The Vault Regulars

Friday, June 26, 2020

Around Prestwich trails.

Tuesday 23rd June 2020

Today we started off with a bit of ancestor hunting in St Mary's church Prestwich. We had been doing a bit of family history during lockdown and I had found my oldest relative so far was called James and born in 1685 in Oldham. The family then moved to Ringley and then Prestwich and then Barton upon Irwell. 

It seems they moved following work. They all were involved in farming, the silk and cotton industry and then as the industrial revolution became prevalent, the foundry industry. No wonder I'm an engineer and not a capitalist.

In the church yard we met up with a group of volunteer's who were very knowledgeable with the history and from them we found out that because a lot of the graves had become overgrown whilst lockdown had been in force we would be better getting more info about grave numbers etc.

We had a look round but with no success. We noticed all the flagstones had "M" cut into them. We found out that this was due to theft which happens on occasions.

St Mary the Virgin church, Prestwich, Manchester
M marked flagstones.
There is a set of stone steps just inside the church gates, these were originally outside the gates and they were there to assist ladies dismount from their horse. They cost 8 shillings to be built in 1678 and installed and when they were moved inside the gates it cost 12 shillings just to move them.
The ladies steps

From the church gates a footpath the left leads down to Prestwich Clough, once a hive of industry with the bleach works but today it's part of the countryside footpath system of Bury.
It's heavily wooded now and full of birdsong and is used by bikers and walkers. It leads down hill to the River Irwell and the sculptor trail.
Prestwich Clough
Just prior to reaching the Irwell we turned north and headed for a small pond which is fed by Bradley Brook. It looked quite stunning today with the water lilies and water fowl.
Bradley Brook Pond
Water Lilies
Leaving the pond we joined the Irwell Sculpture Trail, this is a good walk in its own right, being 48km long and has 70 sculptures along the route.
We stopped at an old pier which we think was used in victorian days for the removal of what used to be called "night soil". Before the days of water treatment works. The Irwell used to be one of the most polluted rivers but now it is clean and has good fish.
The River Irwell from the pier with 1st the old railway bridge, part of a larger viaduct (Now disused) and at the back the bridge which carries the Bolton,Bury, Manchester Canal. (now disused)

We tried to get up onto the viaduct but it is totally fenced off which is a real shame. The old track is available to walk, which we did for a short distance until it crossed the M62. This was our furthest point North today. Prior to the motorway being built there used to be another viaduct crossing the valley but it was demolished for the motorway. It was built by the Phillips family and the Railway company at a cost of £8K.
The disused Clifton railway viaduct, closed due to poor condition. There are 13 arches in total but my lens wouldn't fit them all into one shot.
Walking along the old railway.

"Spotted" on the railway path.

So many trails in one area, easy to make a mistake.
The M62 from the new footbridge where the demolished viaduct used to be.

At this point we decided to leave the ongoing track for another day but instead of retracing our steps we decided to head for the Manchester, Bolton Canal bridge and the opposite bank of the River Irwell.

The canal is undergoing restoration at some sections but here its still in a state of disuse and much of it is dry and overgrown.

In all that growth lies the canal. You can see the towpath edging stones on the right.

River Irwell, looking North from the canal bridge. Pilkington Tiles works on the left bank.

River Irwell looking south to the old aqueduct from the canal bridge.

Light at the end of the tunnel. Irwell bank path.

It was a hot day with high humidity, the scent from Himalayan balsam and Honeysuckle strong. The dangerous Giant Hogweed had grown into large forests and at some points we had to be careful not to touch them.
There wasn't much bird life on the river today except for noisy Black Headed Gulls.

The Giant Hogweed. Must be 9-10ft tall.
It was pleasant walking along the river and we met no one. We passed an industrial site which was full of millions of plastic bottles. So we had found where all our conscientious recycling ends up. In a brown ground site in Clifton Junction. Not the most pleasant view.

It wasn't long before we came to the bridge to get us back onto the other bank. At this point I made a bit of a mistake. I didn't look at the map and we took the right path which was the wrong path. We should have gone left. It meant that we ended up at the car park at the entrance to Drinkwater Park. It put 30 minutes or so onto the walk and meant going through a large housing estate, but it was a nice day. 

Todays Route. 10.32km.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Photos around Manchester City Centre before lockdown ends.

Sheila and I took the opportunity of a walk around Manchester Town Centre. Prior to the shops opening again in 4 days time. Many things have changed during our lockdown since March. Many building projects started, roads closed, high rise flourishing. If you know it, The old Boddingtons brewery site which was a very handy huge car park is now a new building site. Parking prices had risen at other city centre sites.

There was so many Police and Security walking and driving around the city centre. We've never seen anything like it and Sheila has worked in the city centre all her life.
Generally people were keeping apart and I guess it was 50/50 people wearing face masks. It was fairly obvious that most BAME folk wore masks, while white locals didn't. There was exceptions to both.

I have purposely kept the text to a minimum and let the photo's tell the story of our trip.

The coat of arms located above the entrance to Chethams Music school. Founded 1655. 
The building also houses the oldest free public reference library in the UK. It has been in continuous use since 1563. I have never been in. But I need to put that right. 

The Mitre at the Mitre Public House and Hotel.
Built in 1815 as The Old Church Tavern. It changed its name and gained the Mitre in or around 1867. I wondered what was in the space prior to the mitre.?

