Manchester a Pleasant Surprise

Feb 25th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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I feel some anorakery is called for.

The question of "first railway" depends entirely on what you mean by "railway". There are many, many contenders; people have been rolling things along tracks for thousands of years.

What most people mean by "railway", and what gives the Liverpool and Manchester claim to being first, is this:

a) both passenger and freight service
b) regularly scheduled service, not ad hoc as the cars fill up
c) pulled by locomotives the whole way, with no horse-drawn or gravity sections
d) traffic restricted to a chartered company

The Stockport and Darlington Railway, 1825, was a freight line that occasionally pulled some passengers, but not on a regular schedule with advance notice. And the passenger cars and some of the freight ones were typically pulled by horses; it was not unusual for local people to tow stuff along for short stretches of the way, and this was tolerated as long as the track was clear for the main haulage.

The L&MC, 1830, was the first that met all of the above criteria, though. Since the very first scheduled train left from Liverpool Crown Street Station, headed for Manchester Liverpool Road, you could say that Crown Street was the first; conversely, you could say that since they were both stations even before a scheduled train traversed the line, that they hold equal precedence, along with all the other stops along the way.

MP William Huskisson was killed by that first train, or rather one of several that all left Liverpool simultaneously on that first day; he was actually struck near Newton-le-Willows, not Rainhill, and died in Eccles.

His tomb is in the cemetery behind Liverpool Cathedral, and is one of the oddest memorials anywhere; inside the crypt there's a open area where a statue of Huskisson was supposed to stand. Initially, it did, but the statue is now in the National Railway Museum, and Huskisson is now memorialized by a few empty beer cans and some sodden rags.

He was the first person ever to die in a railway crash.
fnarf999 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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More to the topic at hand: Manchester, much to the horror of their Liverpudlian rivals, is a lively, revitalized city, booming with excitement even more so than Liverpool.<br>
There's still a lot of the massive brick mills about, though having mostly been sandblasted free of the soot that marked them as dark, and the millwork that made them satanic, they are pretty mute about their history. But the Ancoats section is still an interesting place to stroll.

The canals are no longer filled with burned-out cars, shopping trolleys, and dead bodies, and have been in many places turned into posh spots for dining and drinking. The gay village along Canal Street is nearly as fashionable as the trendier bits of London.

The Northern Quarter is packed with urban trendsetters who've opened up boutiques, record stores, coffee houses, and the like in the midst of the shawarma houses and the last remnants of the garment trade. Unlike some places of its type, it's not completely sanitized and soulless, though it probably will be in another five or ten years.

In fact, about the only urban amenity that Manchester isn't completely overflowing with is pubs. They have them, they're just not up to the standard of their Merseyside rival (but then, neither are anyone else's).
fnarf999 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:16 AM
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I beg to disagree re Manchester pubs - I loved the pubs in Manchester just as much as, if not more than, the pubs in Liverpool. And the Manchester ones were cheaper
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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Anoraking about the first and oldest passenger train station

since the first train left from Liverpuddle i'd indeed have to give the nod that that being the first station.

Of course that's if the age of the building or how long it's been open is disregarded as it should be.

Now Liverpoodle has something of fame to claim
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 06:28 PM
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Well, perhaps I just couldn't find them. I did think Peverill of the Peaks was as good a pub as I've ever been in, but Liverpool just has so many. You just have to find one with no students in it....
fnarf999 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 04:11 AM
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From DH's notes - Sam's Chop House, Mr Thomas's Chop House,
the Circus, the Greyhound (or the Grey Horse ?), the Old Wellington, Sinclair's Oyster Bar, Peveril of the Peak, the Rain Bar, the Lass o'Gowrie.

I particularly liked the 2 'chop houses' for eating & the Circus just for drinking.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 05:14 AM
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bailey6325 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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I too was impressed upon by the lack of visible pubs in Manchester central - perhaps there but not obvious

Next to the Big Wheel is Manchester Cathedral, its stone facade darkened by soot it seems

went inside and it's not very remarkable for a cathedral - was there about the day of Busby's Bees 50th anniversary of the Man U plane crash in Munich so there were lots of flowers and memorial signs on the altar for this somber anniversary

And next to the church were two old half-timbered or such pubs that stood out in looks with the thoroughly modern structures around them

A sign did exclaim about the IRA bombing that leveled them apparently and said they had been faithfully rebuilt here.

