Friday, 30 January 2009

But who was Moles Marvel who greets me every morning?

Of course an objective map is a myth; every step of the cartographers art involves choices, editing, naming, focusing and pretending otherwise is disingenuous. Its particularly interesting to see the gap between an official neighbourhood boundary, used perhaps for admin purposes, and contrasting it with residents perceptions of where they think they live. Much frustration can ensue (I speak as someone who feels like i live in Whalley Range but actually don't)

I was musing on this when studying the Ardwick Heritage Trail, produced for the Victoria Baths Neighbourhood Master Plan. I'll confess I've only seen a paper copy but the website is here (actually I've just looked and there are a lot of blank pages)

Now this is a very useful resource and nicely done; it covers some important and amazing places such as The Pankhurst Centre, Victoria Baths, The Gaskell House, The Armenian Church are more - well worthy of accolades and recognition - and bonus points for details of public transport.

But some curious choices have been made. The Whitworth Gallery doesn't feel like Ardwick does it? And where is Ardwick Green? A really interesting park, with its own glacier, and a ragged school, Manchester's second oldest church, the grave of moles marvel and one of my favourite gargoyle's surrounding it. Hmmm.

I can't help but contrast the 'official' tour with that devised by the indomitable Miss Euphemia P Niblock last year. Having spent many years studying Brunswick and becoming its passionate champion it saddens me she was obviously not consulted by the powers that be.

I was privileged to take tea with various scholars and artists at the areas cultural heart - Apartment - before being escorted on a magical tour which encompassed all kinds of delights from colonies of parrots, lost sky walks (i note failed regeneration masterplans have no place in history), radical adventurers, guerrilla gardeners and more.

Although the marvellous Miss Niblock was otherwise engaged her spirit and wisdom was imprinted all over the place. She surely is a national (not just local) treasure and an inspiration to all loiterers everywhere. I commend her writings to you as an excellent guide to not just our fair city's post industrial heritage but also life in general.


morag said...

apologies for my terrible spelling (the result of too swift typing) now fixed i hope x

Bluestocking said...
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Bluestocking said...

well this is most interesting....sad that most of the site is blank! the trail weirdly echoes our own but typically skirts the estate as is actually inhabited highlighting only what marks its edges! still it is a 'heritage' trail but i like to think that heritage includes residents and is ongoing, still being created and negotiated rather than a fixed or finished product...

i think perhaps i should conduct another walk taking in the stockport road side of brunswick/ardwick to complete the circle we began in november. it will also provide an opportunity to exchange information on the wonderful ardwick green and the history of the apollo.

thanks once again for listening to the ramblings of an old fossil such as myself...treasure is very much in the eye of the beholder and you my dear appear to bear all the hallmarks of a prehistorian. we always treasure the worthless, the curious, the debris...xxxepn

robradcliffe said...
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