Friday, 11 October 2013

Into Manchester

Today I went into Manchester as planned to meet some friends for lunch. It was a just a chance to catch up with old gossip and find out what everyone had been up to. And the venue was just one of a chain of supposedly French restaurants. At least the menus were in French and some of the staff were French. Otherwise it was a fairly typical central Manchester eaterie. We had a good time. 

I like Manchester city centre with its mix of old and new buildings. A Spanish friend once criticised it to me for that very mix, saying that it was wrong to jumble the architectural styles that way but for me it works. And besides, unlike Spanish cities, Manchester doesn’t have a well preserved old quarter but it does have some fine old buildings. So today I took the time to take a few more pictures. 
Tucked between Saint Ann’s Square, one of the nicest squares you could wish for, and Deansgate, one of the main thoroughfares and shopping streets, is the Barton Arcade, a Grade II listed building since 1972. It was built in 1871, a fine example of a Victorian shopping arcade, all glass and wrought iron. It has been described as “the best example of this type of glass and iron shopping arcade in the country”. How about that?! 
I like its exterior with all the fancy detail and the interior with its glass roof and sweeping galleries. 

It’s a pity that the shops inside it are not more interesting but I suppose you can’t have everything. Sadly, for many people it’s just a short cut from St Ann’s Square to Deansgate. They should stop and admire. Like much of Manchester, if you don’t look up as you walk around you could miss it altogether. Bits of beauty everywhere!  

Market Street is a place I once drove down in the wrong direction on a Sunday morning long ago, wondering why the few cars I came across were pipping and the drivers waving. I was a relatively new driver and rather confused but it was Sunday morning. On any other day of the week it would have been too busy for me to make that mistake. Anyway, it has been pedestrianised now for more years than I care to remember. And like such streets everywhere it has its share of buskers (not yet being chased away or fined as far as I can tell), human statues and, of course, beggars. Each beggar, of course, comes with a dog. It’s almost obligatory. So here is one of them. Except that if you look closely you can see that this dog is made of sand. It’s a sand sculpture and not a bad one. 
There’s nothing like a bit of imaginative begging!


  1. Imaginative maybe, but it's a complete scam. Have linked your blog.

  2. As a busker, I object to the term 'begging', although I'm sure you meant no harm. However, the sand dogs on every high street in the UK are not what they seem. I would not call them a scam, but it is a clever act and the public is being fooled to an extent.