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Newsletter 1998 Week 14Monday the 6th of April 1998

Manchester Piccadilly Station
Lots of interesting links

Manchester Online
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

Manchester's famous! The city has been featured on national tv screens and in the media this week - first the Coronation Street "Weatherfield One" campaign, as mentioned last week, then the BBC1 police drama "City Central", screened for the first time on Saturday, also the BBC1 current issues show "Here and Now" screened live nationally from Manchester, and presented by Juliet Morris.

Yes, fiction and real-life seem to have merged - On Market Street you can buy T shirts bearing the words "Free Deirdre", but in the back window of a car on Upper Brook Street, I saw a poster saying "Hang Diedre Racheed" (and no apologies for the spelling). And in "City Central", starring Paul Nicholls, it was a bit like "Prime Suspect 5" revisited, with gritty urban crime and domestic violence in a familiar setting. Mancunians will have enjoyed playing "Spot the Location", with Castlefield, Corporation Street and Piccadilly instantly recognisable. Will Manchester get like New York, with camera crews on every street corner?

While crime in New York has fallen sharply, here it never seems to be out of the news. On Whitworth Street on Saturday night, 27 year old Nick Centi, a bank worker, was stabbed to death after trying to intervene in an argument. It's the fifth murder to have taken place on the city's streets recently, and the third on Whitworth Street. The incident happened outside Deansgate (formerly Knott Mill) station. One suggestion to alleviate trouble is to stagger club closing times. Most close around 2am, causing thousands of people to spill out onto the streets - causing "flashpoints".

Police in Longsight have a new building - let's hope the modern working environment - looks like a cross between a Norwegian farmhouse and a Mormon chapel to me - will help them to catch more criminals.

And Strangeways prison, renamed HMP Manchester, has been praised in a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons. The facility has been extensively renovated, and now holds just over a thousand prisoners, down from 1600 at the time of the riot and roof occupation which I remember witnessing eight years ago (from the outside, I hasten to add!)

Stockport Road and new Longsight Police Stn

Nicholas Burton, from New Mills, has been found guilty of murdering Rachel McGrath in Bramhall, Stockport, last year (see 1997 Newsletter weeks 18 and 19). The jury at Liverpool Crown Court took less than an hour to reach their decision. He was also convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and threats to kill. Burton claimed he had been insane at the time of the murder, but the jury rejected this. So 11 months after the crime, the killer will go to jail, and life will probably mean life - the judge has said he is considering three concurrent life sentences.

Crime was again in the news on Friday, when the Home Secretary Jack Straw came to the Langworthy estate, the area known as Salford's most notorious crime black spot. He walked through the streets, and met Salford council leader Bill Hinds. As reported in Friday's Evening News, Mr Straw said: "I have been shocked by what I've seen". But he said that new legislation would enable the police and council to take tougher action against juvenile crime and anti-social tenants.

Tragedy struck at Humphrey Park station on Tuesday when Paul Gilbody, aged 12, was killed by an express train. Paul was a pupil at Lostock High School in Stretford. Many children play on railway lines around Manchester, apparently heedless to the danger. Two weeks ago, teenager Matthew Clancy narrowly missed being killed by a train at Werneth Station Oldham. A campaign has been launched to urge youngsters to keep away from railway lines.

Zero tolerance is a recently US-imported buzz word, used to refer to the technique of stopping crime from escalating by nipping it in the bud. It has also been used by Manchester City Council for their Zero Tolerance of Violence against Women campaign. A large letter Z appears in posters, notices, on the side of refuse trucks and even in the middle of the M56/A560 motorway roundabout in Wythenshawe.

But at Wright Robinson Sports College, Abbey Lane, Gorton, the term has taken on a whole new meaning - zero tolerance of dark blue shoes, nonregulation jewellery, or anything else that contravenes the school's strict dress code. As reported in Friday's Evening News, Headmaster Nevill Beischer says the uniform makes all 1500 pupils equal, and he wears it himself too. But some parents have objected to their children being sent out of classes for wearing dark blue shoes instead of black ones.

How do all those schoolkids in America and all over Europe manage without a school uniform? And I'm not sure how wearing a school cap and short trousers helped me in my personal adolescent development. As for girls uniforms, as seen in schools round Manchester these days, it seems to be a universal "Which girl has the shortest skirt" competition. After five years in the Middle East, it's quite a shock!

At a ceremony in the Town Hall on Friday, three awards were given by the Civic Society for good urban design. The Trinity footbridge (also known as the Calatrava Bridge) was singled out for the Renaissance Award, the office development at 201 Deansgate won the Victorian Award for Civic Pride, and Angela Campbell opticians of King Street was given the Shop Front Award.

