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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Manchester Sightseer.

After listening to the rain on the roof last night the morning seemed to be quite bright and sunny. We took advantage of the proximity of the shops to top up with provisions and then caught the tram into Manchester. At present Droylsden is the terminus of the line but by the end of the year it is to be extended out to Ashton.

Manchester Metrolink Tram.

We joined a walk called Discovering Manchester. There seems to be a very comprehensive list of walks every week. Starting at the Tourist Information Centre off Piccadilly Gardens it took us round the main sights of the centre. The wealth of Manchester was based on cotton and this waned greatly in 1960's. It could be argued that the IRA bomb of 1996 did a great favour to Manchester as it galvanised its renaissance as money poured in to rebuild the centre. 

The Old Wellington Inn and the Sinclair Oyster Bar.

These two building were moved here brick by brick for a little distance away. The brown and cream section was built in 1552. It was extended in the 18th Century to form the Oyster Bar.

The last days cotton trading figures in the Royal Exchange building.

The Royal Exchange was built between 1867 and 1874 and was the biggest trading floor in England. It finally closed for business in 1968 and the photo above is the last trading board displayed. The building remained empty until 1976 when a theatre Company moved in. The main trading hall had a theatre in the round built inside it to keep the old structure and it opened in 1976.

The 1976 Theatre structure under the dome of the main trading hall. 

The theatre only uses a third of the building so shows how massive it was when trading. Around the dome is the following inscription, 'Who seeks to find external treasure must use no guile in weight or measure'.

Manchester only became a city in 1853. In those days a city had to have a university and a Cathedral. They had a University but to save money they 'converted' the Parish church to a cathedral. It seems to be smaller than Holy Trinity Church in Hull. And just for the record Hull was created a city for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 but still does not have a cathedral. I believe that Holy Trinity is the largest parish church in England.

Manchester Cathedral.

John Rylands Library.

The Library was named after John Rylands who was a cotton manufacturer and Manchester's first multimillionaire. He was married three times and all his children predeceased him. His third wife was his second wife's nurse and he was in his 70's and she in her thirties when they married. She had the library in his honour. The library house mainly scholarly works as husband and wife thought that novels were an abomination. It was one of the first public building in Manchester to lit by electricity when it opened in 1900. It produced it's own electricity until 1950.

The Tower of the Town Hall.

The Manchester Town Hall is a magnificent building. It also has a very sonorous bell called Big Abel. There was a wedding going on when we were there. Outside is a statue of Victoria husband, the Prince Regent Albert, who liked the city as he was into science and technology and Manchester was in the forefront at at the time. Queen Victoria on the other hand did not really like the place as she felt they were brash and 'new money' and only came a couple of times.

The China Town Gate Way.

The walk was very good and informative and has given us ideas of where to go for a closer look when we have time. The guide made me understand why Manchester and it's people are like they are now. They are proud of being 'New Money' as Queen Victoria would have it. It seemed that they are desperate to out do London, or anywhere for that matter and have a bit of a chip on their shoulder if they are thought not to be. It seems that if London has it then Manchester has too. The city has some very lovely buildings old and new but to me it is a bit of a hotch potch and lacks any really unifying element, even in smaller areas. The open spaces and plazas in the city didn't seem to give a feeling of space as they seemed cluttered and too 'busy', not peaceful. This is maybe as they like it here, and obviously I only saw a small part of the whole.

When we got back to Droylsden we had a pizza and then a washed down the boat after being moored next to a building site and filled the water tank ready for the off in the morning.

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