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Newsletter 1998 Week 11Monday the 16th of March 1998

River Irwell Manchester cathedral panorama
Lots of interesting links

The Evening News Website
Graphics-rich young peoples guide to Manchester
Official website of the group campaigning to save the city's heritage, and encourage the best in contemporary building

Chorlton Web
Community Website

Rebuilding Manchester
With pictures before and after the bomb


Home Page of the author

Greater Manchester Police have been criticised over the high level of crime in the area. Councillor Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, accused police in Manchester of failing to tackle the problem of "rampant lawlessness" in the city's night club scene. And Salford City Council's leader Bill Hinds said GMP leader David Willmot should be "called to account" for the "cancer of crime dragging us down and suffocating us", (as reported on the Evening News front page on Friday). Earlier in the week, I'd heard from an Eccles resident that crime was "out of control" in Salford.

On Friday night I experienced some Manchester nightlife, at the Athenaeum, and at Rothwells, both in listed Victorian buildings now converted into swish pubs by day and noisy night clubs after dark. I saw no trouble, though I'm sure the burly-looking door staff (you're not supposed to say "bouncer" any more), nowadays equipped with two way radio ear pieces, and dressed in "power" overcoats, would be well able to deal with any problems if they arose.

Manchester's Irish festival is in full swing. Yesterday there was a parade from the World Irish Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill to the Irish Festival Market on Albert Square. The market was very similar to the one held last year, and had stalls selling Irish food, knitwear, souvenirs and other items. Inside the Town Hall, there was an Irish food counter, with sausage and Guinness casserole and Kerry Pie. I found the casserole tasty but not very filling and a little overpriced at £4.50. The food was prepared by the Town Hall caterers.

With one day to go before Chancellor Gordon Brown announces his budget, local council tax payers are calculating how much they'll have to pay to Town Halls in Manchester and the 9 other Greater Manchester districts. Along Upper Chorlton Road, houses facing each other will be paying widely differering amounts. On one side, householders pay council tax to Manchester, while on the other, the money goes to Trafford. There's a difference of around three hundred pounds in what residents on either side of Upper Chorlton Road will have to pay starting in April. Can you guess which one is higher? Yes, Manchester!

Fans at Manchester United's ground staged a "stand up" protest on Saturday morning during the match against Arsenal. United has been among the strictest in enforcing the ban on standing, which was imposed after the Hillsborough disaster. And bosses at United have said they weren't "duped" over the transfer of Andy Cole from Newcastle. Cole sustained an injury requiring a shin splints operation, and some have suggested Newcastle knew about his condition and kept quiet about it. But a United spokesman said the story was "nonsense".

Meanwhile at Manchester City, Francis Lee has announced he is quitting as chairman and a director. David Bernstein will take over in his place. He said his resignation was connected with the recent problems being experienced by the club.

Bolton may get its own university - at least that's what campaigners there want: They think Bolton Institute of Higher Education should be given university status. A rally took place at Bolton Football Club's Reebok Stadium on Saturday. Manchester Polytechnic was upgraded to Manchester Metropolitan University several years ago.

It's five years since IRA terrorists killed two children in Warrington. Jonathan Ball, who was three, and Tim Parry, 12, died in the attack. They are remembered on a plaque in Warrington shopping centre. And on Saturday a memorial service was held at Manchester Cathedral, after which some of the congregation went on a "peace march" to Warrington.

Royalty visited the city on Saturday, in the person of HRH Prince Andrew, who visited the last production of the Royal Exchange Theatre company before the move back to their home at the Royal Exchange. They have performed at the Upper Campfield Market, at the end of Deansgate, since the IRA bomb attack in 1996. Later the Prince visited the Royal Exchange itself, and saw the interior, still undergoing refurbishment, and the impressive new glass dome. The Royal Exchange theatre will re-open in November.

Lisa Stansfield got into trouble with Rochdale residents, including ex-Liberal MP Cyril Smith, for her comments about celebrated Rochdale singer and film star, the late Gracie Fields. On the Mrs Merton show, Lisa Stansfield said "she sings like somebody has stepped on a cat". Gracie's original name was also Stansfield, but Lisa doesn't like comparisons to go any further.

It's been a week of cold temperatures and mostly overcast skies this week, hence no new photos - but I've dug some out of the archive for you. Yesterday the sun broke through for the Irish Market, but it clouded up again later. Today, again, it was overcast and cold. The forecast is 40% risk of drizzle, temperatures around 10 degrees celsius, mid-fifties fahrenheit.

  • Chancellor Gordon Brown prepares to announce his budget
  • A remand prisoner at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland is murdered.
  • Another woman says she was the victim of sexual misconduct by President Clinton

Words & pictures ©Aidan O'Rourke
The news items featured on this page are abstracted from local and national media reports. While I make every effort to ensure the information is as accurate as possible, I assume no responsibility for errors, whether on my part or on the part of the media sources. Please notify me of any inaccuracies, and I will correct them immediately.


Dear Aidan,

Seems that you can't get away from Manchester - even down under in Australia. I have a mate of mine here from Ashton-Under-Lyne (though he himself is a migrant - being based in London) and feeling a little homesick we ventured to see what the net could provide on Manchester and came up with your wonderful site.

We can only say that we are full of praise for your efforts, and obvious talent, though as a committed Southerner - who has migrated to Oz- I have to have some cynicism about how great you have portrayed Manchester - knowing that it rains a lot! The photos are brill - do you use a digital camera?

The following is a note from my mate but I wish you the best of luck and will 'look-in' on a regular basis.


Martin J Clifford

I am particularly interested in Manchester's Irish past and currently find myself tracing my own geneology, which takes me all around St Patrick's, Livsey Street, which I believe was once ran by the Christian Brothers, right up to Monsall. My research being based predominantly upon ordinance survey maps of the time and Census Data.

I am very interested in the fate of the derelict church, St Michael's, I think, just off Great Ancoats Street, and the surrounding warehouses and buildings, and think that this would make an excellent heritage park much like Castlefield, if revitalised with much needed funding, any ideas? It's not that far from George Leigh Street and luckily someone had the foresight to save that particular terrace from demolition .


John Craig

p.s. I get a tear to my eye when I look at your photos! Though I am getting some sun here!

Thanks very much indeed for your wonderful message. Cynical about how I portray Manchester? I just photograph what's in front of me! I use film and scan the negatives myself.

As far as I know, St Michael's Church was demolished, though St Peter's been bought up by a Trust, and the whole area is to be redeveloped. More info in Forum magazine which as a Civic Society member, you can receive a copy of. More info on my official Civic Society website.

Hiya Aidan,

My wife Ann and I have just returned home to live, retired (home being Monton, Eccles). We left in 1963, lived in Canada through the 60's, then in Ipswich, Suffolk since. Just been introduced to your 'excellent service' by my brother, Graham, in Waterloo, Canada.
If any of your readers need any help in making contact with anyone in the Eccles area I would be only too willing to help. Bye for now,
Maurice Connor.

Thanks. Eccles readers take note!


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