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Issue number 45Monday the 24th of November 1997


Cold-blooded thuggery has again succeeded in stealing this weekend's Manchester headlines. On Saturday night, a man was knifed in Whitworth Park. He was rushed across the road to Manchester Royal Infirmary, but died a few hours later. The victim was a Taiwanese Chemistry student at UMIST (apologies for an earlier error - I wrote on Monday that he was at Manchester Metropolitan University 28 Nov1997).

During the summer, I witnessed the work of thieves who broke into a student hall of residence on Grosvenor Street and made off with the possessions of foreign students who had just arrived.

A few weeks ago a man was stabbed to death only a few yards away on Oxford Road, All Saints. And now this.

Risk of street violence is a sad fact of life here, but I have to emphasise that the risk is low.

That's still no comfort to the relatives of the victim, who came to Manchester to study for higher qualifications, and ended up dead at the hands of a Mancunian thug.

There has been a development in another murder case - that of the 8 year old James Lavis, who disappeared six months ago. Bus driver Darren Vickers, thought to have given the boy a ride on his bus, then dropped him off, has been charged with the child's murder. The bizarre aspect of the story is that in the early stages of the enquiry, Vickers, for a time, befriended the parents of the dead child and offered moral support. He also pleaded his innocence to the press and to tv, though he subsequently interviewed, then released again by the police. Now it looks like he will be remaining in police custody.

There is one other less happy item to get out of the way, that of James Smith, who was sentenced last Wednesday to 20 years in prison for the torture and murder of Kelly Ann Bates at their home in Gorton. I won't go into the details of what he did.

And now to, as they say on tv, "other news". Cable and Wireless, which recently took over Nynex, the telecommunications company with strong links to Manchester, is to increase its staff in Wythenshawe by 300. The good news was counterbalanced with the announcement later in the week that another Wythenshawe manufacturer, Dresser Rand, were to move production elsewhere.

The uncertainty over the Eurostar link with the continent continues. The service should have been running by now, but there have been continuing delays. Now there are reports that Eurostar are to sell to Virgin the rolling stock which should have been used for the Manchester Paris service. Instead, the Manchester to London link will be improved, but without direct trains to the Continent. Eurostar maintain the Manchester to Paris service is to go ahead as planned.

Better news on the Manchester to Glossop/Hadfield line: Brand new rolling stock was introduced a few weeks ago, improving the quality of service considerably.

Thanks to an order from Boeing, the British Aerospace Chadderton plant is to supply machined wing components for the new generation Boeing 737 from March 1998. The work will help secure the future of the 1800 employees there.

This picture, and the one of Oldham St was taken using the new Kodak film TMAX 400 CN, a black and white film which is developed and printed using colour (C41) chemistry. It's excellent.

The atmosphere in Manchester is getting more and more Christmassy, despite the mild temperatures. A festive ice rink has been set up, this year in Piccadilly Gardens. It was opened by Torville and Dean. The weather has been far from icy, with lots of cloudy, overcast weather. Friday and Saturday were bright and sunny. Sunday started sunny, but became hazy, then overcast. Today it's been overcast, with some rain this evening. Temperatures are forecast to stay on the cold side.

  • The Tories retain Beckenham with a reduced majority. The LibDems gain Winchester.
  • Gary Glitter is arrested for possession of child pornography
  • Michael Hutchence of INXS is found dead in a Sydney hotel room
Have a look at the BBC for today's UK and world news.
MANCHESTER PUB QUIZ sponsored by Vini Maguire (
Nobody guessed last week's pubs, they were the City Arms and The Vine Inn, situated at the bottom end of Fountain Street, not far from the Town Hall. This week's pub is on Deansgate, and the name might remind you of a famous American children's novel.

Who was the person that said Toronto was superior to Manchester? Not this correspondent:

I am a Mancunian student who has relocated to Canada for a year, and finding your site today really cheered me up. I'm actually in Toronto now, and even though it's bigger and more affluent it doesn't compare with Manchester; it hasn't got the warmth or the character. Keep up the good work!

From Richard Lawson (

Hello Aidan. My name is Graham Connor, I live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I left ECCLES in 1966. I would like to thank you for your web page. I am very new to this age of computers.Your recent news that included Ash St. in Salford was of interest, due to the fact my cousin's daughter once lived there, and I have been in that area many times.

Graham Connor (

PS: Ash Street, Salford is no longer pink! Workmen were hosing away the paint on Sunday.

Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke

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