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City Walk - November 2nd 2014

Reporter: Jonquil Lewis

Barry, as previously, arranged a lovely autumn day and 28 members assembled with our "New Manchester Walks" guide, Ed Glinert. The theme was Heroes and Villains. Ed peppered his talk with many amusing anecdotes... My HERO or VILLAIN verdicts are just my personal view.

Starting at The Midland Hotel we learnt that it was here that Charles Rolls met Henry Royce in1904, leading to the formation of that iconic organisation. Royce was the perfectionist engineer who had been one of the first men to put electricity in his home. Rolls was the younger man and an avid aviator. He became the first Briton to be killed in an air accident in 1910 at the age of 32. .....Definitely HEROES

Next stop was the Bridgewater Hall, originally to be named after Sir John Barbirolli whose statue is outside. The maestro is credited with rescuing The Halle Orchestra from dissolution in 1943 and taking it to worldwide recognition and with pioneering the rise of recorded music.... HERO

The Central Library has just benefitted from a £25m refurbishment. Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister, HERO?, laid the foundation stone but is regarded as a VILLAIN by many in the Labour Party to this day because of his leading of a National Government (coalition) from 1931 to 1935. King George V opened the library in 1935, but the golden key jammed and that is the reason why openings now tend to involve the cutting of ribbons. He saw the monarchy through turbulent times from 1910-1936. It was he who ditched the German surname and took the name Windsor. HERO

In Albert Square there is a statue of W.E. Gladstone because when the Town Hall was built the Liberal Party were in charge. He was actually a Scouser, son of a Demerara sugar baron. One of his many reforms was to introduce the secret ballot.... HERO

Lincoln Square contains a statue of Abe, but he never came here. However, he sent a letter to the working people of Manchester thanking them for their tacit support during the Civil War despite the Cotton Famine which caused terrible hardships over here... HERO

Stopping at the City Police HQ was the reason to discuss the controversial figure of James Anderton, Chief Constable 1976-1991. He was a tough, religious man, much loved and respected by his force, a "coppers' cop." But his outspoken views on criminals, striking miners, homosexuals, AIDS, drugs, prostitution and general moral dereliction caused him to be hated by many. HIV victims were "swirling in a cesspit of their own making." ...VILLAIN

You are all going to lose the will to live here so I'll skip more quickly through a few. More info on wiki

Free Trade Hall. Scene of rallies, 1934, held by the British Union of Fascists led by Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet Ancoats ...VILLAIN

The Hall was reinvented as The Radisson and was home to Tony Blair during the Party Conference 2006, under the tightest ever security. ...VILLAIN

St Mary's Church, The hidden gem. It was here that Tony Wilson made his last confession. He founded Factory Records and owned the Hacienda.... HERO

Rylands Library opened in 1900 and was the gift of Enriquita Rylands in memory of her husband. ...HERO

Dalton Entry - named after John Dalton, arguably Manchester's greatest scientist.... HERO

Near Pall Mall. In 1798 N M Rothschild settled in Manchester and became the most powerful (richest?) man in Europe. "I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls the British money supply controls the British Empire and I control the British money supply." 1815.... HERO & VILLAIN

Arndale Centre , built by Arnold Hargenbach and Sam Chippendale, opened in 1975. Was it a "shoppers heaven on earth" or a ghastly mistake? ....VILLAINS

Our final stopping place was the site of the old Plaza nightclub, venue for many famous 1960's acts HEROES but also sometime host Jimmy Savile ....VILLAIN

After our very entertaining walk we all went off to Georgio's Restaurant HEROES and had a lovely convivial lunch with great food and chat amongst good friends ....HEROES

Thanks, Barry...... HERO!

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