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Replacing Grain with Mediocrity in Manchester

10 Jan

Blandchester all over. Why must Manchester always get 2nd best.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Photos by 

At the very least they could have kept the far right building of the group demolished.

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Manchester Town Hall

31 Oct

Manchester’s architectural gem.

Giant Toast Rack

31 Oct

Amazing iconic Manchester building sold.

Oldham Doctor in Serbia : A Lady’s Thrilling Experience

31 Oct

Fantastic must read story by Dr Catherine Payne.

GM 1914

Dr Catherine Payne

This story from Oldham is in the best tradition of wartime endeavour and adventure, showing just how much  women played their part. It’s a long post and a gripping story.

Some of the extracts are taken from Mabel Stobart’s book, ‘A Flaming Sword in Serbia’.

Oldham Doctor in Serbia: A Lady’s Thrilling Experience

In February 1915 the Serbian Relief Fund asked Mrs St Clair Stobart to organise a hospital unit to work in the field with the Serbian army. For several years the Serbs had been engaged in military struggles with the Austro-Hungarian forces but during the early months of 1915 there was a lull in hostilities which the Serbs were using to try to rebuild and re-equip their battered army. Soldiers returning on leave to their families had spread the typhus virus and during the winter of 1914-1915 and on into the summer months, a deadly…

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21 amazing places in England recently given protected status

1 Jul

Heritage Calling

1. Ennerdale, Cumbria. About 2000 BC to present

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Longhouses at Smithy Beck. Image by Mick Garratt 

Despite being clothed in over 1,200 hectares of coniferous plantations, the Ennerdale valley retains evidence for human occupation from the Bronze age through to the present day. New historic sites to have been identified include prehistoric cairnfields, numerous medieval settlements, and longhouses and an ironworking site.

2. Mere End Down Romano-British field system, Letcombe Bassett, Oxfordshire. AD 100 to 400

Mere End Down - AP2 JPEG

A fortuitous survival of earthworks representing a small part of a Romano-British field system which once extended for over 20 sq km across the Berkshire and Wessex Downs. The earth banks of the main field boundaries in the scheduled area stand over 1m high, and slighter traces of banks representing subdivisions of fields can also be seen.

3. Bournemouth War Memorial, Dorset. 1920-2

SONY DSC Image by Alwyn Ladell

Listed Grade II*, the memorial remains a…

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Investigating Jerome Caminada, Manchester’s Sherlock Holmes

19 Jun

Whilst researching the adventures of Detective Jerome Caminada for my book, The Real Sherlock Holmes, I came across some unexpected treasures in the Greater Manchester County Record Office, which helped me to piece together his extraordinary life and groundbreaking detective work.

Jerome Caminada Image courtesy of Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archives

Jerome Caminada was born in the slums of Deansgate in 1844. The son of immigrant parents, he endured a precarious childhood in the crime-infested streets of his neighbourhood and joined the Manchester City Police Force at the age of 23. Showing an early aptitude for detective work, he was soon promoted into the detective department and rose through the ranks to become one of Manchester’s finest police officers. A master of disguise and an expert in deduction, he tackled all manner of criminals, from pickpockets and thieves to ruthless con artists and even coldblooded murderers. I found information about…

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History Myths? Blackley Forest, Manchester

29 May

Wonderful post.

As a local community, what is our history and how is it created?

This is just one idea being explored in a range of projects involving several Manchester primary schools, in collaboration with Greater Manchester County Record Office, Manchester Archives+ and The English Heritage, Heritage Schools Project.

As part of this project, children at Bowker Vale Primary School in North Manchester are being encouraged to explore and appreciate their local history.

Bowker Vale Primary School

Their focus is Blackley Forest, re-planted by children of the school sixty years ago. This was in April 1953, the year in which we celebrated the Coronation of Elizabeth II. Later that year, an ‘Arbor Week’ was scheduled, when members of the public and local children could plant more trees.

The public planting of Blackley Forest is remembered locally as commemorative of the Coronation, as well as standing as a memorial for the fallen soldiers…

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The Hulme Crescents, Manchester: bringing ‘a touch of eighteenth century grace and dignity’ to municipal building

6 Mar

Hulme Crescents – modern masterpiece or doomed concrete folly.

Municipal Dreams

In 1978 the chair of Manchester City Council’s Housing Committee described the Hulme Crescents development as an ‘absolute disaster – it shouldn’t have been planned, it shouldn’t have been built’. (1)   By that time, the estate was already a byword for the failure – worse, the inhumanity – of sixties’ mass public housing. That reputation has lingered long after the demolition of the Crescents in 1994.

This won’t be a revisionist piece but let’s at least look a little more closely at what went wrong.

The Crescents The Crescents

As we saw when we looked at the city’s early municipal housing in Ancoats, Manchester was the ‘shock city’ of the Industrial Revolution.  Hulme was also the home of many of those first industrial workers.  In 1914, a Special Committee of the City Council reported a population of 63,177 living there in just 13,137 homes, 11,506 of which lacked baths or any laundry…

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1 Mar

Very nice framing, almost like a painting. Ancoats – one of Manchester’s most interesting places. Wouldn’t have liked to have worked in the mills myself, but would have loved to have seen Ancoats before some very brutal demolition. Still plenty to see, but surely if it hadn’t been demolished, it would have been on par with some of most visited places on the planet. Just look at The Rocks in Sydney – one of Sydney’s most visited places. What Ancoats loses on sun, it certainly more than makes up on history.
























Pictures taken in Manchester, Ancoats neighbourhood and Saddleworth Moors, taken with Canon AE-1 and expired film,


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mancheter superstore cheetham hill

25 Feb

Wonderfully vibrant painting Stephen. Love the colours and great to see some of Cheetham Hill rich architectural heritage gems being captured. Be nice to see them fully restored. Some amazing gems in the area.

Studio Diary


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