Wednesday, 8 May 2013


 On Monday I went out and about in Manchester with my eldest granddaughter. She is studying Art for GCSE and has become very enthusiastic about the photography component of her studies. For Christmas she received a very fancy digital camera which makes my favourite toy (my tiny digital camera which accompanies me everywhere) really look like a toy. She talks to me about apertures and exposure times and a whole lot of stuff which means precious little to me.
Among other things she has been asked to do by her art teachers are a couple of photography projects, one of the urban landscape and its decay, the other on street people, especially street performers. 

So off we went on Monday, a Bank Holiday and therefore a little less busy in the city centre and a bright sunny day (what was I saying recently about spring having forgotten us?) and therefore rather more busy than might be expected. Certainly some were enjoying the ride in Piccadilly Gardens. 

The budding photographer had a specific goal in mind, as well as just finding suitable targets for her camera. Some time ago, out and about with her mother, she had come across a rater fine building under threat of imminent demolition. In actual fact, she was more interested in the protest signs than anything else. So off we went, in search of a building. 

It turned out to be the Ancoats Hospital which used to look like this :

but which now looks like this:

We had a bit of a history lesson from the protest group located outside the building. It was built in 1873 to serve the densely-populated districts of north and east Manchester, an area of cotton mills. Pioneering work was done in the orthopaedic department and during World War II it was often the first port of call with casualties when the city centre was bombed. 

Now a company called Urban Splash own it and claim that they can no longer find an economically viable use for it and so have asked for permission to demolish it. The protesters tell us that there was originally a plan to transform it into shops, offices and/or apartments. However, again according to the protestors, the developers removed the roof, thus hastening deterioration of the building and now claim the plan will no longer work. They want to knock it down and start again. 

There is some interesting new buildings around there but it seems a shame for a Grade II Listed Building to be destroyed. 

We had an interesting visit and the granddaughter had a history lesson combined with a bit of social awareness and consciousness-raising. Very good! 

And she got some good pictures to boot, including some splendid graffiti. 

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