found dead near Shudehill, a 12 year old girl gave birth, and the Manchester Evening News sported a new masthead. There was bad weather followed by good weather, followed by bad, and a lorry damaged a building in Longsight, (334) which later had to be demolished. Graduation Day happened at Manchester University 332, and my Manchester People interview with Tony Wilson went online, along with a portrait photo. Manchester City Councillors refused to approve Erotica 98 for GMEX.

AUGUST THE THIRD (31) brought public transport chaos as the Integrated Transport Policy document was signed, and Blackpool announced its worst season in years, due to bad weather. The "Awayday Robber" continued to elude police, and Manchester University developed a face-recognition system. In Bury there was a black pudding eating competition, and while Britain basked in record temperatures, Manchester was cloudy, though there was talk of sunny weather on the way

 

THE COMING OF SEPTEMBER MARKED THE END OF THE SUMMER but not Digital Summer, which resurfaced with a late wave of events. The National Waterways Festival (leftO brought hundreds of canal boats to Salford Quays, and the Commonwealth Games Stadium got the go-ahead. The long-awaited and controversial Trafford Centre opened on Thursday the 10th of September. The In The City music convention happened from the 12th to the 16th - the city was full of cool music industry types, and Manchester United supporters organised protests against the Rupert Murdoch takeover bid. Monday the 21st was highly memorable, as Manchester took over the baton from Kuala Lumpur and there was a party in Albert Square (below) in celebration. This was followed by the DTI (Dept of Trade & Industry) -sponsored "Manchester in Malaysia" week. Fashion designers, DJ's Tony Wilson and other representatives of Cool Mancunia, teamed up with trade representatives and people from Marketing Manchester, to celebrate the best of Manchester in Kuala Lumpur. The event was a huge success.


The Central Library announced it would be digitising 147,000 of its images thanks to a Lottery Grant. "Let them pull down the Hacienda" said Tony Wilson - Carolyn Blain of the Civic Society urged the new owners to keep it - they did. The latter part of September brought an Indian summer, with lots of warm and sunny weather - I was out and about with my camera - one of my favourite images was this misty one taken close to where I grew up, on Edgeley Road, Stockport.

OCTOBER STARTED OFF with the rejection of the Free Trade Hall proposal - it was back to the drawing board - literally, and the Council weren't too happy about it. Digital television arrived, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival took place in Manchester, and the weather started to feel autumnal. in Week 42 I featured my Failsworth postcard 548 . There was talk of racism in the Greater Manchester Police force, and the last of Hulme's deck access flats were knocked down. The end of October brought heavy rain to all parts of Britain, the rivers around Manchester were swollen, the canals too (572).

The sound of bangs was heard around Manchester - fireworks let off by impatient youths. The SnoWorld complex on the Salford side of the Irwell was announced. Other new developments to be built soon included a new hotel complex next to Old Trafford and Football World, a new football centre proposed for a location near the Trafford Centre.

NOVEMBER BROUGHT MORE HIGH WINDS and Stone Roses singer Ian Brown lost his appeal against imprisonment. Salford was said to be "sinking like the Titanic" , Northwest Tonight was voted the UK's best regional magazine programme (I wish I could see the others to compare), and Eyewitness in Manchester's page deliveries increased 67% since July. The rains continued and I got a very murky shot of Oxford Road. Remembrance Day was observed in St Peters Square and at other war memorials, and a new shopping centre was announced - The Gateway - to be located at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road. Myra Hindley lost her appeal against her "life means life" prison sentence, and Ian Fleming gave the gift of life to his wife Teresa in the form of a kidney. Christmas preparations went into high gear with the switching on of Manchester's Christmas Lights by Mick Hucknall on Sunday the 15th of November, and more and more shoppers tasted the delights of the recently opened Trafford Centre. The police announced trials of "hole in the wall" communication points, similar to cash machines. The turf at Manchester United was taken up after worms failed to aerate it, and I bought a new Macintosh G3, which improved my quality of life enormously! I featured pictures of Daisy Nook Country Park. The inflatable Father Christmas made his appearance on the Town Hall roof and the Royal Exchange Theatre re-opened. The killer of 5 year old Dillon Hull was given a life sentence and Merseyside visitor Cathy Hall was injured by a missile thrown from a bridge over the M602. 3 year old Charlotte Jones went missing, and was found by police on waste ground north of Warrington. As the shopping wars hotted up, United played Barcelona - the result was 3-3. I got some nice high-level shots from the big wheel in Piccadilly (644). On the last day of November, I was featured in a full-page article in the MEN.

