Saturday, 21 May 2016

The history of the twin cities in a day .......... less a competition more a collective showing off

So what do you show a Canadian who is visiting Manchester and Salford for the first time?

Down in Castlefied, 2003
My friend Susan is on one of those amazing tours which will take in shed loads of places from Scotland to London and chunks of the far south.

Mostly it’s a journey to search out her family roots but amongst all that she is stopping over here  for no other reason than to meet us and see something of the places I often write about.

Until a year ago we didn’t know each other but we both have a relative who was sent to Canada as a British Home Child.

So this June we meet up.  Susan will arrive sometime on Saturday afternoon, has all of Sunday and be gone again by Monday.

Now given that she will be staying near Piccadilly Railway Station  I thought a tram across town to Castlefield.

Then take in the Duke’s Canal, a flavour of  the Liverpool Road Museum and then by degree through Spinneyfields to John Rylands and onto Albert Square.

St Ann's Church, 2015
Sadly the Town Hall and Central Ref will be closed but we can gawp.

With those in the bag I am not sure.

St Ann’s Square, with the Church, Burlington Arcade and the Royal Exchange appeal with the added attraction that Susan fancies Mr Thomas’s.

Or perhaps  the Northern Quarter, then down to Victoria Station, Angel Meadow and the Jewish Museum, returning to Victoria and another tram off to Salford, Media City and the Lowry.

All of which means the Imperial War Museum North will just be a view from a distance along with the old Urbis Centre, Chethams and the Cathedral.

And of course I am well aware that if Susan’s attention strays for a minute a great lump of history will be lost but that’s how it has to be.

Reflections of Salford from the Lowry, 2007
Now given that we live in Chorlton I thought perhaps the Saturday evening might be spent in that very old pub on the green which dates back to the 16th century has heaps of history as a pub from 1800 and has also been the scene of murky murder inquests and the arrest of some very iffy people.

Of course we could just stay in the city centre sampling some of my old drinking haunts from the Peveril up to the City Arms, the Circus, and the Castle with an option on the Crescent and the Rover’s Return.

And that just leave me asking for more suggestions.

All are welcome and if you offer up a couple of sentences in the way of explanation so much the better.

There is of course no reward, no little present or even a fancy pastry, just that warm glow that you have done your bit to show off the twin cities to a visitor.

The Salford bridge, 2009
Now Susan likes history and has never been here before, so it is as they say an open field.

And I am mindful that I have missed plenty out from the delights of Ashton-Under-Lyne's market and Bury's to the dour but interesting bits of Buxton along with  bits of Trafford, Oldham and Altincham.

Alas one full day and bits on either side pretty much preclude everything other than the city centre.

So there you have.

All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Any one who wants to join us is more than welcome although I have to say I have had currently to suspend my history tours on account of being unable to secure a decent deal on public liability insurance.

St Ann's Square, 2014
But that as they say is another story for another time.

No where is ruled out everywhere is a possibility.

And by the time the suggestions have come flooding in, Canada will have woken up and Susan will be able to make a choice.

Alternatively we could scarp the lot and take a slow leisurely stroll op from the hotel through Piccadilly Gardens and on down Market Street to St Mary's Gate,

And then over the river  to Chapel Street as far as the Art Gallery the working Class History Library and then back over the footbridge into Spinnyfields with a peep into the People's History Museum.

On a tram at St Peter's Square, 2015
So much and so little time.

But the fun will be in the planning as much as it will be in the execution.

Location; pretty much everywhere and anywhere in the twin cities.

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson, 2000-2016

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