Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Overlooked Manchester


"We are not architects, preservationists, activists, though we do know a number of each of these. We are not radicals, Situationists, academics or psychogeographers, though we are lucky to count a few of these mythical creatures as our friends..."
The newly-formed Manchester Modernist Society cannily introduces itself by telling us what it is not. So what is it? Well, the MMS manifesto makes for great reading, here's an excerpt:

"We believe that the recent past and its rich variety of grand and ordinary, cherished and neglected buildings continue to play a part in our shared consciousness and sense of identity ...We are keen to foster and help develop a greater public awareness of the rich and complex relationship between architecture, art and design and public space, and draw attention to the precarious nature of much of the 20th century backdrop that we often mistakenly take for granted.

We aim to create a real space for discussing, engaging and enjoying perhaps occasionally even campaigning for the multilayered complexities of a city that is comfortable to wear its carbuncled heart on its sleeve. Not for us the smooth uniformity of a relentlessly brand new city that is too intimidating to use."


Organisers Jack Hale and Maureen Ward have also enlisted the support of EP Niblock, who wrote the introduction to their website. The Society's first get together is a trip across the Pennines today in Leeds. But, closer to home, they also recommend this talk on The Future of Architecture tonight at The Circle Club. Look out for more events in future on their website or Facebook page.

There's more to a city than buildings, and Green Badge Guide Anne Beswick wrote to tell me about her new tour which focuses on some of quietest and possibly most neglected Mancunians - Manchester's trees. Loyal readers know I am a friend of the trees and wish there were more of them around here. Having grown up in a place that looks like this, I'm never really comfortable too far away from a forest. But it turns out I'm not far at all: The Red Rose Forest encompasses a big chunk of the parks, trees and woodlands in Greater Manchester. Who knew?

Anne says: "Did you know that alder makes the best charcoal for gunpowder manufacture, that birch trees are known as the 'ladies of the woods' or that the old name for oak was 'ac' from which we get acorn and Accrington?" More information and a schedule of the tree tour here on the Tour Manchester site. The next one is June 23.

1 comment:

Lester Sands said...

I do like the sound of this. Unlike the birds and the beasts you can (within reason) guarantee that if you build a walk around them then you'll be able to use that material over and over again. Trees are also on my List, along with flowers and insects, of things I need to know more about, so this could be very useful. Just need to find a tour that's not during worktime, now.