(Also, see here
the work created as a result of this visit.)
The odds were stacked against Manchester from the start. It was January, does anywhere look and feel good in January? But Manchester is a laid back kind of place with a take me or leave me attitude, I really don’t care, and I was trying to keep an open mind.
It certainly does have its fair share of grand buildings, and an unusual number of particularly fine libraries: the Chetham’s library – the oldest public lending library in the world (1653), and the incredible John Rylance library which is both architecturally magnificent, an oasis of calm and free to visit!
There are a lot of red brick buildings in Manchester which I personally like but which makes it somehow less grand than its near neighbour Leeds.
There is also a lot of water! Two rivers and goodness knows how many canals! On a sunny day it must be gorgeous but on a cold and somewhat damp day all that water tends to make you feel all the chillier.
It is difficult to establish where the actual centre of Manchester is. It is fairly compact and it didn’t take too long to walk between the various sights but it feels like a city that needs a bit more work to make it truly beautiful. Thereis a lot of building going on but there is a slight shabbiness about the place.
Media City seemed like Docklands when it first sprang up, a bit drab and isolated – but that could have just been the greyness of the day – again I was aware that a bit of sunshine would hugely improve my impression of the area. On a positive note, the trams are great and the people are very very friendly.
So I came away liking Manchester on the whole, but I think the dampness of its climate would put me off ever making it my home.