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Newsletter 1997 Week 49Monday the 8th of December

Living in Manchester can shorten your life span - that's the conclusion some might draw from yet another report on the nation's health. Manchester man lives till just short of 69, while Manchester woman reaches 76 - average figures of course. In other parts of the country, lives are on average several years longer. The reason would appear to be social deprivation - of which Manchester has more than its fair share than other UK cities. Whether this means that moving to Cambridge or Ontario will give you a few extra years of life isn't clear. In the words of the Guinness advert: Not everthing in black and white makes sense.

The new Regional Development Authority for the north west, which was announced on Wednesday, may be able to attract investment, business and jobs to a region which has a larger population - more than 8 million - than Scotland and Wales put together. Former City Council leader Lord Dean of Beswick says that if the English regions received as much per head of population as Scotland, they would get 340bn more from central government, and Manchester would get an extra 349m.

With work on Manchester Airport's second runway well under way, protesters struck back with another daring and precocious piece of direct action today: One group slipped past security checks, entered restricted areas and chained themselves together, causing disruption, with some flights delayed. The other group climbed onto the roof of the walkway. The protesters wanted to draw attention to what they consider to be the excessive number of flights from Manchester Airport, and the environmental damage caused. An Airport official responded by saying he was disappointed they had chosen this form of protest, and added that a fully-loaded airliner flying from Manchester to London caused much less pollution than cars carrying an equivalent number of people the same distance.

The protest took place on the same day that British Midland announced its new service to London Heathrow, which will start next year, breaking the BA monopoly. The eight new BM flights will bring the number up to 33 per week between Ringway and the capital. 50 years ago, the Liverpool Manchester London Dakota was held up by bad weather. Read about it in Manchester Eyewitness 1947.

The cut-price EasyJet airline has been using large billboard adverts to publicise their flights. A one-way to Amsterdam costs 35, and Nice is 39. Departures are from Liverpool, and the fare doesn't include what the advert describes as an "unfair" government departure tax, which they say should be a percentage of the fare.

Barton Aerodrome may be closed and turned into an industrial estate. Though located in the city of Salford, the land is owned by Manchester and the lease expires in 2005. Lancashire Aero Club want to develop the facilities, but need an extension to the lease. Barton opened in 1930 and was Britain's first municipal aerodrome.

That icon of Manchester culture, controversial comedian Bernard Manning, wishes to introduce "table dancing" at his club in Harpurhey. Familiar to club-goers in Bangkok, Paris and Miami, scantily clad female dancers aren't a prominent feature of Manchester night life. Last year, female Town Hall councillors put in an objection to table dancing at two clubs in the city centre. A judge rejected the complaint, but ruled that the women had to wear a g-string. Local councillors Val Edwards and Sue Murphy are likely to object to Bernard Manning's plans, but he retorted that a "full monty" night, with male strippers, could be introduced for the ladies.

James Long, the Irishman who was given 6000 to buy a steam roller, but spent the money on Guinness and horse racing, has been given 80 hours of community service by York Crown Court. He is reported to be employed on the R2 construction site, and will repay the money at 100 a month.

It looks as though the Royal Yacht may well go to Edinburgh, rather than become a tourist attraction at the Trafford Centre. The decision is due to be announced the day after tomorrow.

Last week's cold "snap" was just that. Ice, frost and in some parts, snow seemed to herald a long hard winter. But by Thursday the sub zero conditions had given way to unseasonally mild temperatures. The last few days have been cloudy and rainy - today there was heavy rain over Manchester and the temperature outside at the moment is 10 celsius or 49 fahrenheit. I'm looking forward to a return to the cold weather so I can take some more "winter wonderland" photos, such as the one above, captured (like all my photos, on film) in Mobberley, between Wilmslow and Knutsford.

  • Farmers blockade British ports in protest at the import of cheap beef.
  • The baby taken shortly after birth is found the day after - a woman is charged.
  • Tony Blair unveils his Social Inclusion Unit - opponents say it brings no extra money
  • The government launched its tough anti-drinking campaign: "Have none for the road" is the message this Christmas.
Have a look at the BBC for today's UK and world news.

MANCHESTER PUB QUIZ sponsored by Vini Maguire (
No-one guessed last week's pub, it was the Rising Sun. This week's offering, I think you'll find a bit easier. It's just a stone's throw from Market Street and though it's not a genuine product of the middle ages, the person it's named after is!

The Sh.... whoops, I nearly said the name... has been around for a long time, but brand new bars are opening all the time. On Oxford Road I ran into these two copper-clad lovelies promoting a new bar about to open in the Palace hotel (in the former Refuge Building, Oxford Road). It's called "Copper Face Jacks" and you can see what the theme is!


From Rich Cook re: The Trafford Centre and its effects on surrounding shopping centres

Aidan, Another excellent MWN. I think the large shopping malls tend to hurt the small towns. From the Midwest US the malls tend to have the generic stores that are everywhere, while the individual specialty stores can find their market niche and survive. Here the stores that have the biggest negative effect are the large national chains(Wal-Mart and K-Mart etc) that carry a wide range of products and can undercut the small clothing and grocery stores. But when these stores enter an area there is, as you state, a honeymoon period. No matter how big the mall may be, nothing will compare to walking through the Stockport market on a Saturday afternoon or jostling down Market St in Manchester!!

Merry Christmas

Rich Cook

From Sparky Ullmer
Here in Denver Colorado, the down town area has few if any major stores left on 16th street, which used to be the focal point of the Denver Dry Goods Company, May D&F, Joslins, Penny's, Woolworths, etc.
Now everyone takes their car to the outlying areas where there is plenty of, well lighted "safe" free parking. People meet in the malls and the neighborhood corner has been replaced by the resting area in the mall, for young and old.
Millions have be spent on revitilazing "Down Town Denver" but there are still empty store fronts on what was the main shopping stree and and the side streets are even worse.
However, "LoDo" near Coors base ball field is vibrant with old ware houses being converted into housing for the young professionals, with few trees in sight.
The villages in England are a treasure.
"Change is the only constant"
Sparky Ullmer
Denver Colorado Native
Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke

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