We have recently returned from a flying visit to Manchester (not literally, we let the train take the strain!) to attend the graduation ceremony of our youngest son. His final exams took place during the first lockdown and the ceremony should have been over two years ago. We were very proud and pleased to see him officially graduate.

We arrived the day before the ceremony and the sun was shining. However, the next day was grey, wet and windy. This didn’t dampen our spirits at all but the photos I took were definitely not the best. We’re hoping that the official ones will be much better!

Szymon Shields Pexels.com

The graduation ceremony was held in the Whitworth Hall, part of the Whitworth Building, a stunning structure and a Manchester gem. It is a neo-Gothic, Grade II listed venue and is often used as a film location. The Hall was built between 1898 and 1902 to commemorate the Manchester engineer Joseph Whitworth.

The hall, like the rest of the quadrangle, was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, one of Britain’s best-known architects, who also designed Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.

I was very impressed by the full scale organ and the amazing hammer-beam timber roof. There are panels inside the hall which commemorate local citizens who have supported the University since it was established nearly two centuries ago. My photo doesn’t really do justice to this incredible venue but hopefully gives some idea of how impressive it is.

We have visited Manchester before, either for work or to transport son. I was hoping that we would be able to fit in several visits to some of the many interesting sights of the city but, as my post title suggests, it was more a case of glimpses…

Our hotel was in the centre of the city and this convenient location enabled us to walk nearly everywhere we visited. We were close to Manchester’s Chinatown which is the second largest in the UK and the third largest in Europe. It is relatively new as it developed during the 1970s and has a wide range of restaurants, bakeries and shops.

In 1987, this impressive archway, a gift from China, was built.

I love the dual lingual street signs:

I had hoped to follow a self-guided street art tour but the weather and lack of time prevented us from doing this. However, I was impressed by the statues that we did see, as we walked around the city. We arrived at Manchester Piccadilly and, as we left the station, stopped to look at this amazing sculpture.

Made of bronze, ‘Victory Over Blindness’ is a moving tribute to the soldiers who lost their sight in war. Johanna Domke-Guyot is the artist and sculptor who realised this impressive statue.

The next statue that caught our attention was situated in Sackville Gardens, by Canal Street, in the heart of the Gay Village. This is Alan Touring and the statue was unveiled on 23rd June 2001. He is often referred to as the father of modern computing. He attended Manchester University, later working at Bletchley Park, during WW2, with the code breakers.

Sadly, Touring lived at a time when homosexuality was perceived to be a crime and he was arrested and prosecuted. This ended his career and in 1954, he committed suicide.

Sackville Gardens is also home to the LGBT community Bee and was designed around the Rainbow Flag.

I knew that the worker bee has been a symbol of Manchester for over 150 years, as it represents the work ethic of the people of the city. I didn’t know that in previous years there have been ‘Bee in the City Art Trails’ which I would have loved to see. However, as well as the bee shown above I did spot this one:

I hope you now understand why the post was titled ‘Glimpses of Manchester’! There was so much more we could have seen and done had we had more time. Of course, the main focus of our visit was to attend our son’s graduation ceremony and everything else was a bonus. Hopefully, we will be able to return to this interesting city and enjoy more of the sights.