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THIS UPDATE features some views in and around Manchester, most of them were captured recently but a couple of them are taken from the archives. Though much of Manchester is flat, there are some fantastic vantage points, either from the tops of high buildings or hills. Here I present some of my favourite views from around Manchester.

MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL and the Britannic Buildings are seen here on Satuday 27th of October 2001. At the moment there is a lot of building work in progress on both sides of the cathedral. In the lower right hand corner we can see part of the Shambles West redevelopment site. In front of the Britanninc buildings the area is fenced off for renovation and building work. This is Manchester's so-called medieval quarter and will house an exciting new museum of Manchester history.

On the far left we can just see the facade of Victoria Station. On the far right can be seen the dome of the Corn Exchange, now the Triangle shopping centre. The CIS building is visible above right.

Let's not forget that the statue of Oliver Cromwell, now sited in Wythenshawe Park, once stood roughly where the advertising column is. The street in front of the cathedral is Victoria Street, and the one on the right is Cateaton St. We are at the end of Deansgate, standing at the top of an elevated ramp, providing us with an excellent view of the oldest part of Manchester.

THE ARNDALE CENTRE, built and opened during the 1970's, looks as dreary and depressing as ever, from the outside at least. Here we are standing high above Shude Hill, leading to Withy Grove, and looking towards the Arndale Centre tower. The wedge-shaped building with the crane above is is Number One Deansgate, a bold new development of luxury apartments, offices and shops. On the right is Highland House, former home of the Inland Revenue, now housing apartments and a hotel.

On the roof of the Arndale can be seen the buildings which in the 1970's provided some of the first apartments in the city centre.

EWM says: The Arndale Centre car park's lifts and staircases are a disgrace. They are dirty, ugly and often can't cope with the number of visitors. In comparison with shopping malls in the United States and the Middle East (and another one closer to home!) the Arndale Centre's access facilities leave a lot to be desired. Let's hope this will be remedied as part of the current redevelopment.

WE ARE LOOKING from the Arndale Centre car park, high above High Street. In front of us is a rooftop view over the Northern Quarter. On the left is the Daily Express, now Express Networks Building. In the middle can be seen the cream-coloured tiled facade of a building on Oldham St. Over to the right can be seen the mills of Ancoats. In the distance, beyond the pair of disused blocks of flats near Miles Platting,, can be seen the hills east of Stalybridge.

EWM says: I love rooftop views - they gives us an alternative and often nostalgia-tinged view of the city and allow us to see landscape normally hidden at street level.

WE ARE NOW LOOKING OUT of a window on the second floor of the Express Networks Building, at the George Leigh Street end, looking down Newton Street towards Piccadilly. A double decker bus operated by Dennis's is just about to turn right into Great Ancoats Street. The large building on the left is the former Royal Mail sorting office, now being converted into apartments.

At the end of Newton Street is Piccadilly, and Piccadilly Plaza. The massive rectangular outline of the Piccadilly Hotel seems to block the end of Newton Street, towering above the older red brick buildings on either side.


THIS IS THE VIEW from the Express Networks Building along George Leigh Street, Ancoats. On the left is a row of terraced houses, home to a thriving city centre residential community. Further along on the left is the Victoria dwellings, built over 100 years ago and the first municipally owned and maintained dwellings in the country. In the distance is the chimney of Victoria Mill Miles Platting, now converted into apartments.

In the last couple of years, renovations have been carried out in Ancoats. Sadly, the contemporary style street furniture is out of character with the buildings, and the light coloured paving stones don't match the colour of the surroundings either.

EWM says: I dislike the design of the lamps, with their functionally redundant diagonal strut. They are also out of keeping with the character of the area. For me, the test of how well a historic area has been maintained is how easy it would be to film a historical drama. Here it would be impossible.

THIS IS THE VIEW from the Mathematics Building on Oxford Road, looking north towards the city centre. I have annotated the large size picture has been annotated to show the names of the main buildings. Move the cursor over the picture to see the annotated version. Interesting to note that since I took this photograph, Bruntwood Properties painted the south west wall of Portland Tower yellow, as part of promotional activities for the Commonwealth Games.

WE ARE LOOKING out from the Arndale Centre car park above Cannon Street on the north west side. This view, often ignored is quite remarkable, as it draws our eyes along the Irwell valley north west towards Bolton and the graceful outline of Winter Hill.

A wooded hill in the distance falls away steeply towards the centre of the picture. This is at Clifton, overlooking the River Irwell, which meanders down from Bury via Radcliffe and Ringley, through Salford and arriving in the city centre below Manchester Cathedral, whose tower we can see over to the left. The Corn Exchange (Triangle) and its dome are visible centre left, and we can also see the chimney stacks of Chetham's School. On the right is the newest addition to the city centre skyline, the Urbis Centre, currently under construction. On the right is the roof of the Printworks entertainment centre, and in front of us are the pitched roofs of the Arndale Centre rooftop apartments.

WE ARE IN A FIELD just off the A6 near Bolton. We are looking towards Horwich and Winter Hill. Two modern additions to the landscape dominate this remarkable view. On the hilltop is the Winter Hill transmitter, which broadcasts to a wide area of north west England.

In the lower right is the futuristic Reebok Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers football club.

WERNETH LOW is a place that's worth coming to again and again for it's stunning panoramic views over Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and even as far as Shropshire and north Wales.

In this view we can clearly see the curved outlines of the hills of north Wales, approximately 50 miles (80km) distant. Below us is Stockport town centre, with its blocks of flats to the north (right) and the south (left) of the town centre. The white spot one third the way across the lower part of the picture is the Pear Mill, next to the River Goyt, not far from the town centre. Look closely and you can see the Pyramid building, centre right, and the railway viaduct.

We can see a plane on its final approach to Manchester Airport. In five minutes or so it will have touched down at Ringway, some seven miles (11km) away over to the left of the picture.

EWM says: The view captured here represents an area covering fifty miles (80km) around. If you look on the map of Britain, you'll see that this area accounts for around one third of the width of England from the Wirral and north Wales in the west, to the Humber estuary on the east coast. Amazing.

ALDERLEY EDGE, 15 miles (22km) south of Manchester offers fantastic views over the fields of Cheshire to the north and east. Here we are at Castle Rock, looking north towards Manchester. Now late October, darkness is falling earlier and earlier each day. By the time I reached the Edge on the day I took this photograph, it was nearly nightfall. The weather is misty and murky, and the clouds are hanging low over the landscape. Normally you can see planes landing at Manchester Airport, but visibility is only a mile or so at the moment. As night falls, the trees are becoming eerier and eerier.

Time to return to the car and go home for tea!

Another EWM update will follow shortly. Please send your comments, memories and impressions to EWM via the reader messages form below.

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