Friday, 30 July 2010

London Road Fire Station - update

Here's some detail of the latest planning application for London Road Fire Station. BDOnline: Victorian Society backs Purcell Miller Tritton's Manchester hotel plan (you get 3 views, then you have to register).

It looks like a very good use for the building and keeps many of the original features. Lets hope it happens!. 

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hangover face

Vodka Face
Too much vodka.

Seen on the way to a recent volunteering gig where my specialist shredding paper skills were required.

Location. Spear Street.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Peace and Doves

Sculpted by Barbara Pearson in 1986, the Messenger Of Peace was the winner of the Sculpture for Peace competition to celebrate Manchester’s status as the world’s first Nuclear Free City.

The sculpture in is the Peace Garden near the back of the town hall, next to the town hall extension

What makes it work for me are the doves on the plinth.

I went past the statue in winter, and wondered if the little doves would be covered in snow.

The Peace Gardens are a very small bit of green space, and if you ignore the car, bus and tram noise, it's fairly peaceful.

Location: Peace Gardens, just off Princess St, between Cooper St Moseley St.

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Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Fire Station without engines.

The terracotta clad London Road Fire Station looks a bit sad.

New buildings have sprouted up nearby, and Piccadilly rail station has had a good scrub up and polishing. They've even popped a new bridge over the street.

But the former fire station, police station and coroners court slowly decays, subject of many unfulfilled planning applications, threats of compulsory purchase orders from the council and yearly laments in local newspapers about its ongoing lack of purpose and decay.

A recent visit discovered yet another planning application posted up, dated 18 June 2010.

Update (30 July 2010): new proposal outlined here BDOnline: Victorian Society backs Purcell Miller Tritton's Manchester hotel plan

Further update (05 August 2010): Manchester Council have applied for a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) to take London Road Fire Station from the owners Britannia Hotels. Inside The M60 -London Road Fire Station Compulsorily Purchased

This not quite triangular Grade II* building is unusual for Manchester and deserves a better life. It's over 100 years old, completed in 1906 by architects Woodhouse, Willoughby & Langham.

Let's hope that London Road Fire Station gets an appropriate use soon, and we don't have to read another story in the paper next year about how nothing has happened.

Location: London Road

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Saturday, 10 July 2010

The observatory atop a building.

I must have walked past this university building on Whitworth Street many times, but never realised it has an observatory!.

It's the Godlee Observatory, housed in the Sackville Building. Built in 1903 by Francis Godlee, it is still in use by the Manchester Astronomical Society. They meet there most Thursday evenings.

They have a page on their website showing the inside, and the telescopes in use. Godlee Observatory Tour

A useful tip given to me by a Blue Badge guide was 'look up!' when walking around Manchester. I need to follow that advice more often.

Location: Whitworth St between Sackville St and Chorlton St, M1 3

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Sunday, 4 July 2010

The library without books

Manchester Central Library has closed for a 3 year refit.

It's not as old as it looks. Designed by E. Vincent Harris, it took 4 years to build, and was opened in 1934 by King George V, to huge crowds.

I spent many an evening studying and researching in the Great Hall of the library, and I do hope the refit doesn't change it too much.

Some of the helpful librarians were located in the centre of the hall, in an office topped by an ornate clock. Around the dome is a quote from the Bible. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding" (Proverbs IV, v7-9). I did get much understanding there, not sure about the wisdom.

From that centre office, the librarians accessed the legendary 'stacks' - 4 floors and over 20 miles of books. I always wondered what the stacks looked like. Prior to closing, I went on a tour of the library, including going behind the central desk, down the metal winding staircase and into the stacks. I was strangely excited about being down there, surrounded by many books, some hundreds of years old. 

Over 1 million books have been moved out, with many being stored temporarily in a Cheshire salt mine.

Finding a book could be a challenge with card catalogues split across the building. Many of the books were not catalogued, and as part of the move, all the books will be recorded correctly.

The basement held a theatre - the Library Theatre Company. With around 300 seats, it was an intimate experience, and I've seen many excellent in-house and visiting productions and performance artists there.

The company will move to the Theatre Royal on Peter Street. It was last used as a nightclub, but is a beautiful 1840's theatre. The opening will be in 2014.

A temporary library has been set up at  Elliot House, 151 Deansgate for the next few years.

I'm looking forward to the reopening of one of my favourite Manchester buildings.  Meanwhile, time and technology move on, and I can loan ebooks and audiobooks online from Manchester library now!
Manchester Library online ebook and audiobook loans.

Location: St Peter's Square. M2 5PD.

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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hello :)

Welcome to Manculiar (MANChester pecULIAR), a blog about Manchester's Peculiar past, present and future. Or just an excuse to post photos I've taken from in and around the city, and comment about some old and new books about Manchester I own or have read.

I was born, raised, lived and worked in Manchester, then lived and worked in other places around the country and further afield for a few years, and I'm now back in my home city.

I'm a 40 something transgender woman, but that's for a different blog, and a different readership.