About the only pubs i saw.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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Meant to say Busby's Bees is what i think i remember they were called. Not sure - Busby apparently was the manager but sure why 'bees'
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Are you sure you're not getting confused with The Busby Babes?

Around 1957 there was even an almost hit song (well, there was a record of it and it was sung on TV) which went,in a kind of cha-cha beat:

Man-chest-er, Man-chest-er
Manchester United.
A bunch of battling Busby Babes
They deserve to be knighted

A few months after the Munich disaster, The Beatles made their first recording. You can see how they might have been a few years ahead of their time.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Yes flanner - thanks for correcting my confusion once again

busby babes it no doubt was
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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My dad used to get quite misty eyed about Duncan Edwards. He said he was one of the best footballers he ever saw.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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From one of England's least interesting cathedrals i strolled over to Salford, a desultory Detroit-like area, at least the area by Salford Central train station, and quickly turned around and headed for what i believe the Wheel tour boasted was the world's thinnest skyscraper - a most thin one indeed. Parts of it i think are a Marriot or some other upscale hotel - from the Wheel i noticed it and used it as my beacon to return to Piccadilly station for my Virgin train back to London.

But en route i happily walked by Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), occupying an incredible collection of old warehouses, a market hall (it seems), the world's first passenger train station (allegedly) and old factories - all wondrously melded into this vast museum, which is said to be the focal point of ERIH or European Route of Industrial Heritage (Wikipedia)

I first was struck by a cavernous wrought-iron market hall, or at least it looked like an old market hall that now houses the Air and Space Museum - a Japanese kamikazee plane caught my interest amongst the dozens of old, mainly military planes

Then crossing the road i noticed the bulk of the museum buildings - a transport museum - or really a museum of steam engines including trains. I've never seen so many old machines noisily running - much like an old factory must have sounded - lathes, compressors, engines, etc.

Of course the building at the back - train tracks were leading from its area - was labeled the Train Station which perked my interest. A diminuitive station called Liverpool Road Station it was the terminus of the world's first passenger railway - the Manchester to Liverpool (or is it more appropritately Liverpool to Manchester?) and along with Liverpool's station on the line the world's first passenger railway stations. It did not have much railway memorabilia or descriptive signs in it and seemed neglected though it did host parts of the museum.

Stairs in the old Station Building lead down into subterranean Manchester and some fascinating displays thru pictures and drawings of the development of gas supply to the city, sewage system development (saying in late 1800s still few public loos and folks often went to train stations for that!), electrical, steam, water supply, etc.

there was a large scale map of the whole greater Manchester showing all the sewage, water paths, etc.

another area showcased the city's great textile heritage - continued today of course by the successful UnderWorld (?) underwear plant still going on Coronation Street!

As mentioned elsewhere there is a nice cafeteria on the upper flow of another building that you apparently can peer down onto the set of Coronation Street - alas i did not know this and have to go back.

A Body World was to open a few weeks after my visit

Thank the Queen or whoever for the Lottery whose funds i gather help make this vast museum complex all free to enter.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MOSI).

Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester - Wikipedia... located in Manchester, England, is a large museum devoted to the development of science, technology, ...
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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The company operating the world's first proper passenger railway was called the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company.

Partly because of alphabetical order, but mainly because it was really a Scouse venture. Not only did most of the energy to set the business up come from Liverpudlians (we've always been long on bright ideas) but - however impossible this might be to believe - most of the shareholders were Scousers, and they invested their own money

No scrounging for government handouts. No blaming the government, or southerners, because the line was difficult to construct. About as unScouse an approach to life as you could imagine.

Even odder, once the idea of railways took off, Liverpool became the world centre for venture capitalism in the high-tech of the day, since - briefly - it was the one place on earth where there were people entrepreneurial enough to understand the risks and resourceful enough to find capital to invest. London's fuddy-duddy bankers thought it was all a dangerous passing fad, and wouldn't touch it. And the whole technology was a bit daring for New York.

Odder still, many of the investors were close to the Sandhills part of the city. So that's how Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road got its name. I know Kleiner Perkins et al claim it's coincidence, but they're just showing their ignorance of history.
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