Category Archives: architecture

White elephant?

Thursday 19th November 2020, 9.35am (day 3,374)

Oddfellows Hall & MECD, 19/11/20

The vast MECD, or Manchester Engineering Campus Development, is pretty much finished. In embryonic form it was first depicted way back in early January 2018. It now dwarfs the old Oddfellows Hall, which it has part-swallowed, yet what you see rising here is only a small part of the whole.

Thing is — and I am very sure that, having spent hundreds of millions of pounds on this new plaything, the senior management of UoM are keenly aware of this point — is this now the whitest and most mammoth of white elephants? And what of all the blocks of new student accommodation, and hotels, and office blocks, and all the other city-centre property developments that global capital has been poured into over the last decade or so? If you think the economy’s taken a Covid hit thus far, wait for the whole global commercial property market to go tits-up. This piece of economic elastic does not have infinite tolerance. I predict we’ll be coaxed back out into our offices soon enough: if not, they’ll hear the crash on Pluto.

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A house of doors

Thursday 12th November 2020, 9.30am (day 3,367)

Riverside shed, 12/11/20

Well, it’s not a house in the sense that anyone lives here — at least, not yet (wait a couple of years and this might be the only thing round here that many people can afford). Spotted on one of my random walks around the local area that are the only meaningful activity available to us right at the moment.

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The Humber Bridge

Wednesday 4th November 2020, 11.25am (day 3,359)

Humber Bridge, 4/11/20

For now, I’m not saying anything about the reimposition of house arrest that comes tomorrow. The weather was far too good for that, and far too good to stay at home, so I went out and bagged another of my County Top walks while I could still do so without breaking some ridiculous new legislation. And a good walk it was too, given added interest by walking over this gargantuan piece of engineering, the Humber Bridge. This was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1981: 1.4 miles long, it took me over half an hour to cross, and the colossal stanchions are over 500 feet high.

Great bridges to have featured on this blog? In the UK at least, the Tay Bridge, the Forth Bridge, Devil’s Bridge, Hebden Bridge 🙂 (OK, maybe not the last one). There was that very long one in Lisbon too. It’s good to get out and see parts of my country that I’ve not seen, which is the ultimate point of my walking project. It’s good, and it’s healthy, and Johnson and his cabal of losers can all piss off. Oh, I said I wouldn’t say anything about it. Sorry.

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Mural (no longer heron)

Friday 16th October 2020, 1.30pm (day 3,340)

I quite like the heron mural that occupied this spot until fairly recently; now it has become this. Possibly this blog is now the only record of how it used to look. I do quite like its successor too, but this photo is more of all the various quadrilaterals on the side of what used to be the Hole in the Wall pub and has been ‘under refurbishment’ for what seems like years now.

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Wainhouse Tower

Saturday 10th October 2020, 1.05pm (day 3,334)

In all these 3,334 days I have yet to depict my local area’s tallest construction, Wainhouse Tower — so here it is. When conceived in the 1870s this was originally going to be a mill chimney but disagreements between land- and mill-owners meant that it was eventually just built as a folly, and according to its Wikipedia page, it is the tallest folly in the world — which I did not know until just this last minute. So one to add to the ‘superlatives’ list on the Stats page when I next get round to updating it.

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Autumn comes to campus

Tuesday 29th September 2020, 2.40pm (day 3,323)

Campus tree, 29/9/20

It’s the end of September. The golden foliage is a sign autumn is here.  With it come the students — but this year, instead of being out meeting new people and enjoying themselves, largely they are walled up in high-tech prisons like the George Kenyon hall behind.  Still charged £9K (plus rent) for the privilege.  And the UoM is one of the better ones, presently.

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Halifax bus station

Sunday 20th September 2020, 4.45pm (day 3,314)

Halifax bus station, 20/9/20

Another weekend ends at Halifax bus station.  After 11 different places in the last 12 days — only Hebden Bridge has been repeated as a location over this time — it’s time to stop wandering around for a while and spend some time at home.

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The Crescent, Buxton

Thursday 20th August 2020, 1.20pm (day 3,283)

Buxton Crescent, 20/8/20

Every British spa town worth its salt in the 18th century — Bath being the archetype — included a great sweeping crescent like this.  Buxton, a little town stuck a thousand feet up in the hills of north Derbyshire, therefore has this magnificent monument to Georgian good taste plonked in the middle of it. Buxton Mineral Water is mined literally from underneath it.

This Crescent has been empty for a long time, then years of wrangling about who would foot the bill for its restoration ended with it being converted into a hotel, due to be opened in May until you-know-what. But as its rebuilding is not yet over, that means there are no cars or other accessories defacing its facade — once the camera is lifted over the fencing in the way, anyway (visible to bottom left).

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Paranoia

Friday 7th August 2020, 11.00am (day 3,270)

Paranoid house, 7/8/20

Here is a house occupied by someone with several problems. I’ve been passing it for a couple of years without it changing much, and there is evidence to suggest it’s been developing like this for 23 years.  Thing is, it has, as a result, become a tourist attraction, and this probably just adds to the occupant’s paranoia.  I will forego identifying its location, although it’s not round where I live.

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King’s Cross, underused

Saturday 1st August 2020, 11.25am (ish) (day 3,264)

King's Cross, empty, 1/8/20

It’s been nice to come down to London for a couple of days, the weather’s been good and I have met friends and had decent exercise.  But there’s been something eerie about it, unnatural and wrong.  Difficult to do much else today than post another picture of somewhere that should be very busy on this day and time under normal circumstances, but instead, echoed like an empty cathedral.

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