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BEING A TOURIST IN MANCHESTER
Imperial war Museum North
22ND oCTOBER 2011
I love travelling. but sometimes unfortunately I have to work to fund my trips. So I have decided to explore my local area with the eyes of a tourist and share this with whoever is interested!
Do not be put off by the title. I am not interested in war, in fact I am a pacifist. but went along here because I had heard it was good.
I was not disappointed. The museum does not glorify war, rather tells the story of how war affects the life of ordinary people.
I have visited a lot of museums in the world and I am proud to say, nobody does this as good as the Brits.
I usually only can spend a couple of hours at a museum or art gallery, but I ended up spending most of the day here.
First I wandered around for a while, catching one of the hourly “big picture shows” where images are projected all around the walls of the museum with commentary from people telling about their experiences of certain war related events.
This one was about bombing in Baghdad street market. There is an installation of the wreckage of a car that was in the street when it was blown up.
Then I had lunch in the excellent cafe, passing through a corridor lined with notes written by soldiers i Afghanistan. Some funny some moving, poems, jokes, eye witness accounts! some unreadable.
The food was excellent and home cooked. Braised beef, new potatoes with cherry tomatoes and mange toute. The cakes were also made on the premises. I had a eccles cake , recommended by the server, which was a bit pricey at £1 75p.
The view over Salford Quays and Media city is wonderful. The BBC have saved Salford Quays.
At 13.30h I took a guided tour. Well worth listening to the excellent guide, as she explained the history of the building, deliberately built and laid out, to be slightly disorientating, as is war.
After the tour I browsed the special exhibition of war correspondents. Again fascinating and very well presented.. Ironically as I exited the news of the death of Maummar Gaddafi came through on the live news feed.
This museum changed my opinion of war,usually as something that I do not get involved in.
I realised that sadly we are all affected by wars, even if it is only economically. Far from sitting smugly in our safe democracies thinking it could not happen to us, I realise it can happen any time, anywhere and the sad thing is that Britain has been involved in wars since 1914.
So, a Fantastic day out and highly recommended.
Free entry, but the car park is £4 and they ask for a donation of £4 50p for the museum guide. Of course you do not have yo pay this. I have paid much higher entrance fees in the rest of the world. So to me it is cheap at the price and if I go back I already have the guide. I would still make a donation though.
The other thing I noticed was how enthusiastic and friendly all the staff were. No sulky bored museum guards here!
By public transport, you get the Eccles tram from Victoria staion, get off at media city and walk across the bridge.
Denise
Love from Bolton
2.SALFORD QUAYS/MEDIA CITY AND THE LOWRY ART CENTRE.
I had not been to Salford quays for a few years. It was an unrban regeneration project, started in 1982 to replace the Manchester docks, but frankly I thought had become a bit of a white elephant. It never seemed “finished” Empty buildings and apartments used to stand idly by and there was an air of under use in the Lowry cente, where we used to go and listen to jazz in the bar on Sundays.
A couple of years ago the BBC decided to relocate to this are from London and what a difference this has made! Now it seems complete. People are working and living there. The place was buzzing. A kind of space age city surrounding the water of the old docks, which are clean enough for swimming and fishing. There were canoeists and divers in the water the day we visited. The architecture is modern of course, but to me this is fascinating. How glass and steel and concrete has been used to create aesthetically pleasing buildings. Like modern sculptures in themselves.
Here are some pictures.
We caught the (pink line) Eccles tram from Moseley street in the city centre. I have not used the tram network much before, I find it very efficient. It took us past the Manchester landscape which I love. I think Manchester urban planners and architects really know how to blend modern architecture with the converted old mills and warehouses. There is still a bit of urban wasteland between the city centre and Salford quays, which is a world away from Salford centre. where the recent riots took place.
We got off at Harbour quay, Crossed the bridge and walked past some town houses. Modern high rise apartments surrounding us. It was a beautiful sunny October day. There were still leaves on the trees and they were turning those wonderful automn colors. . We came to the Lowry centre, but first we were hungry so we had lunch in cafe Rouge, jn in the square outside.
We ate a passable steak and frites and souffle au fromage. Not quite Paris, but it filled a spot!.
The art gallery is in the Lowry centre….. L.S Lowry is now officially one of my favourite artists. I loved this exhibition. Not least of all becuase he painted “pictures from my childhood” The Lancashire I grew up in, and of course “going to the match” The painting of Burnden park, Bolton wanderers old ground where I went with my father and brother and my first boyfriend, (before I got wise and decided I found football boringl!) LOL!
There is also a display of the work of Vallette. A mentor of Lowry. A French impressionist. He is a better painter than Lowry and I enjoyed his work, but I feel that Lowry put his SOUL into his paintings and has a unique style.
There is a very interesting 20 minute film about Lowry. My husband, who was with me, used to visit him every first Sunday in the 60’s, with his then girlfriend, so my husbands stories added to the day. .( actually my husband was a reluctant visitor as the visits kept him away from his usual activity of a pint in the pub!)LOL!
We took the programme for the Lyric Theatre and Studio, within the same building. Everything from Opera to pantomime and community theatre.. There are lots of performances going on there all the time and we resolved to go to more concerts.
Later we wandered around the Outlet mall. This is a shopping centre, with discounted designer clothes etc, cafes restaurants and a cinema. Not really my thing but it was interesting to browse. Hubby has bought bargains for the Austin Reed shop there before ans Marks & Spencer were doing a roaring trade.
So back on the short tram journey to the city centre and home.
Denise
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