Manchester Week 42 14th February 2012
Its hard to photograph chatting with friends. We've come to Manchester via a couple of nights near Chester, visiting Brian and Sue. In some ways a rest from "doing things".

But here we are in Manchester visiting a couple of Kiwi friends, Jane and Duncan.

Truck looking totally out of place again. But it gives the neighbours something to talk about! 

Across the road, beyond the wall, was "the old Manchester" of terraced houses.

As far as locating the historical spots (John & Helen question) its a big mixture. Websites, pamphlets at campsites, asking, and, importantly, maps that have all sorts of funny icons. 

We headed into the Wirral, the area south of the River Mersey.

There's an antique fair somewhere near most weekends. 

Not a water tower.

Some sort of particle collider we believe.

And so to Port Sunlight.

Home of Lever Brothers and Sunlight soap.

A large part of the town was built after a competition of architects where everyone won. Everyone (of worth) got to build their design.

And of course they all had very different ideas.
Hulme Hall also faces onto the green.
Inside another antique fair, though a bit down market this one.

The hall is of passing interest as the site of the first Beatles concert with Ringo Starr.

The world is full of little known facts, just lurking, waiting to be discovered.

They also serve delicious scones with cream and ...

More of the distinctive architecture.
With ornate brick chimneys.

The story of Lever Brothers is really of William Heskith, the first Vicsount Leverhulme.

From son of a grocer to head of his organisation employing 85,000 people worldwide.

All founded on the marketing of a single product, sunlight soap.

Port Sunlight is also the home to the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

Lord Leverhulme was a bit of a collector. Not just anything. It seems he collected the best of what other people had collected.

This is a Chinese funeral procession in the style of the Tong Dynasty (AD618-907) copied in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1400).

I couldn't help wondering if the terracotta warriors were a big funeral procession or an army protecting the Emperor in death.

The pottery was exquisite.

We'd expected to see a bit more pottery in China (we must have missed it in the Forbidden City).

Here has been collected the best of the best.

There are two domes in the gallery. The building is as impressive as the contents.
Wedgewood has been an enigma to me for years.

Nice, but I could never really comprehend why Wedgewood relative to lots of other pottery.

Much praised and still available (though probably made in China!) I could never quite see the attraction.

This fireplace surround is original Josiah Wedgewood. Not the factory made stuff.

The craftsmanship and the result are (to my untutored eye) exquisite.

There are three similar fireplaces in the gallery.

Just the artistry and execution continued to amaze me.

I haven't a clue what one would use them for. Simple decoration comes to mind.

Something to be coveted, just to admire.

The depth of the colours was fascinating. It all seemed to stand out so well.

The gallery holds the largest collection of original Wedgewood.

Now I think I understand the attraction - but would probably want an original if I was in the market (so to speak).

The main room of the gallery. The domes are at each end.

There was much more, including a Napoleon room and the sort of ancient Greek vases that are studied. 

Under each dome were sculptures.

Some unusual (to us) wording on the war memorial near the gallery.

Its "not blotted out".

The relief on the memorial is also fascinating. A big statement.

Through the Mersey Tunnel (which I think was built before I was born). To Liverpool.

Late in the day and murky - the north west of England is a bit like that.

Atop those two towers are the Liver Birds.

You'll have to google them!

At one time Liverpool was the busiest port in the world (by several measures).

Liverpool has two cathedrals.

This is inside the Anglican one. Almost conventional with a few twists.

Fairly recent as cathedrals go.

And the opposition Catholic Cathedral.

Too late to go inside.

Post WWII it some of my church collection pennies helped pay for it. From the perspective of a child it seemed there were always requests for more.

Since we didn't have many pennies its probably part of what started my withdrawal from organised religion.

Apart from that its a fine edifice.

Gateway House in Manchester was a departure from straight lines when it was built in the early 1970's.

My recollection is it was occupied by government services. It looks a bit empty and run down now.

Manchester Town Hall is much more imposing.

Designed to make a statement about Manchester in its prime.

Inside is just as majestic.

Stone gothic arches.

And Lancashire Hotpot for lunch in the "cafeteria".

The leather armchairs looked the part but weren't really that comfortable for eating from!

The Italian waiter was real.

Upstairs was just as opulent.

This is one of the reception rooms.

And the corridor with one of two curved staircases.
Manchester is built principally from brick.

"Its amazing what can be done with brick" comes to mind.

I've been here before of course. About 40 years ago was the last time.

I seem to be looking at it with fresh eyes. Part of growing older I guess.

Manchester Week 43 20th February 2012

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