Manchester City Walk - November 3rd 2013

Reporter: Joy Parsons

Thirty club members turned up on a showery Sunday morning at the Midland Hotel to meet our guide Ed Glinert who is an expert on Manchester's history.

We started by walking through this magnificent hotel which was built at the terminus of the London Midland Railway next to the Central Station, now the G-MEX centre.
We heard that the Nazis did not bomb these buildings or the Town Hall as they planned to use them after their 'victory'!

We were shown the facade of the Free Trade Hall which had been the home of the Halle Orchestra but which is now a luxury hotel with penthouse suites at £2000 per night! This venue was favoured by former Labour prime ministers, the Conservatives preferring the more elegant Midland.

We walked through to the area of the Courts of Justice which has been almost entirely rebuilt. There is a double parabolic-shaped building there designed by Norman Foster which was distictly underwhelming.
Near this was the site of an old church with a mass grave beneath. There was no room for the coffins which were dug up and reused after the mourners had gone. How's that for recycling.

We were taken to see the area where Coronation Street is filmed and also an old school with the playground on the roof. The area has an air of dereliction and is going to be redeveloped when Granada TV move their studios.

We walked through to the Lowry Hotel which overlooks the River Irwell and is the preferred accomodation for footballers. Across the river was the site of the old city prison and we heard some gruesome tales of past events there...

We were shown the site of the post war nuclear bunker which would have withstood the A-bomb but not the H-bomb. There are many tunnels leading from here and these now contain cables and fibreoptics. We also saw the rebuilt Arndale centre and the post box that withstood the IRA bomb [but it wasn't the actual one].

This tour took about 2 hours and was truly fascinating throughout. Ed Glinert praised our ability to keep up with him as we raced around the city at a cracking pace!

We then had an enjoyable lunch at Giorgio's Italian restaurant in Portland Street which was a fitting end to a memorable morning in the city.

Our thanks to Barry for organising this and hope we can do something similar next year.