Sunday, 27 May 2018

People And Places

We have a great new picture on display at the Manse. A delightful, unexpected gift from our SIL Gary, on the morning of his wedding to Steph, back in April. It is a print of Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. 
It was painted in 1954 by LSLowry, looking across the gardens towards the Rylands Building. There is so much to discover as I look at it...
John Rylands was the great entrepreneur and philanthropist, Manchester's first multi-millionaire. His elegant Art Deco warehouse became a department store in 1957, and the Grade 2 listed building still stands sentinel on the corner of Market Street overlooking the open space.
It is believed that LSL sat upstairs in the Lyons Tea Room, on the opposite corner, to sketch this view - presumably being fortified by cups of tea served by a 'Nippy'. This is an unusual LSL- he preferred to invent his own scenes, bringing different ideas together, and so this accurate depiction of real Manchester people is rather special.
For more than 250 years, this area in the heart of Manchester has been a place where the people met to trade, and do business...and to meet friends and spend time together. The view has not changed much since LSL's day - there are still flowerbeds, benches and fountains, people pushing babies in buggies, others walking dogs, lovers holding hands, pensioners sitting together chatting amiably. 
I know that this painting has lots of detail for me to discover and I shall have a great deal enjoyment from it. It shows Manchester as a hive of activity - since the industrial revolution, this has been a centre of work, production, co-operation and community - it is not surprising that the worker bee has long been the emblem of this proud city. This one is embedded on the tiles in the Town Hall, built 150 years ago.
It seems strange that last Sunday I was thinking about bees flying in the garden, and this week bees are in my thoughts again - but for as different reason. The Manchester bees have been buzzing around, reminding us all of the tragic  events of 22nd May last year. Piccadilly Gardens is just a short distance from the Manchester Arena, where 22 died, and many were scarred for life - physically and emotionally. 
Steph said that on Tuesday, she finished work, and as she came out of the building, it was very moving to hear all the people singing together in nearby Albert Square. A community sharing in the collective sadness, with a determination to move forward together.
I appreciated the thoughtful words of the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, at last week's Memorial Service. He pointed out that the majority of those caught up in the bombing were not from Manchester, they were visitors, who'd travelled many miles to be there. He said that they'd returned to their own communities where those around them would quickly forget and move on. But he believed that there would always be a place in Manchester for these hurting and bereaved people to come and remember. 
We are hanging our new picture in one corner of the lounge, opposite a favourite photo of London which Jon and Liz gave us. They remind me to pray for my daughters and their families, and for the two great cities where they have made their homes - and that however lovely places might be, it is important to love and care for the people who live there.
Thank you again, Gary, for the picture, it's really special. And to Liz, Happy Birthday -looking forward to seeing you, Jon and Rosie tonight!


  1. A marvellous painting. So many dogs! I saw your comments the other day about bees and again today. I thought you might be interested in this

  2. That is a lovely picture! And you are right, a lot is going on in that picture! I like how everyone is shown staying on the paths and not walking all over the grass in the planted areas! Thank you for the link to the "Nippy" - I enjoyed reading about it. Always find out something new in your posts.

    Happy birthday to Liz! Enjoy your evening with your daughter and family, Angela.

  3. Oh Angela, the photo of your picture took me right back to my childhood. I was born in 1953 in Manchester and remember waiting in Piccadilly Gardens for our bus home from the city centre. It used to be an oasis with the gardens and fountain. I’d love a copy of it so if you could ask your SIL where he bought it I would be very grateful. I wonder if the department store you mentioned was Lewis’s? We were in Manchester last week to register my fathers death and sat outside for a beer in the sunshine in Albert Square. The buildings are wonderful, a testament to the wealth created by cotton. As a former Manchester resident I feel very proud of the city

  4. Catherine I have emailed the details to you


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