Trinity (Calatrava) Bridge in fog

It's been a bit of a gloomy newsletter this week, but to cheer us all up, we can look forward to a musical feast coming our way later this week in the voluptuous shape of Baby, Posh, Mel C, Ginger and Mel B, alias the Spice Girls, who are giving sell-out concerts at the Nynex Arena. Three of the group are from the North, and Victoria Spice is engaged to David Beckham so they assure Manchester fans the concert will be like coming home. Unfortunately I won't be attending - too busy with Eyewitness in Manchester.

Waiting for good weather to take some nice promotional style photos for Eyewitness in Manchester has been a frustrating business. All week it's been leaden clouds and rain, then on Friday afternoon, the sun came out for a while. On Saturday more rain, and on Sunday intermittent downpours, and thunder too. The April showers are set to continue, with continuing cold winds from the north. The daffodils are starting to wither now, and the only decent daffodil shot I got was this one of the Whitworth Art Gallery. Here's hoping for a sunny Easter weekend.

Whitworth Art Gallery

  • With a Northern Ireland peace settlement "tantalisingly close", a UK-bound car loaded with explosives is intercepted by Irish police at Dun Laoghaire.
  • Child killer Sidney Cooke spent his first night out of prison in a police cell in London
  • Earth Summit won the Grand National

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.

Tuned in to your newsletter I found it very interesting I have contacted you before but because I travel all over Canada and the U.S.A.I dont get the time I would like to spend on the internet it was nice seeing all the old photos my wife and I will be home in June 98 for a wedding not been back since 1987.We use to live in Blackley.Have a good day.

Frank Willis

Location: Perth Western Australia

Connection with Manchester: Joan and I were born and raised in M/C Joan was a nurse at Ancoats Hospital (what happened to it?) I was a member of Manchester Cathedral Choir and educated at Chethams Hospital. We left for OZ 18 years ago.

What do you like about the feature?: The whole thing is fantastic. We look forward to each issue and the black and white shots are truly evocotive of the M/c we knew not the shiny new.

What could be improved?: Please send two Sharples meat and potato pies from their Gorton Cross St shop on the web each Saturday lunch time

Requested Photographs: How about the old school which always manages to get chopped off the terrific shots of the Cathedral and surrounds.

Ken & Joan Steele

Location: Eccles

Connection with Manchester: Born and bred !

What could be improved?: Fine as is !!

David Robinson

Hi Aidan,

I miss Coronation Street as it isn't on regular TV here in Perth (Western Australia). It is on a cable TV channel I believe.

IIsn't Deidre Rasheed Deidre Barlow as was? The last time I saw the Street she was a councillor and I think she was single. Who did she marry to get the name Rasheed and what has she done to be in jail??

IKeep up the great pics. If you get out as far as New Moston, I would love to see a picture of St Chad's Church which I attended as a child.

From a beautiful autumnal Perth, WA,

Kaye Hawley

Sorry, I don't watch "Corrie" as I'm too busy with Eyewitness. Could any fan out there answer Kaye's questions and provide URL's to Coronation St fan websites?


Just a thought from one of your readers.... Have you considered applying for lottery funding for your page, after all it is a public service. I'm sure you could easily drum up some support from the readers.

Ben Saunders

Seems like a good idea. Any further ideas from people "out there" would be most appreciated

Location: Selby, North Yorkshire, England. Yeh, I know I'm living in enemy territory, but don't tell the Yorkshire people, I'm really a spy! :-)

Connection with Manchester: Lived there for a good part of my life, the last few years in Rusholme, curry center of England (ignore Bradford, thats in Yorkshire! :-) )

Which feature is the best?: Always a good roundup of local news, and with the photos always relevant to the subject.

What could be improved?: An extra field in the form to cope with comments about the news. Like this one: "Why does it always appear that the North loses out to the South in Lottery Funding. This latest rejection for Lottery funding for the War Museum is yet another in a line of rejections. What were the reasons given for the rejection, or is it a secret? Manchester needs more imaginative proposals like the War Museum to further improve it's image."

Another minor point of improvement is the couple of spelling mistakes in the caption for the top picture and the gramtical error in the pub sign part.

Photo requests: Tommy the cat! Should be a mascot for Eyewitness in Manchester!

Jon Axtell

Readers, Jon used to live in the apartment below me, and used to take care of the resident cat. Yes, Jon, some useful suggestions. Sorry about the errors, of course you never make spelling or grammar mistakes, do you?

Join Aidan on his Manchester Photo Walk.
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