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THE NEW EXTENDED AND ENHANCED EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER FOR 1999 went live at 2.45pm on Thursday the 21st of January 1999


EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER IS TWO YEARS OLD TODAY! Doesn't time fly when you're having a good time, and I certainly have had lots of fun, though quite a few late nights producing this website. The new and extended EWM for 1999 is almost ready. I have just a few minor adjustments to make. Please drop in again over the next 72 hours.

A PROFESSIONAL DIVER FROM ROCHDALE HAS GONE MISSING off the coast of the United Arab Emirates - this perplexing case was the main story on local media reports today. Robert Glazzard was working on a boat off Dubai when he disappeared along with a colleague nearly a week ago. His father is flying to Dubai to try and find his son. After recent kidnappings in Yemen, the parents suspect that Robert was kidnapped too, but as a long-time resident of the UAE, I reckon this is very unlikely. Let's hope he reappears safe and well.

TREE PROTESTERS HAVE SCORED A VICTORY over the Airport this weekend. They've managed to set up a second camp, this one in Cedar Wood, near Arthur's Wood, where protesters have already been in residence for months. Green Party activists were in court today trying to prevent the Airport from cutting down trees in these woods, which are close to the new runway. The problem is, even though the trees are outside the Airport's perimeter fence, they still have to be cut down to a certain height in order to conform to CAA regulations. And Airport bosses are trying to get employees to use"greener" modes of transport such as bikes, car sharing and public transport. Chief Executive Geoff Muirhead has committed himself to more frequent car-sharing - presumably this doesn't mean sharing with a chauffeur! Maybe he could take up residence with the protesters in Arthur's Wood - then he'd be able to walk to work! I think there's material for a "fly on the wall" documentary there!

GRAHAM STRINGER MP AND HIS PARTNER KATHRYN CARR got married in New Orleans last weekend. Graham Stringer was previously Leader of Manchester City Council and was well-known for his unambiguous views on anti-runway protesters.

A DRUNKEN COUPLE TRIGGERED A SECURITY ALERT at Manchester Airport on Wednesday. They had been drinking at the Airport Hotel, which overlooks the top of the runway, when they climbed over a fence, hoping to take a short cut to anti-runway protesters at Arthur's Wood. A British Airways plane had to delay its landing. The two, Wayne Wormald and Jacqueline Wasicki, will probably be charged with trespassing on an aerodrome and causing danger to planes. A long time ago the A538 Altrincham to Wilmslow Road passed close to the end of the airstrip. Traffic had to wait if a plane was taking off or landing. Today, two tunnels take traffic underneath the old and new runways.

HILL HOUSE AND HANSON HOUSE, the 17th century mansions dismantled to make way for the Second Runway, are to be rebuilt on new sites in Cheshire. I went inside Hill House (picture left) a couple of days before the first edition of EWM 2 years ago - the family were resigned to giving up their centuries-old half-timbered home - it was compulsorily purchased by the Airport and dismantled. The relocated houses are to be offered by the Airport for rent. Quite a bit of house-moving is going on at the moment: The Shambles, moved from its original location - is being reconstructed next to the Corn Exchange. And did you know, there were plans in the sixties to relocate King Street's Reform Club to make way for a huge office development. Nowadays the Reform Club, with its sumptous interior, is home to one of Manchester's most exclusive restaurants. It's one of the few places in the UK you can order absinthe - the thick, green and highly alcoholic tipple much beloved of late 19th century artists. Hope to get along there soon.

RECORD IMPRESARIO PETE WATERMAN was featured in the MEN on Tuesday in an article by Adam Moss. The "Hitman" behind many pop acts has done it again in the form of fivesome "Steps" currently at the top of the charts. But tragedy struck just before Christmas when his son, also named Peter, suffered serious burns and nearly died. He's on the road to recovery now though. I used to love that show "The Hitman and Her" presented by Pete Waterman and Michaela Strachan which featured a weekly trawl through the tackiest northern discotheques.

