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davidx Manchester - A travel report by David
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Manchester,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

[Marginally greater] Manchester and Salford

  19 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
The ‘chester’ part of the name indicates that Manchester was once a Roman fort town. Worthwhile sights range in time through the remains of the fort to 21st century buildings in Salford and this year to the B of the Bang in Manchester.


B of the Bang
B of the Bang
I try to avoid saying that I live near Manchester, because almost inevitably, anywhere in Europe, that leads to chat about United AFC [football], in which I have no interest. The nearest I come is a memory of a glorious evening at what is now the stadium of Manchester City, the other club, when it was serving its original function as the home for athletics at the Commonwealth Games. That’s right by the B of the Bang, the tallest sculpture in the country [56m] and, with a 30 degree tilt leaning more than the Tower of Pisa. Why do I pick Salford out of all Manchester’s neighbours to be in the title.? There were/are 10 metropolitan boroughs in Greater Manchester but of these only Salford has a so called ‘centre’ immediately adjacent to Manchester’s. Moreover for many years in the Middle Ages Manchester was no more than an appendage to Salford. Last but not least, I want to cover the Lowry in Salford. Marginally greater? I stray into Thameside for the Moravian settlement and Trafford for the Imperial War Museum North, but only just in each case. Manchester is changing every time I go. The bottom end of Deansgate has now been renovated to look like part of a major city instead of a derelict district and as you emerge from Victoria station, you see a fountain, the impressive [though not wonderfully successful] Urbis Museum of urban life and the huge shop built for Marks and Spencer, part of which is now Selfridge’s. The Royal Exchange Theatre is one of the most prestigious outside London’s West End and the Bridgewater Hall, now home of the Halle Orchestra, ranks among the greatest in Britain. The City Art Gallery has been extended and modernised. The huge university population is now concentrated into two rather than the previous three institutions. There’s no shortage of older buildings, either. Ordsall Hall, an exquisite old Tudor hall, is close to the centres of both cities and Quarry Bank Mill near the airport is a gem.

Favourite spots:
Lowry Centre
Lowry Centre
Salford Quays, start of the triathlon at the Commonwealth games, now provides a stimulating stretch of water. Two splendid new buildings are situated here and, unless the weather is foul, are best approached from the Quays tram stop rather than the nearer Harbour City. These are the Lowry Centre and the Imperial War Museum [North]. The Lowry is built to resemble a boat and has a theatre as well as the gallery, which shows much of L.S. Lowry’s work. If you think he only painted matchstick men and dogs, you’d better go and see! [http://www.thelowry-.com/] The IWM[N] is a fantastic building. As well as the official site, www.iwm.org.uk/ you will need to go to www.daniel-libeskind-.com/pr ojects/pro.html?ID=3-4 , the architect’s site, and scroll down, if you want to read about the building. This is also the quay for the regular trips on the Manchester Ship Canal: see www.merseyfe rries.co.uk/manchest-e r-scc/index.aspx

What's really great:
Moravian Church Settlement, 1785
Moravian Church Settlement, 1785
The Castlefields area of Manchester is the site of the remains of the Roman fort but also of an important canal basin and of the Museum of Science and Industry, which includes the old Liverpool Road station, the world’s first commercial passenger station. See www.msim.org.uk/ for the whole set-up. A particularly good website for Manchester as a whole is www.manch ester2002-uk.com/ For all info about the Bridgewater Hall [including about the building itself] see www.bridgew ater-hall.co.uk/ I have only recently renewed my acquaintance with the Moravian Church Settlement dating from 1785. This has a tremendous sense of peace, dignity and calm. [www.billnkaz.demon.-co.uk/moravian.htm On the same day I was introduced to the amazingly thin, high, ornamented building known as Gorton Monastery – excuse the photo; you could say it was raining – and the Edgar Wood building from the Arts and Crafts period. Both are on www.manchester2002-u-k.com/b uildings/churches2.h-tml

Sights:
Gorton Monastery
Gorton Monastery
Who would expect to find, only about a mile from the ‘centres’ of both cities, a hall that was, [and looks the part], there in the 14th century? Ordsall Hall is just that, a splendid building with 14th century stained glass and an amount of period furniture and paintings. The numerous artefacts in the kitchen are particularly impressive. Have a look at
http://www.salford.gov.uk/lei sure/museums/ordsallhall/ordsa llhall-learning/ordsa llhall-virtual.htm.

