PHOTOS plus one from the Eyewitness in Manchester archive.
This update of Eyewitness in Manchester is prepared for you
using the iBook laptop computer whilst sitting on a night
train in Europe on my way back to Manchester!
WHAT IS THIS HIDEOUS MONSTER spewing water from his gaping
mouth? He is of course one of the Gothic-inspired gargoyles
which adorn the Victoria Fountain in Albert Square.
Silhouetted behind him are John Bright, distinguished Manchester
person from the 19th century, and beyond him, the memorial
to Prince Albert.
The restoration of Albert Square is one of local authority's
recent success stories - The Victoria Fountain languished
in Heaton Park from the 1920's until it was re-installed in
its original location in June 1997, looking almost brand new.
Things might not have gone so well for the Albert Memorial
- there were proposals in the 1980's to dismantle it - one
councillor is reported to have suggested it should be ground
up and used as aggregate for an inner ring road. Luckily this
never happened - and as for the inner ring road, at the time
of writing (July 2000) it is still incomplete.
HISTORY IS A DIRTY WORD for some people - in mid-2000, it
figured on Stockport College's much-publicised list of politically
In July 2000, history is about to disappear from Piccadilly
- This statue of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the British police
force, origin of the terms 'peelers' and 'bobby' was put up
in the 1850's, when the infirmary stood just nearby.
The base is flanked by two female figures celebrating the
greatness of Manchester. This statue survived the demolition
of the infirmary in the 1900's, two world wars, the blitz,
post-war redevelopment, the swinging sixties, the crisis-laden
70's, the politicised 80's and the resurgent nineties, only
to fall victim to a turn-of-the-millennium 'designer trendy'
makeover, planned and commissioned by councillors in Manchester
I wonder where the statue will be removed to and if, one
day, like the Victoria Fountain, it will be restored to its
rightful place again.
ARKWRIGHT HOUSE overlooks St Mary's Parsonage, and was given
an exterior cleaning during 1999. This superb neo-classical
office building, built in white stone, is a nineteen thirties
classic, a modern building but one which looks back to an
earlier age. It would be a good place to do some location
filming for "Hercule Poirot".
In the foreground we see the roses of St Mary's Parsonage,
so called because of the church of St Mary which was taken
down in the 19th century.
LITTLE MORETON HALL, north of Congleton Cheshire, is one
of England's most magnificent medieval halls.
It's built in half-timbered style. In the Victorian era,
there was a vogue for the 'olde English' half-timbered look,
with the timbers painted boack. The 'higgledy piggledy' appearance,
caused by subsidence in the foundations, tells us this is
a genuine medieval building. Nowadays, the timbers are left
to weather, in authentic mediveal style, rather than being
painted black, as the Victorians did.
The house threatened to collapse, but in the 1990's , the
building was secured by the addition of metal cradles inside
Little Moreton Hall is administered by the National Trust
and is approximately 30 miles (50km) south of Manchester
LONDON ROAD is seen here looking down from the station which
used to be known by that name, until 1960 when it became Manchester
We are looking north towards Piccadilly. The Joshua Hoyle
warehouse, converted into a hotel, is in the centre right.
On the left are the Metrolink lines leading to the tram stop
in Piccadilly undercroft.
And just below us to the right is Store Street, which passes
underneath Piccadilly approach, and is reported to be built
over one of Manchester's lost rivers.
The white building is the last remaining of a group of ramshackle
19th century houses. It's home to an Indian restaurant.
THE BUS STOP on Oxford Road is familiar to thousands of students
and other south Manchester residents, who wait here for buses
along Oxford Road.
A 'Magic Bus' 86 is just about to depart for Chorlton, To
our right is the Palace Hotel, formerly the Refuge Building.
The red brick building is the rear of the Cornerhouse.
MANCHESTER AIRPORT TERMINAL TWO is seen here from the top
floor of the multi-storey car park. You'll have seen this
view many times as it's the perfect viewpoint - even the wire
mesh has had a hole torn in it to enable optimal positioning
Since expansion of the airport in 1974, plane spotters have
had to be content with a more distant view of the planes from
the top of the terminal, rather than from the top of the piers.
The aircaft seen here show the importandce of charter operations
for Manchester Airport. The two Britannia Boeing 757's operate
holiday charter flights mainly to the Mediterranean.
INSIDE TERMINAL ONE, passengers and their friends have a
great view over the apron from the upper floor coffee bar.
As a child I remember looking out the window of the old main
concourse, and looking at the planes. Forty years later I
still enjoy the doing the same thing.
A BOEING 737 - it might be British Airways - is about to
touch down at Manchester Airport on the old runway.
The runway lights shine north east guiding pilots on their
final approach over Stockport, Cheadle and Heald Green.
Manchester Airport has some of the most advanced instrument
landing systems in the world, so it's possible for planes
to land automatically.
This viewing location is a favourite vantage point for plane-spotters
- next to the junction of Ringway Road and Shadow Moss Road,
Wythenshawe. I aimed the camera through the emergency gate.
A PLANE IS CAPTURED during the last few moments of its final
approach to Manchester Airport. I think it's a Boeing 757.
The pictures should be read from top to bottom left to right,
This composite demonstrates the 'multiple exposure' feature
of the Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera - it takes a series
of pictures and arranges them automatically in 'tiles'.
The action captured here represents about ten seconds in
THE ROOF OF THE PICCADILLY STATION train shed is seen here
in all its glory, following completion of a multi-million
pound renovation job in early 2000.
The building dates from 1842, and though the architects have
kept closely to the original design, the newly recreated shiny
glass and metal roof looks thoroughly contemporary.
The area in the lower right is to be used for a much needed
revamp of the main concourse, which dates from 1960.
WE ARE ON THE PLATFORM at Stockport Station, just 6 minutes
train ride from Manchester Piccadilly station. London Euston
is appoximately two and a half hours away down the line. The
distance is about 180 miles or 300km.
This is the 15.15 departure to London Euston, pulling out
of the station on Thursday 27th of July, 2000.
Above the station we can see the distinctive outline of the
old Armoury, now used by the Territorial Army.
This building is one of the most familiar sights from my
childhood, as I went to primary school at Our Lady's, Shaw
Heath, just two minutes walk from here.
WE RETURN TO 'OLD' MANCHESTER in this photograph, taken on
Collyhurst Road, next to the railway viaduct leading to Victoria
Station. Charter Street Ragged School is just under the bridge
on the right, and through the centre left bridge is St Michael's
flags, next to where the church of the same name used to stand.
I've changed the colour of the lights from the orange of
contemporary street lamps to the dim blue of the ones I remember
from before the 1970's.
At night, this area is laden with the atmosphere of the 19th
century. People used to live in back to back terraced houses
in the side streets very close to here. They were some of
Manchester's worst slums and were pulled down in the 1930's.
I hope this area remains as it is, a grim but atmospheric
reminder of Manchester as it was until quite recently.
As the train rushes towards the Belgian border, it's time
to put the iBook to sleep, concluding this update of Eyhewitness
in Manchester. More pictures are in preparation and will be
uploaded in a week or so.