The Old Wellington Inn built in 1552 (right), Manchester's only remaining city centre Tudor building. Sinclairs Oyster bar (centre), The Mitre (left). 
The Wellington and Sinclairs were demolished and rebuilt 300 metres from their original position. They were re-built at 90 degrees to each other to form a square with the Mitre in 1999. A modern corner section was added.

"The last shot". Boer war memorial in St Ann's square.
The cotton boll (Bud) fountain in St Anns square.
 Opened by Tony Blair in 1996 to commemorate Manchester's long standing with the cotton industry and also the area becoming pedestrianised. Its designer was Peter Randall-Page. The bud is sandstone and the base, granite.
Statue of Richard Cobden. 1804 - 1865.
Manufacturer, radical and liberal statesman. Founder of the Anti corn law league with John Bright. Manchesters first Alderman.
Plaque outside St Ann's church.

St Ann's association with The Jacobite Rebellion. 

Homeless Jesus. 
Represents the problem in Manchester of the homeless. Installed in Manchester after Westminster City council refused planning to site it near the Houses of Parliament. Sculptured by Timothy Schmalz
Coat of arms of Benjamin Heywood's family who had their bank in St Ann's square. 
Built in 1848 by John Edgar Gregan.
Heywood's Bank now RBS.
                                                                 Fryderyk Chopin, 
Played one of his last gigs in Manchester, 1848. He was ill when he played here. He died in 1849. This commemorated the fight for freedom of the Polish people.
Outside Manchester Science and Industry Museum. 
A Crossley 2 cylinder engine designed to run on wood gas. Converted later to diesel and was working until 1970. Its a type SE220. 
A blue post box?
This post box was brought into service painted blue and it used to have an oval steel plate on its lid saying AIR MAIL. It was to do with letters being sent to armed service personnel before and during WW2. It's still in use today but for normal post. 
The founder was McDowell Stevens and co, London and Glasgow. Most of these boxes were manufactured when the company foundry was at Laurieston Ironworks around 1912.
Signage of what the box would have had years ago. (photo from Wiki)

The Britons Protection. 
Something we need more of in todays climate of numpties trying to rule.
This pub has a long history. Built between 1806 and 1811 depending on what you read. 
Murals inside commemorate the Peterloo massacre along with its 1930 style decor. It's name goes back to its days of being the venue for army recruitment.
One of many gymnast sculptures called "Up there". On First Street Avenue. Created by Colin Spofforth.
This sad building was Medlock Mill, a cotton mill, built on the river of the same name in 1801. 
It was bought by the Percy Brothers around the turn of the 20th century and turned into a printing press works. Now completely derelict and will probably become apartments soon.
If you want to look inside click on this HERE.
The Refuge.
A couple of shots of where Sheila worked all those years ago. The Refuge Insurance building.
Now a hotel.
The chimney of Bloom Street power station taken from Whitworth street.
It used to be known as Winser street power station. It was built canal side (Rochdale Canal) so that narrow boats could be offloaded and coal put directly into bunkers.
It used 4 off 1800Kw vertical engines from Musgraves and ran Westinghouse generators. It provided heating as well as power for the area.
Canal side view.
A Manchester Great.
Alan Turing, Mathematician, Computor scientist, Broke the German Enigma Code during WW2. 
And more...
Another Manchester Great.
Vimto. Something I drink every day. Made here on Granby Row in 1908 by J.N. Nichols.

The Technology Arch.
Art by Axel Wolkenhauer at Manchester uni.

Sculpture of Archimedes by Thompson W Dagnall. 1990.
Signifies Archimedes at the point that he discovered the law of buoyancy while in his bath.
The tower of the old fire station on London Road. 1906. 
The station is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment, as a place to work, rest and play. 

Glad to see that the original frontage of Picadilly Station has been kept.
Statue of the great Duke of Wellington.
Raised by the people of Manchester 1852 by Matthew Noble. It was unveiled in 1856. Surrounded by four allegorical figures and four relief scenes from his life. (below)

The Great British Queen. Victoria.
Seated and robed, she sits with St. George and the dragon on the plinth above. Sculpted by Onslow Ford.
James Watt by William Theed. C1850.
Watt was a Scottish Inventor, Engineer and chemist. Best known for his work surrounding the Industrial Revolution. Especially the steam engine.

Sir Robert Peel
By William Calder Marshall. Peel founded the modern Police Force. Prime Minister and brought about laws to stop women and children from working underground. Erected by public subscription.

The infamous Piccadilly wall. 
The sooner this monstrosity gets taken down the better. It's an eyesore.
Removal of the wall will further enhance the view of the tree of remembrance. For Manchester people killed in WW2. located in 2005.
An old Victoria Reigns post box on Mosely Street. Probably not used today as there is no collection plate, but also the slot is not sealed so maybe it is..
The contract to make these boxes was given to W.T. Allen and Co. London Founders. The name is just visible at the bottom of the box. However, the boxes were actually made by a sub contractor James Maude and Co of Mansfield who was originally a farming machinery founder, and worked for W.T.Allen. Maudes foundry was working up until 2004.

Portico Library.
This is a rare subscription library designed by Thomas Harrison and built between 1802 and 1806. Notable members include, John Dalton, Sir Robert Peel and Eric Cantona.
I just loved the name of this restaurant. It's not meat free either.
Manchester Cenataph.
Inside The Arndale Centre.
Facade of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Station.
Manchester Victoria.

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