DECEMBER STARTED WITH SCHOOL PERFORMANCE CHARTS, Manchester was both top and bottom of the list. A consortium of teachers at St Thomas Aquinas school in Chorlton won £9m on the Lottery. The Lowry was topped out, and Jim Seligman resigned as Chief Executive of Manchester 2002. A monorail plan for the Trafford Centre was announced, and Dr Harold Shipman, the Hyde doctor charged with murder, was featured repeatedly in all media. Demolition started on the Capitol Theatre, 650. The weather was sunny and misty on alternate days. As Christmas approached, people speculated on how much business the Trafford Centre would take away from surrounding shopping centres. Chris Ofili was given the Turner Prize, and a ski slope opened on Albert Square. As air strikes were launched on Iraq, there was a mixture of support and protest in Manchester. At Gimberts warehouse, a huge collection of ex stage and tv props 680 awaited auction, and upmarket Hermes store opened its doors on King Street. Manchester was on TV a lot, and I started work on a major extension to Eyewitness in Manchester

WITH ONLY A COUPLE OF DAYS TO GO before we say goodbye to 1998, let me complete the year by summarising a few stories from the past 7 days. Recent kidney transplant patients Ian Fleming and Teresa Dravk flew to England for Christmas - they appeared on the National Midweek Lottery programme on Wenesday the 23rd. On Thursday, legal history was made when a stipendiary magistrate approved a curfew order on convicted rapist Michael Gordon - he must spend his nighttime hours within the confines of his home. A group of women at a male stripper night in Stockport mistook real firefighters for the next stripper act and started chasing them, ITV teletext reported. The firemen had been called to the scene following an alarm. The women gave up when they saw the fire engine.

The 2002 games face a deficit of up to 50m, it was reported, but Games chairman Robert Hough played down the report. Six men were arrested in central Manchester after a disturbance along Deansgate, and very early on Thursday morning, Manchester's celebrity prisoner, Ian Brown was released from Strangeways. He's reported to have headed home to wife and family in Lymm. By the way, profuse apologies for saying in last week's newsletter that Bez was in the Stone Roses. He was of course in the Happy Mondays.

Coronation Street turned out not to be the most popular show on Christmas Day, it was Men Behaving Badly but the Street's "Deirdre" was featured on "This Is Your Life". Nevertheless MEN readers voted overwhelmingly that they weren't impressed with Christmas tv offerings. Concerts have included Christmas Love Classics and Opera Gala Night, and tonight the Halle at the Bridgewater Hall.
Child prostitutes are no longer to be treated as criminals, it was announced today, under a new scheme piloted in Manchester. And a lawyer acting for Louise Woodward says the elder brother of baby Matthew Eappen should have been implicated, as part of the defence.
A family survived a house fire at their home in Gatley - it happened on Sunday - pregnant mother Julie Harvey left hospital today. Husband and baby are well, but three younger children are still in hospital.

Storms have been battering north west parts of the UK since Boxing Day. They are similar to the ones we experienced a year ago. Power supplies around Manchester have been mostly unaffected, unlike other parts of the UK. I haven't been out with my camera - with the exception of Sunday it's been cloudy and unphotogenic!

OK, AS THE WIND BLOWS OUTSIDE the EWM thermometer reading is 9 celsius, 48 fahrenheit - mild, but it feels cold due to the windchill - I'll wrap up Eyewitness in Manchester for 1998 (and I'll wrap up when I go out tomorrow too!)- Yes it really has been an eventful year in Manchester, full of ups and downs, but we appear to be on course. Many new and exciting things are happening on this website as well in this city in 1999.

Have a very Happy New Year, wherever you are!

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