Category Archives: architecture

Wasted effort

Friday 19th February 2021, 2.40pm (day 3,466)

Business school, 19/2/21

This is the exterior of the Alliance Manchester Business School, built for a vast amount of money and now going completely to waste, along with the rest of the campus; monuments to a time past, now standing in a city of the dead. If you think I’m being over-dramatic, have you been to Manchester lately? Nothing has happened there since October. A sense of rot is setting in, and if you (like the publicly cheery city council) think that ‘recovery’ is all just a matter of a wave of the legislative wand, I say that’s optimistic, at best.

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Manchester roofscape

Thursday 28th January 2021, 11.10am (day 3,444)

Manchester rooves, 28/1/21

I am still obliged to go into Manchester now and again. It’s good for the step count and the general variety but it’s not an edifying experience. Since March, it’s been a city of the nearly dead. Buses come past plastered in adverts that — in essence — shout “Live In Fear” and “It’s All Your Fault, You Know”. I pointed my camera upwards. This shot is taken from Cross Street; I like the red chimneys, and the corrugations of the tower block peering through the mists behind.

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On Canal Street

Tuesday 12th January 2021, 8.10am (day 3,428)

Canal Street, 12/1/21

Still going into Manchester for now, because I need to. The times these shots emerge is a factor of the train I catch — compare this with last Friday’s, taken, well, 10 minutes earlier in the walk. I just like the abstraction of this one. You can’t photograph buildings like that from ground level without losing the parallels somewhere or other, but this looks reasonable.

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World in a window (Selfridges)

Friday 8th January 2021, 8.00am (day 3,424)

Selfridges, 8/1/21

A scene I have passed frequently over the last nine and a bit years but never really noticed before; still, that’s one point of the blog, isn’t it. I thought at first there was a real live human in it (something not prevalent in Manchester city centre right now) but in fact its one of the mannequins, or the start of an android takeover, seeing as we’ve made such a mess of it. A nice ‘rule of thirds’ illustration although I didn’t want to lose the red door at the bottom, and yes, the foliage does get in a way just a little bit. This is the earliest post in a day since 21st September.

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Stony-faced

Monday 28th December 2020, 1.25pm (day 3,413)

Southwell faces, 28/12/20

Our Christmas tiered tour (it’s a Bojo the Clown thing) of central and eastern England continued, and ended, at Southwell in Nottinghamshire. A place to break the homeward journey, thanks to it being a very small town with a very large church, the Minster. These carvings rest on the wall of the bishop’s palace, facing the churchyard. Purely decorative? Or perhaps a warning, the petrified remnants of excommunicated souls? There are only these two. Going monochrome fits their age but also disguises the distracting bright green flash of moss to bottom centre.

Seven new places in seven days — a blog record. (Easton-on-the-Hill, Cromer, Norwich, Beeston Regis, Wells-next-the-Sea, Horsey and Southwell.)

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Mill Royd Mill, Brighouse

Saturday 19th December 2020, 1.35pm (day 3,404)

Mill Royd Mill, 19/12/20

No social commentary whatsoever. I like the shapes, the shadows. Good to get out, even if only to Brighouse.

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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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