Only 2 miles from the International Airport is Quarry Bank Mill, owned by the National Trust. It was founded in 1784 and uses the largest water wheel still working in the UK. [The Laxey Wheel in the Isle of Man is bigger]. Visits include the Apprentice House in a separate building as well as all the mill building and the wheel area. An instructive site, for older children as well as adults, is
www.spinningtheweb.org.uk/jou rney.php?theme=places& Ti tle=Quarry%20Bank%20Mill%20le arning%20journey

Hangouts:
Salford Quays
Salford Quays
Where can I start? In 20 years working in Central Manchester I sampled any number and there can be few better places to do so. There are several breweries in the area and the beers from Boddingtons and Hydes were my favourites among these. The Blackfriars in Salford is a fine old Boddington’s pub and the Grey Horse in Portland Street is a fine place to try Hyde’s. I used to really like the Mark Addy by the River Irwell but I’ve not been for years and I read mixed reports here – they still sound to do super cheese platters however. Further out, enjoyable and well-known pubs are the Horse and Jockey and The Beech in Chorlton and the Royal Oak and Ye Old Cock Inn in Didsbury.

Restaurants:
Victoria Station - memories of time past
Victoria Station - memories of time past
If you like curries you will probably be attracted by the name of the ‘Curry Mile’ in Rusholme. It’s less than a mile and the many restaurants are not all equally good but pick on a crowded one and you should be OK. There are some outstanding Chinese restaurants as well. The Kwok Man and Yang Sing in Princess Street and the Woo Sang and Little Yang Sing in George Street were my favourites.

Other recommendations:
Imperial War Museum [North]
Imperial War Museum [North]
Members in the UK will probably know the TV programme ‘Restoration’ that was done each year in the last two years. The heats all show a number of old buildings in a region and viewers vote for the one that should get money for renewal. The final is between the regional winners and the winner does actually get substantial funding. In 2003 the national winner was Manchester’s Victoria Baths, opened in 1906, which between then and 1993 when they closed had provided a number of services. There were three swimming pools [males first and second class and females], public wash baths for first class males, a Turkish Baths suite and a laundry. In the winter months, the main pool was converted into a dance hall. In the 1950s the first public jacuzzi in the country was opened here. See the fine website:
http://www.victoriabaths.org.u k/building.htm


Published on Sunday May 8th, 2005


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Sun, Jan 11 2009 - 12:40 PM rating by kcbrecks

Fascinating report. I worked in Salford, on Regent Road, for 5 years and always reckoned that the M602 was the best road in the area - it was the quickest way onto the M62 East and back to Yorkshire where I lived. I had lodgings on the side of the Bridgewater Canal for a time and had the occassional walk about. Ordsall wasn't a walk about type of place though.

Keith

Thu, May 12 2005 - 04:52 AM rating by magsalex

Great to see such a good report on a UK destination.

Thu, May 12 2005 - 12:05 AM rating by britman

Excellent report, well illustrated with some great tips. I went to Uni here and spent a lot of my youth in this great city - so this report was memory lane stuff for me!

Mon, May 09 2005 - 01:15 PM rating by mistybleu

Manchester has become the 'it' city of the UK, and whilst I hated my first visit there, your report made me think I made up my mind a little too quickly. Good work

Misty

Mon, May 09 2005 - 08:42 AM rating by bear495

Really well written, David. I enjoyed this tour of the city.

Russ

Mon, May 09 2005 - 07:09 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report again david
cheers
ravi

Sun, May 08 2005 - 04:36 PM rating by rangutan

...excellent pictures and report!

Sun, May 08 2005 - 08:09 AM rating by gloriajames

wow! well written! 5*

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