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Pretending to be a Tourist

Story location: Home / Blog /
29/Jun/2007

Manchester has changed an awful lot since I lived there, back in the early 90s. It's changed a lot in the couple of years since I last visited. So many new buildings and developments have sprung up around the city centre.

The actual City Centre is much larger than when I lived there. The redevelopment around the Northern Quarter has made it part of the centre, making the area around the Cathedral more accessible and a complete change from how it was 15 years ago when most of the buildings were either offices, grotty shops or derelict.

Today was spent pretending to be a tourist in a city which used to be home but now seemed foreign to me. So much has changed that I decided to explore it as a tourist would.

See more ....
I started off at the GMEX (now renamed Manchester Central but all the signs still point to GMEX). The Manchester International Festival started yesterday, and the Festival Pavilion is there, but there seems to be nothing much happening during the day. At lunchtime they had a string quartet playing, but I didn't stay because the drinks were a bit overpriced for my liking - over £3 for a beer is just not the Manchester I want to know.

Big Wheel in Manchester
The aforementioned Northern Quarter was home to a Big Wheel. It's also home to Sinclair's Oyster Bar which is a great pub with cheap Manchester prices - roughly half those charged in the pavilion. Next door to it is The Wellington, which was famously moved a hundred yards or so after the IRA bomb.

I walked down Deansgate and noticed that the whole street now seems to be shops, bars and restaurants. 15 years ago, there was nothing worth seeing once you started to venture much further south than St Anne's Square. John Rylands Library
I visited the John Rylands Library for the first time. Despite having been a student in the city and having visited the 'new' John Rylands Library on campus many times, I had never actually been in the 'original' library. The building was designed to resemble a church, and is well worth a visit.

Roman Fort
I continued on to the Roman Fort of Mamucium. There isn't much of the original fort on show but some towers and bits of wall have been reconstructed.

While in the Castlefields area I visited the Museum of Science and Industry. The last time I was here was in 1990 and the place is completely unrecognisable. It's now split into 5 buildings, each showing a different aspect of science, with a Manchester emphasis wherever possible.
Sewer, in the Museum of Science and Industry
The Underground Manchester exhibit covers a lot of the history of the City which emphasis on sanitation or otherwise. The photo above shows a stretch of sewer.

My final bit of tourism was to visit the Art Gallery on Mosely Street. I must have walked past it hundreds of times but never gone in. It was an interesting diversion and they had a painting (The Sirens and Ulysses) which you could watch being restored.