Manchester a Pleasant Surprise

Feb 19th, 2008, 07:02 AM
  #1  
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Manchester a Pleasant Surprise

Though i'd been in Manchester for a fleeting hour or so years ago and was not impressed with it at all in my memories i decided to pay a more proper visit there a few weeks ago and was very pleasantly surprised at how vibrant, modern and interesting this capital of the 'grim' North of England turned out to be.
I was actually spurred on to visit Manchester because of my infatuation with Coronation Street, the long-running English soap, and especially because of the canal scenes i'd seen on the show. I have seen Manchester referred to as the Venice of England for its many canals and i wanted to walk along their tow paths.
I got off the train at Piccadilly Station and headed for the town centre, discovering a very nice very clean and spiffy main shopping area - mainly pedestrian except for the trams trundling thru it.
All the marquee stores of any British shopping mecca were there. And even on a Friday afternoon the place was mobbed.
I noticed a wheel nearby that looked like the Eye Over London one in London but a tad smaller. So i shelled out six quid and hopped on to take in a vista over greater Manchester from a few hundred feet up.
There was recorded commentary pointing out the marquee sights - such as both the Old Trafford stadium and the awesome-looking new Manchester United football stadium, both in the distance.
I was actually there during the 50th anniversary of the tragic plane crash in Munich that killed quite a few of Man U's team in 1958, just when they were on the cusp of becoming famous and on the way to being the world's most famous football team.
I actually thought the big wheel, which it said had been in Seville and then moved piece by piece to Manchester, would only take me around once, at a snail's pace like in London's Eye Over London but it, moving around faster, kept going - once, twice and up to five times. I wondered if it would ever stop as i'd seen enough of Manchester from way up and was ready to explore what i'd seen

TBC
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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Nice start! Manchester is my hometown and has changed out of all recognition since I was a child. I shall be interested to read your next peregrinations/impressions.
gertie3751 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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Google "Venice of England" and the references are bizarre. Bourton on the Water, Tewkesbury, Uxbridge (!!!!) and of course Birmingham.

But really, never Manchester. Bits of the Salford canals are nice, and I'm looking forward to reading your reactions to them.

Britain's canal capital, though, is Birmingham. Allegedly more canals than Venice, but however you measure them, there really are lots and lots, and you can hardly ever get away from them for more than a few minutes. Well worth bearing in mind for a future visit: there's a nifty set of maps at www.waterscape.com
flanneruk is online now  
Feb 19th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Flanner: I'm just reading Iain Sinclair's 'London Orbital' and he also suggests that Uxbridge is Britain's canal capital. Bizarre indeed.
gertie3751 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 07:43 AM
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It's been a few years since my visit but I was very impressed with Manchester, too. The centre was so new but isn't it because it was blown up by the IRA so it had to be re-built. Thank goodness the Cathedral was spared and some very old pubs.

I stayed in a hotel that was on a canal and, I think, a science or technology museum that backed onto the set of Corrie...I walked around and peered through the gates but there were no tours.

A Canuck outfit has Corrie tours, PalenQ - they used to get to meet and dine with actors from the series but the latest on the trip doesn't mention any names (yet) and seems to include a lot that hasn't anything to do with Manchester or the show. http://www.kemptvilletravel.com/index.php?id=78
SallyCanuck is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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The Museum of Science and Industry is indeed next to Granada Studios.

It's a bit late for PQ but there is a café on the top floor that has a view down into the 'actual' Coronation St.
Pete_R is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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pointing out the marquee sights - such as both the Old Trafford stadium and the awesome-looking new Manchester United football stadium, both in the distance.>>>>>

People have been left dead in a ditch for less.

Old Trafford is where the Manchester Rowdies play. The new stadium is Eastlands - built for the Commonwealth Games and no the home of Manchester city.
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Feb 20th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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CW - you can understand my mistake - on the Big Wheel the recording first pointed out Old Trafford and then the pylons of the new stadium of 'the Manchester football club'

i thought of course they mean United and not City

why would City, way below United in prestige, fame, winning, etc. have the smashing new stadium and United have to play in an old one?

But thanks for correcting my mistake and it seems that since City has beat United twice this season for the first time in ages maybe they are better than Man U?
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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CW - you can understand my mistake - on the Big Wheel the recording first pointed out Old Trafford and then the pylons of the new stadium of 'the Manchester football club'>>>>>>>

That's them being a bit naughty. The perception in Manchester (and every where else) is that Man utd are followed by either the Irish or people from Surrey and Man City are the team that people who actually live in Manchester support.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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"Why would City, way below United in prestige, fame, winning, etc. have the smashing new stadium and United have to play in an old one?"

Man City's old ground, Main Road in Moss Side, was outdated, with limited capacity and potential for redevelopment. When Manchester was awarded the Commonwealth Games of 2002, a new stadium was built on a brownfield site in East Manchester. When the City Council, who owns the stadium, sent out feelers for the future use of the stadium after the Games, Man City approached them with an offer to buy a long lease, which was subsequently agreed. So after the Games, the stadium, now called the City of Manchester Stadium, was renovated as a pure football stadium, by taking out the running tracks and adding more seating capacity, and the City began the 2003-4 season at their new ground.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Manchester_Stadium for more info.

