Stockport – Room at the Top

Every town worth its salt should have a decent second hand book shop.

Stockport does.

Room at the Top – on the ever so elegant Market Square, centre of the Old Town and part of the ever enlarging nexus of vintage shopping.

Jane, John and Lynn offer a wide selection of books, records, art, ephemera, glass, toys, ceramics and almost all sorts, in their first floor eyrie of happiness.

Always at the most reasonable of prices – you can get a brew too!

So take an hour out to browse, pursue and lollygag in convivial surroundings.

Leave with bags full excitement and a broad grin.

Huddersfield – Queensgate Market

One can only marvel at the ingenuity and vision that brings together modern architecture, technology and municipal functionality. It has produced an indoor market place of lasting and everlasting beauty and wonder.

Vaulted concrete roof columns and high side lighting from the pierced window strips between the split level roofing lead the eye up towards eternity.

The exterior and interior walls are both adorned by some of the finest mid-century public art.

A lasting provincial splendour that offers more with each visit – it’s irresistible.

Inside and outside.

Get y’self along there pronto!

http://www.c20society.org.uk/botm/queensgate-market-huddersfield/

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Greater Manchester – Tin Tabernacles

I’ve always been fascinated by temporary and informal architecture from childhood dens to shotgun shacks, sheds and caravans, so here is a record of the so called Tin Tabernacles from around Greater Manchester and beyond. And a tribute to those local people that created them.

Edward Taylor Bellhouse 1816–1881

He was apprenticed to Messrs. Wren and Bennett, where he remained for some six and a-half years, and where he acquired a thorough knowledge of practical engineering. He then worked for about a year as a journeyman millwright at the Caloa Mills, and at the St. Helen’s Union Plate Glass Works; and next spent a year as a journeyman at Sir William Fairbairn’s works in the Isle of Dogs. The following year, the last of his actual workshop life, he passed in the employ of the Liverpool Grand Junction Railway. On 1st July 1842 he started the firm of E. T. Bellhouse and Co., which has carried on a prosperous business for the last forty years at the Eagle Foundry, Hunt Street, Manchester. Mr. Bellhouse, undertook the erection of many large bridges for various railways; and the whole of the stations required for the Arequipa Railway were constructed by him.

Another branch of engineering in which be took a great interest was the construction of iron buildings. He made and erected many custom-houses of iron; among others, that for Payta, Peru — a building unique of its kind.

Within Manchester he did a large amount of work, both for the corporation and for others. The construction of large roofs, and the general ironwork in connection with the erection of buildings, constituted the principal part of his Manchester business, although he did a large amount of hydraulic work, having among other things designed and made the hydraulic lifts &c. in the new City Hall, Manchester.

Apart from business he took an interest in every institution which tended to the benefit of his fellow-citizens, and showed especially an active desire to better the position of his workmen; for the latter purpose an extensive scientific library was formed at the Eagle Foundry. He was connected with the formation of the Athenaeum, was president of the Mechanics’ Institute, and a director of the Royal Institution of Manchester; and in many other ways he gave all the aid in his power towards benefiting the social life of his native town. After a life of hard work and disinterested generosity, the ravages of time and over-work began at length to be felt by a constitution which was not naturally of the strongest. Finding himself in failing health, be removed to Southport in hopes of regaining his strength; but on 13th October 1881 he died there at the ago of sixty-five.”

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Stockport – Postal Sorting Office

What happens to functionalist architecture when it ceases to function?

It ceases to function.

Standing on the A6 in the centre of the town, once home to a warren of postal workers, sorting mail in preparation for the two delivery a day walks. This was a communications hub before they even thought of communications hubs.

The office stands empty, inside the paint slowly peels.

Following changes in working practices the posties now sort their own round, for a single daily delivery. The process has become mechanised, requiring new technologies and an appropriate anonymous architecture, on the edge of town.

The building however, continues to reflect a 70s optimism, monumental – fading, as optimism is apt to do.

An exciting composition of curved tiled volumes and boxy glass and steel modernism, in a delightfully battered brown and cream. Now in the ownership of the Greater Manchester Pension fund, its future would seem, to say the least, uncertain. This whole Grand Central site clustered around the railway station has been subject to a series of speculative leisure developments. As in other locations they seem to fade, just as quickly as the boarded hoardings, shrouded in designers’ digital piazza visualisations.

So we stand and stare at each other lovingly,  our heads in a cloud of municipal stasis.

Inside nothing moves.

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Stockport – Post Box

I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to ever last

My heart should be well-schooled
‘Cause I’ve been fooled in the past
But still I fall in love so easily
I fall in love too fast

I fell for you the very first time I saw you – imbedded in the wall of the Postal Sorting Office.

Though now each time I pass by and try my best to look the other way, I’m helpless and hopelessly can’t resist.

But you’re closed – all I can do his stare at your stopped clock.

And wonder what might have been.

It’s twenty three minutes to seven – forever in my heart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zrSoHgAAWo

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Huddersfield – Merrie England

Did you know,

That there’s some corner of Huddersfield.

That is for ever Merrie England?

A local café group, that has the market cornered in West Riding mock-baronial dining.

Walking into a half-timbered, overwhelmingly cream and red, world of tea, toast and hot beef sandwiches, there is a dislocation in time and location. No longer March 2015 in the centre of a Yorkshire Town, but in a lukewarm Westworld totally lacking in animatronic psychopathic killers.

The furniture is brown.

Moves are afoot to refurbish and refresh the brand, one branch doing its best to emulate an Argos furniture showroom, with an incongruous suit of armour thrown in for good luck.

Clank!

Pop in make your own mind up – old new old, or new new old.

http://www.merrie-england.com

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Huddersfield – The Sportsman

Turn left out of the station, round past the George, big and closed. Head under the railway viaduct – there it is right in front of you, on the corner of John Street.

The Sportsman.

You will not find a finer pub, but you don’t have too, you’re there.

Striding across the decorative deco porch, pushing aside the weighty timber and glass doors. Inside a dull warm afternoon light, falls lazily through the windows. White globes glow low from the ceiling, gently washing the well worn parquet floor. Put your bags down on the upholstered seating, walk up to the bar get a pint pulled, then another – take your time it’s fluid.

The main room is wide and welcoming, side rooms smaller and intimate.

Decorated in a post war muted style, all wood and restrained colour, certainly not over fussy or over decorative. It has a style that doesn’t impose itself upon you – simply whispers in your ear

Pub.

Look out for the tiles, a series of sporting scenes in the gents, mysterious.

Do yourself a favour, have a drink there soon.

http://www.undertheviaduct.com/about/

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/toilet-tiles-mystery-huddersfields-sportsman-4966441

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