SECURITY CAMERAS WATCH OVER CITY CENTRE STREETS and they've been pronounced "a roaring success" by city centre chairman Councillor Pat Karney. There are 19 cameras so far, including the one in the picture of Oxford Rd, right, and a hundred are to be installed soon. It would be great if some of them were used as webcams. Despite criticisms by civil liberties groups, most respondents in an MEN poll thought the security cameras are a good idea. And despite security measures at the Trafford Centre, thieves stole a large amount of goods from Selfridges store on Thursday night.

THE EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER SCREENSAVER is almost ready - the picture on the right is a section of one of the 20 images featured, including four "previously unreleased" ones. The rest have been re-scanned and enhanced and appear in stunning clarity at full screen size. Drop into the Manchester Online shop later this week, and pick it up for only £4.99. (Sorry, fellow Mac users, Windows only at the moment)

MANCHESTER IS THE 25TH MOST EXPENSIVE city in the world to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. London, the only other British city named, was ninth and Tokyo came top. Maybe that's why Manchester has the highest number of people in debt. According to a survey just out, 14.5 per cent of people in the City of Manchester have CCJ's or County Court Judgements as a result of upaid debts. In the City of Salford, the figure is 10.5 percent. Three quarters of Manchester's housing tenants are in receipt of housing benefit. Yes, Manchester is a tale of two cities, as a well-known local councillor said recently.

999 IS RESERVED FOR EMERGENCIES - or it's supposed to be. But daft members of the public have been calling out ambulances for trivial matters, John Scheerhout reports in Friday's MEN. One man needed help changing his underpants - he hadn't changed them in three weeks and asked paramedics to help him. Another couldn't get BBC2 on his TV and phoned 999. A middle aged women in Romiley asked to be taken to A&E because her shoes were hurting. No, I'm not joking, these cases are true!

THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS has been mounting an intensive ad campaign targeted at jobseekers, using some witty slogans: "Hand in 30p on Thurdsay and your notice on Friday". The midweek employment pages are crammed with adverts, everything from Kids Care Virgins - minding children for Virgin Sun holiday makers - to Fitter/Alterations - not on the factory floor but at a designer bridalwear boutique in Wilmslow. Despite the apparent plethora of vacancies, optimism is low among north west businesses - there's a feeling that recession may be around the corner. On the bright side, there was an increase of only four percent of businesses in the north west going bust, according to KPMG corporate recovery. This is comparatively good news, as the national average is 11 per cent.

A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD DRINK DRIVER FROM OLDHAM was sentenced to a month at a young offenders' institution, but was released on bail three hours later after bursting into tears in the courtroom. The boy, who can't be named for legal reasons, was described as having behavioural problems - that would certainly appear to be the case.

DRIVING OFFENDERS SEEM TO BE GETTING YOUNGER and younger these days, but I can assure you, the 15 year old drink driver from Oldham wasn't at the wheel of the vehicle above, which is one of the items for sale at the upcoming Gimberts auction, in Higher Openshaw. I went to a press conference there today - the BBC, Granada, the Times and other media were in attendance. Gimberts, the famous film, tv and stage prop hire company closed down their Higher Openshaw warehouse last year, and over a quarter of a million items are being auctioned off on their behalf by Salford auctioneers Charles Taylor - I did the photos for the catalogue - thankfully they didn't need a picture of every item! I'm quite taken with the pedal-car, though I'm not sure how it will perform on the motorway. More details about the auction at

SEX AND STRANGEWAYS DON'T MIX, but a story of alleged sexual liaisons between prison officers made the MEN front page and national media reports on Friday. Heather Barnes then a 19 year old trainee prison officer, claimed she had had sex with colleague Howard Lovell in the prison during a night shift. Lovell refutes the claim. An inquiry into the matter is in progress.

