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SOME RECENT 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 incorrect words.

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 Town Hall.

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 the walls.

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 Piccadilly.

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 of cameras.

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 time.

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.

Join Aidan on his Manchester Photo Walk.
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