The North!

Published: March 11th 2008
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Tiny tombstoneTiny tombstoneTiny tombstone

Amazing that such an important person hasn't got a larger grave, but I guess the sad story prevents it.

This time, we ventured into the North

All photos by Skord

As far as I've heard, the road signs don't say "Manchester" when driving from the south of England here, but they just state "The North". Sounds appealing to me, I must admit. Unfortunately (in many ways), we entered the country by Manchester airport, so I couldn't get any North signs on photograph.

The reason for this trip was threefold:

And since an old classmate (or what do you call people you've been too university with?) from Ancient Greek moved to Manchester a while back, we could stay at her place instead of at a hostel, which always is good.

But I'm ahead of myself. We started this trip with a good old tradition of visiting known peoples' graves. This time, the trip went to Macclesfield and the cemetery there. And this time, we had prepared (correction: someone closely related to me had prepared) with a photo of the location, so that we would have a decent chance of NOT spending 2,5 hours finding it (like in Providence). And
Cheshire CatCheshire CatCheshire Cat

This is The Cheshire Cat. I'm positive, there were absolutely not a single other cat around!
we did. So the tiny memorial to the singer of a really good band got a couple of tiny flowers from us as well.

After a sentimental moment there (lot more moving to me than the other graves we've been at), we ventured onward, towards another mission: to find the Cheshire Cat! When I realised Macclesfield is actually in Cheshire, I decided to find The Cat, and you know what? I did! The only cat we saw in the entire city of Macclesfield, including the bus trip to the cemetery, was a proper Cheshire Cat. And it really liked me, too 😊

Unfortunately, we didn't know beforehand that there was a Silk museum in Macclesfield, so we went to Manchester instead, to visit the giant Science and Industry museum. This I can definitely recommend! Very good exhibitions, with interesting texts, and we managed to stumble upon a demonstration of all the cotton textile making machines there! The guide had a really fascinating way with words, combining a joyful eagerness about the 19th century high tech features with almost equally joyful comments on how a child worker could (and often would) get crushed in the machines. On the other hand, had she sounded as sorry as the tales
Oldest station in the worldOldest station in the worldOldest station in the world

This is now a part of the MOSI in Manchester, but it was the Liverpool Station, the original terminus on the oldest railroad division in the world ... (did I tell you my grandfather worked as a railroad builder in Sweden?)
she sometimes told, we'd all been in tears, I guess. We also could see the first, remaining, railway station for passengers in the world, which is now a part of the museum site.
And finally, after a day that started at 4:10 am CET (with a taxi that never appeared, thank heavens we had a plan B), we took the bus from Oxford Road to my friend's place. An evening out with a proper curry and a (half) pint of local ale, we slept very well.

The following day, we did the Manchester Walk, Music style. The tourist information office had provided us with a map of the most interesting places to see, musicwise (modern music, that is, like after the nineteen seventies), so we could see where the Haçienda was, or where Joy Division and New Order rehearsed, and where Morrissey picked his no... no, not exactly, but almost.
Unfortunately, the map turned out to be a bit old, but it's always interesting to see new places of a town. We had to (see point two in the list above) include the economic history part of Manchester as well, so we also ventured into the City Hall and saw several famous trade
Dragon trombone?Dragon trombone?Dragon trombone?

I've no idea what it's called, but this fascinating piece of art stands outside Afflecks Palace. Is it a dragon or a musical instrument? Or both?
and Anti-Corn Law persons. But I think two places were the best (in no particular order)
Afflecks palace (NOTHING to do with modern day American actor, I guess I have to point out) - Wikipedia has a good article here, by the way.
Chetham's Library (dreadful web page, though).
That library was the first free(!!) public library in the UK, opened in the 17th century and is still open. Well, the books were chained to their chests, but still... beautiful place!
Another place full of history was the Free Trade Hall, where several important things have happened in history, from the Peterloo massacre to the Sex Pistols' concert of 1976.

We also tried to find the Pankhurst house, but the map we got wasn't very good, so we ended up on Little Nelson Street instead of Nelson Street, which turned out to be on the exact opposite side of town. But, close to Little Nelson Street we got a proper English lunch, consisting of egg, beans and fries, and jacket potato and beans (with a tomato slice on the side!!), respectively. Cheap but filling, you can't ignore that.

The proper Nelson Street (close to the University buildings) hosted the Pankhurst centre, but as it
Chetham's library 1Chetham's library 1Chetham's library 1

The front entrance. But just wait...
is today an active organisation there for the protection of abused women, we didn't come back when it was open, but only took a souvenir photo.

And then, we took a trip on the oldest railroad division for passengers in the world! More on the destination in the next blog.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Chetham's 2Chetham's 2
Chetham's 2

Aha, this is why they could have a free access to the library ... The books are in chains! (Hm, "Books in chains" – sounds like a good title for something terrifying!)
Chetham's 3Chetham's 3
Chetham's 3

And this is the inside. When I sent a postcard to my office partner, he complained about our office not looking like this. I agree, why don't I work at a place like this?
Free Trade HallFree Trade Hall
Free Trade Hall

Indeed, this old building also housed the first Sex Pistols' gig in Manchester, the gig that's supposed to have moved "everyone" of the later music scene here. The wings of history, eh? It's today a hotel, and I managed to ask the kind receptionist if we could see a couple of statues hanging on a wall, so we got in to feel those wings flap like mad :-)
Madchester HaçiendaMadchester Haçienda
Madchester Haçienda

Here it was, but here it isn't. NB that they've even named the area after the music club. (And DON'T make the mistake to believe that the restaurant "El Hacienda" on the same street is anything even remotely close.)
Pankhurst of todayPankhurst of today
Pankhurst of today

So, here the history of the Western world changed forever. I wonder what Emmeline and her daughters would have thought of the female leaders of today?

15th March 2008

England was a long time ago...
I had almost forgotten you were going to England. It's been a long time since we were there... Too long in fact... We'd better plan a trip there soon then. Loved the Cheshire Cat BTW. Among other things Alice had this to say about her Cheshire Cat "I have often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat."

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