IMAGINE THE SPACE SHUTTLE BEING CARRIED by a team of men through the streets of New York. Well Hyde rocket man Steve Bennett had to have his team of assistants carry his rocket Starchaser 3a through the streets of Manchester. It had been on show at the Fab cafe theme bar, Portland St, and should have been taken to Salford University for a lecture, but the lorry booked to carry it was delayed, so it had to be transported using leg and shoulder power! Salford University lecturer Steve hopes to make it big through his rocket-building hobby-turned-business, and predicts a glowing future for space travel. Who knows, maybe in a few years time we'll be blasting off in one of Steve's rockets from Ringway to Mars on a late booking.

THE HOLIDAY AND TRAVEL SHOW AT G-MEX tempted visitors with dreams of sun-drenched paradise holidays in exotic far-flung locations, a welcome daydream to contrast with the current dismal weather (though I'd still rather be here). Other events over the past few days have included the Chippendales, who appeared before crowds of women at the Discotheque Royale on Peter St. Other on-stage attractions included American punk band The Offspring (who?) and American singer Reba McEntire (not on the same night!) at the Apollo, jazz guitarist Victor Brox at Band on the Wall, the Halle and the Gilbert and Sullivan Gala (also on separate nights) at the Bridgewater Hall.

A GIANT SIZE DINOSAUR arrived at the Musem of Science and Industry on Tuesday - They had quite a bit of trouble getting him into the building. He's part of an exciting new exhibition complete with swamps and swampy smells. And there's an exhibition about Every Street (that's Every with a capital E), the street in Ancoats, at the Pump House Peoples' History Museum. On the left is my photo of Every Street Church.

A PAINTING OF THE AMERICAN WEST by Thomas Moran has been saved for the town of Bolton after a campaign which raised £1,343,000. There was a special celebration at Bolton Art Gallery & Museum and it went on show today.

MANCHESTER UNITED LAWYERS HAVE STOPPED a firm from selling products containing hate slogans against Manchester United - because the MUFC logo was being used without authorisation. "Better Dead Than Red" sold car stickers saying "Sit down if you hate Man U" and were using the MUFC title in their website address.

CITY BEAT FULHAM 3-0 and Manchester United beat Leicester City by six goals to two. The centre pages of today's MEN sports section was awash with red.

THE 1999 EDITION OF WHO'S WHO includes Joe Bloggs, the millionaire boss of the Joe Bloggs fashion empire. Other notable locals include Tristram Berserman, director of Manchester Museum, and Margaret Bennett, chief executive of the Stockport-based National Library for the Blind, RNCM-trained soprano Amanda Roocroft, and Chrissie Maher, founder and director of the Plain English Campaign, based in New Mills. And the gentleman silhoutted in the photo, right, probably made it into the Who's Who of 130 years ago. Do you know his name?

THE BEST DEFENCE AGAINST INTRUDERS IS A FOUR LEGGED ONE. That's the conclusion after a very small dog achieved fame on tv last week. Tilly the terrier ran from her home in Railway Rd Stretford to a social club where her owners Howard and Chris Hacquoil were drinking. They returned home and locked the dog in, but burglars were outside. Only when they got home did they discover an attempted break-in, which Tilly had apparently tried to warn them about The couple's daughter Kerrie said "Our poor little dog was showered with glass and severely traumatised." But the dog looked in fine form on tv news reports and in the MEN. Ah, there's nothing like a nice "ah" story to finish with!

SNOW CAUSED DELAYS AND DISRUPTION to the north of Manchester on Tuesday morning. But here near the centre it was only a light dusting, and by the time I got out, it had all melted. The rest of the week was characterised by frequent rain showers, cold and wind. My umbrella was definitely put to the test. Today there was a biting wind, and it was cold, cold cold! The current EWM temperature is 8.5 celsius, 45 fahrenheit.

YES THE NEW EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER for 1999, with maps, picture selections, book film and website reviews and much much more, is about to hit your computer screen. The screensaver, with 20 of my best photos of city centre Manchester, will soon be available too, so please drop in again later in the week. And to all readers, thanks very much indeed for supporting me during the first two years. Here's to many many more!


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