Day 15 – Tue 10 May 2005 – Meandering in Manchester

Not a very well boy today, but suspect it is ‘traveler’s tummy’ rather than IBS. Stuck around town for a few hours (near to loos) until a bit better. Liverpool shopping is not bad, but strangely enough I can’t find a one hour photo shop. Went for a quick trip out to Blundellsands and Crosby by train to check out Clare M’s hometown haunts (I figure it isn’t stalking if she’s on the other side of the planet). Quite a nice area and the station reminds me of my own local Cityrail station, except it has a subway instead of an over-bridge, and of course, no overhead catenary power lines.

Liverpool Lime Street Station Concourse (Photo: Irate)

Once back in Liverpool I caught a service to Manchester and did a quick appreciation of the city. As a former engineer my interest is to have a look at the place where the industrial revolution and all that beautiful 19th century machinery effectively began. It’s somewhat larger than Liverpool, and seems a bit rambling and disorganised. The city is supposed to have a rocking night life, but it seems to lack Liverpool’s spirit and edge. There are several railway lines connecting the two cities. The one I travel on is closest in route to the world’s first passenger / goods line.

While in Manchester I checked out the Museum of Science and Technology. Lots of good exhibits about the textile industry (an original Manchester mainstay), the history of the development of engines, the use of electricity, and an air and space museum. The latter had a late mark of a Spitfire, an English Electric P1, an Avro 707, an Avro Shackleton and numerous aero engines. The museum is free and also has a section on locomotives, including some very early units and a South African Beyer-Garrett. It’s spread over several buildings, which makes it feel a bit disjointed, and includes a preserved part of the first Manchester Railway Station.

The Avro Shackleton AEW in the Museum (Photo: Nick Dowling)

Went to Deansgate Station instead of walking back to one of the main Manchester stations. resulted in me getting an ‘all stations’ train back to Liverpool, and one which was fairly crowded as it was now peak hour. A lady got on the train (I use the term loosely, and she was very much mutton dressed as lamb) with two kids (about 14-ish); one girl and one boy. The two females hid in the loo while the boy made quite innovative excuses to the guard about not having tickets. The female guard obviously knew them. When they got off at Lime Street, the three darted off and made their escape down an emergency exit. Great education for your kids mum!

The famous Midland Hotel in Manchester – (Photo: Clem Rutter)

The countryside between Liverpool and Manchester is not particularly exciting. A fair amount of new estates are springing up; but why do the British persist with the traditional architecture? Have they never heard of real houses, or do only certain classes get them? The canals of manchester look interesting though, often with beautifully decorated barges/boats. Some of the canals are now ‘water features’ in new urban residential developments.

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