ManU's Old Trafford ground has been extensively developed over the years, now with a capacity of 76,000, is the largest football stadium in UK after the new Wembley, and the largest league ground. While Old Trafford is a redelopment and not a brand-new ground, the current structure is considered adequate for the present need of the club and its large supporter base. There's a talk of adding another tier to the South stand to increase the capacity further, but there's no concrete proposal at the moment as there's limited amount of land on that side of the stadium because of railway lines.
Alec is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 05:57 AM
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Flanner: I did not get to Salford Quays or Salford canals and for this reason i'm planning a return to Manchester next time. I saw the pictures and on Coronation Street Mike Baldwin had a fancy flat in a highrise presumable in the Salford Quays area - which i presume is Manchester's old port linked to see by Manchester Ship Canal and it looked like a booming area and some heritage museums, etc.

One reason i did not get there was i was day tripping from London - wanted to ride Virgin's Pendolino as well and of course this train limped into Manchester Piccadilly about an hour late - due to electrical failure on the tracks so we were diverted via Crewe, etc.

The Crewe diversion was a boon as i finally got to see the fabled APT - Advance Passenger Train i believe that was Britain's hopes in the high-speed train stakes in the 70s or something.

It of course had a disastrous test run with media on board and all downhill from there - one of the original tilting trains it apparently tilted way too much.

Anywhere it's domiciled on a siding at Crewe where there is some kind of heritage rail thing.

So anyway next time i'd like to walk from Manchester to Salford Quays along canals - have to look at a detailed map of area.

I did head to Salford on my Manchester walk around - i had seen Salford Central train station on the map and it was close to the town centre - i went there because i had read that some street in Salford, i believe at least, had been given heritage status because it was the original model for Coronation Street - but i don't think it would have been this desultory nearly Detroit-like ghost town around Salford Central station.

Really awful looking place.

thanks for the Coronation Street info and the art museum - i was thinking of going into that museum and next time will.

I wonder if the Granada Studios is open for tours and you can see the Coronation Street set on a walk in basis?

Anyway Manchester to me all in all was a very exciting place.

PalenQ is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Locals call them United
Non-locals call them ManU.
And yes, real Mancunians support the sky blues.
gertie3751 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 06:19 AM
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I wonder if the Granada Studios is open for tours and you can see the Coronation Street set on a walk in basis?

You used to be able to, but not for the last 10 years or so.

Next time you visit try a pub called The Ox on Liverpool St. near the Museum of Science and Industry and Granada Studios. You quite often see the Corrie stars in there after filming - PalQs dream come true? And although I dislike 'gastro pubs' on principal the beer and food are quite good.

Also a few doors down is a place called Akbar's which is probably th ebest IOndain in the town centre.
Pete_R is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Thanks Pete - yes that would be quite a thrill

I read that Liz McDonald or the actress who plays here also owns a pub in Manchester?

Ox is on my hit list.

thanks
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 07:05 AM
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It is a shame about the Granada studios tour, we went some years ago when our children were small and it was quite good. If they weren't filming you could walk down the street and also went round various other program sets. As someone else said, you can glimpse into the street from the upper floor of the Science and Industry Museum.

Parts of Salford are pretty grim. A few years back my husband attended a part-time course in Salford. Parking was a problem, so he took the train but a fellow student parked in one of the nearby streets of terraced houses. When he arrived back to find all his tyres slashed, someone popped their head out from one of the doors and said "that will teach you to park round here!".
Maria_H is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Glad you liked it and plan to return, PalQ. DH worked there for several months, about 4 years ago, and I always enjoyed the weekends we spent there. I particularly remember the ace pubs
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 07:03 AM
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I wonder if anyone knows what street and where in Salford, if i even am remembering correctly is the street that is said to be the original model for Coronation Street.

Shoot - indeed i was on the top floor of the Museum of Science and Industry and didn't realize what visual treat awaited me out the window. I did love that museum - one of the very finest Heritage Preservation i've seen in England of old industrial heritage buildings and interested exhibits inside.

They said the Train Station building in the museum complex was the world's very first passenger train station - i'll have to research that claim a bit.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 24th, 2008, 11:56 PM
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According to Wikipedia:

"The architecture of Coronation Street was based on Archie Street, Ordsall, an area of Salford which has long been demolished. Archie Street appeared in the programme's original opening credits."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_Street_sets
Maria_H is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 02:22 AM
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"Train Station building in the museum complex was the world's very first passenger train station "

This is where we all need our anoraks. As well as a fine ability to split hairs.

The world's TWO first passenger railway stations (you can no more really have one world's first railway station than one world's first telephone) were Liverpool Crown Street (downgraded in 1835) and Manchester Liverpool Road (closed 1844). In fact, the earlier (by an hour or so) to be used was Liverpool Crown Street. Manchester Liverpool Rd, though, had its buildings retained and ultimately converted into the museum - so it's the world's oldest passenger railway building, but it ISN'T the first

Real anoraks will explain the competing claims of Liverpool Edge Hill and Darlington North Road stations to titles similar to the one attributed to the Manchester museum.

But my neighbourhood had few claims to fame till I came along. We're not going to let some poncey museum in Manchester of all places take one of them away.
flanneruk is online now  
Feb 25th, 2008, 02:36 AM
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"Train Station building in the museum complex was the world's very first passenger train station "

Flanner: as far as I remember the MoSI doesn't make this claim.

They do claim that the Manchester-Liverpool line was the first passenger line and they correctly state that the building is the old Liverpool Rd. station.
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