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We were out and about in Manchester City centre early on Saturday morning mostly running errands around the Northern Quarter. It was a bright, cold but sunny day – it’s been the first morning with frost in the air. My pals who live in the hills around Manchester said it was trying to snow… Winter is coming…
I thought I’d take some photos and tell some stories for my Six on Saturday.
There are many Silver Birch trees dotted around the centre of the city – some mature and some, like this one, planted by new flats built a few years ago. There is no sign of the leaves turning yellow as Autumn has been mild until this week. Look at that blue sky though! #nofilter
2. Special Acers
- These are two of the 22 dwarf
Acers in huge black iron containers in memory of the Arena attack victims placed around the city centre. In May 2018, they were covered in messages and hearts – the containers have bees on them too. The city council are planning a permanent memorial.
I don’t think I need to tell you how much impact this terrible act had on our city and its people but we are resilient – #strongertogether
3. Urban re-use – Mackie Mayor, Swan Street, Manchester
The North part of Manchester city centre around Oldham Street and Great Ancoats Street is now called ‘Northern Quarter’ but in the 19th Century it was the market area of Manchester.
Only two of the market halls remain and are still in use.
Manchester Art and Design Centre
The Craft Centre was founded in 1982 and is run by Manchester City Council. It was one of the first buildings to help the regeneration of this part of the city since the 1980s. It had fallen on hard times, with seedy shops, red-light areas and a great deal of poverty. It’s very different around the Northern Quarter now – trendy restaurants and bars, creative arts and designers, etc.
It is housed in the former retail fish market building (opened in 1873). The Centre is home to many artists, crafters and jewellers – do visit if you’re looking for gifts. It has an excellent vegan cafe too.
My Chap and I went last year to make our wedding rings with Charlotte Verity (www.charlotteverity.com). I need to write about this wonderful experience.
Mackie Mayor (2017 – )
Smithfield Market (the meat market) was opened in 1856 at the height of the city’s industrialisation and growth in the population, who all needed food. It was a market until 1972, after which it was used as storage facility, a skateboard park but mostly shut despite it being Grade II listed. Most people worried it would be knocked down or fall down.
It is named after the Mayor of Manchester who opened the building in 1856.
The refurbishment was done by the team behind Altrincham Market and Market House. It is a stunning building containing businesses selling coffee, burgers, fish, beer, pizza, oriental food. It’s a wonderful place. Here is their ethos.
It seats 500, there are no reservations! BTW It is closed on Mondays.
Do visit if you’re in the area 🙂
4. Urban plants
When you look closely plants are all around us in city centres – not just in window boxes. At Mackie Mayor, these trolleys are packed with plants.
A stunning poppy, coreopsis and nasturtiums.
It was far too cold to sit outside but this area is heaving with people in the summer.
5. Bees are everywhere in Manchester
We do out bit for the bees too – there are hives on the roof of the Arndale Shopping Centre and Manchester Art Gallery. The worker bee is the symbol of Manchester – it was given to the city in the 19th century to reflect the ‘industriousness’ of its people and is part of our civic crest. There are bees in stonework, floors, windows, bins and plenty of stickers and street art.
We had an invasion of bee statues this summer – www.beeinthecitymcr.co.uk/
£1.1m was raised from auctioning off the bee statues to support We Love MCR Charity’s Stronger Communities Fund, which provides grants of up to £2000 for initiatives that bring communities together to celebrate diversity and build stronger relationships.
The bees inspire so much creativity – a story for another post.
Street Art in the City Centre
Stephenson Square is probably the centre of the Northern Quarter street art. The gable ends have ever-changing art overseen by #outhousemcr. Artists come from around the world to paint our street art. It often has sharp social commentary. There are probably more than 30 street art paintings on buildings around the northern quarter. I need to go on a sunny day and take more photos.
I take photos of this substation/building and the art every time I walk past – the art has been changing about every three months since 2010. It’s overseen by @outhousemcr. Stephenson Square is also home to the ‘Northern Quarter Makers Market’ – 2nd Sunday of the month.
The green roof on the disused toilet block was planted by Manchester City of Trees a few years ago www.cityoftrees.org.uk. It has a mix of wildflowers but only the poppies are still flowering. City of Trees aim is to plant 3million trees around Greater Manchester – one for every person.
Stephenson Square was a tram terminus so it’s actually rectangular – it’s home to Fred Aldous art and craft shop (founded 1886). Emmeline Pankhurst held rallies here in the Square for votes for women – she was born and lived in Manchester – founding the suffragette movement in her home on Nelson Street. This is now the Pankhurst Centre (which has a lovely garden too) – it has limited opening times (check the website).
I am proud that there will be a statue of Emmeline unveiled in the city in St Peter’s Square in December. She’ll join Queen Victoria as the only other female statue in our city. The statue will be unveiled on 14th December 2018 on the hundredth anniversary of the first election where ‘some’ women could vote.
I should do a post about the many paintings on this section – even the late, great David Bowie has featured.
6. Unexpected Surprises
Look out – There are monsters around Manchester… have you seen any?
As usual, I’ve joined in with the Propagator – www.propagatorblog.wordpress.com – Six things garden related on a Saturday – I hope mine count 😉
Have you seen anything unusual this week? Any monsters? Have you got any street art near where you live?
Stay safe over Halloween,
Love Bec xxx xxx