8 October 14 To Rochdale where there was an exhibition I wanted to see at the
Touchstones Gallery, but I stopped off in Manchester en route. Mostly cloudy.
Victoria station. Few people realise that a river, the river Irk, flows under the station,
through a concrete culvert. The culvert isn't strong enough to carry the new Metrolink
tram tracks so a bridge is being constructed over the culvert. Piles were driven either
side of the culvert then these beams were laid across, which in turn forms a base for
a concrete slab. They are not resting on the culvert but lie a few inches above.
Some Urban Explorers have taken superb photographs of the inside of this culvert,
including the intriguing 'cattle bridge'. Also more information and photos here.
The river was described by Frederich Engels in 1844 as being one of the foulest watercourses in Manchester,
a river that was polluted with the wastes of the tanneries, bone mills, gasworks and the privies of
innumerable half-ruined medieval houses that originally lined its banks where the culvert now runs.
In 1844, standing on Ducie Bridge, Engels described the open river as a 'coal-black, foul-smelling stream'
that was filled with horrible slime and refuse and whose waters produced bubbles of 'miasmatic' gas that
'gave forth a stench unendurable' even high up on the bridge. There is also a good description of this area
in the famous novel by Mrs George Linnaeus (Isabella) Banks, The Manchester Man, first published in 1876.
The new Metrolink platforms take shape and some new track has been laid.
Another remnant of old Manchester. Some of the old back streets still have cast-iron
kerbs, used instead of stone which would be damaged by the iron rims of cart wheels.
Rochdale Town Hall and War Memorial.
Holodomor Memorial Stone, Memorial Gardens.
The Holodomor ("Extermination by hunger") was a famine
in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932 and 1933
that killed about 4 million Ukrainians.
The Memorial Gardens. Someone appears to have put soap in the fountain.
Artwork and seating, Drake Street.