On 24 and 25 March I spent some time in Manchester, one of England’s great cities, but one I don’t know terribly well, other than for its football and music. I’ve been there quite a few times in the past, but mainly for work or partying reasons and had never had a proper look around. So when I decided to go and see Car Seat Headrest on the Friday evening, I took a day off and spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning wandering around. For part of Friday I was guided by my old friend Andy, who I went to university with many an eon ago.
Naturally, photos were taken, so here are a few of this city, which still bears the features of its Victorian pomp, but of course has embraced the new as well. And the very centre seemed mercifully free of heavy traffic, helped, I’m sure, by the tram network. Both days were gloriously sunny too, which made walking around a pleasure.
Manchester Town Hall and the adjacent Albert Square tell you all you need to know about Manchester’s commercial glory days. First photo is from Saturday morning, the rest from Friday late afternoon – hence the different light conditions.
The great Liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, giving it some.
The old Royal Exchange has been refurbished, with a round theatre built inside it. It really works.
Manchester Victoria station.
River Irwell. The canals are/were Manchester’s lifeblood, more than the river, I think..
Manchester Art Gallery.
I had a look at the exhibitions on Friday. All free! There was one called “Manchester’s Monet”, featuring an late 19th/early 20th century artist called Winford Dewhurst. I’d not come across him before. His art certainly resembled that of Monet, with a bit of Pissarro thrown in. Here’s one example.
There were a few Lowrys, of course, but they shared a room with another artist, I’d never heard of before, Adolphe Vallette. A Frenchman who settled in Manchester, he portrayed the Victorian city, shrouded in mist, or smog and smoke. Very atmospheric, I thought.
The street my hotel was in. Red brick, as you’d expect.
The Rylands library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands, the wife of a wealthy Manchester entrepreneur. It took 10 years to build and was opened on 1 January 1900. It’s now part of Manchester University, though in the city centre.
It has a striking Gothic interior.
More buildings around the place.
Last thing I did was to wander down to the university area, mainly to go to the Whitworth art gallery. But it was interesting to check out the university grounds too, as both my daughters might go there. It was very quiet on a Saturday lunch time. I enjoyed the tranquility in the sunshine.
This place has an art deco quality to it. It clearly was a cinema. Might still be – but also a club?
The Whitworth was a great artistic space, with room for five or six exhibitions. Again, all free. There was a really interesting exhibition about textile design, with some amazing pieces. But the highlight, inevitably, was an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s work.
As he said himself though…
Yeah, great place, Manchester. I’ll leave the last gesture to William Gladstone.