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Medlock Soul Revival: Installation

Exhibition piece in Link Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University. 27th Feb – 7th March 2013.

Conclusion of 6 week psychogeography project exploring the River Medlock. The installation includes sand and water from the Medlock; a video projection of the section of the river I was exploring; a hi-vis jacket with embroidered and screen printed logo ‘Medlock Soul Revival’; and two showcases of research material including objects from the river bank, books and photographs.

The installation attracted a lot of comment and interest.

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After taking it down I returned the sand to the banks of the river Medlock.

The showcases with research material are staying on display for a bit longer.

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Medlock Objects (poster variation)

Objects found on the banks, and in the vicinity of the river Medlock.

The rule here was to keep the objects in a square grid format. This means all the objects are not to scale.

Medlock objects (all on A4)(72)

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Medlock Objects

Slideshow (silent) of objects found on the banks and in the vicinity of the river Medlock.

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Medlock Soul Revival (Ancoats Beach – Interventions, Observations)

Engaging with the beach, collecting objects from the sand, raking the beach…

 

Some clips of the river at the beach….

 

Hi-vis jacket – ordered online. Embroidered logo on front, print on back….

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Medlock Soul Revival (Installation: Studio Trials 2)

Further developments with the installation…

The bucket and ball have been replaced with a clear tube of river Medlock water.

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Some of the unidentified seedlings have started to etiolate due to low light levels in the studio….

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Medlock Soul Revival: Installation (development)

Having acquired a decent display case I proceeded to fill it with all the bits and pieces I have collected along the banks and vicinity of the River Medlock. But looking at it, I decided it was no good. It looked like a pseudo-museum. So I collected sand from the Ancoats beach area and settled on the orange bucket and green ball to sum up this phase of the project. I was going to let the sand dry out, but much to my surprise and delight small sprouts started to grow within 48 hours. Obvious really, that there would be some sort of seeds in the sand of a riverbank. So my installation has become a living thing, and I intend to cultivate the seeds all the way to the exhibition in a couple of weeks.

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Ancoats Beach (Field Trip 3)

Buying a rake.

But arriving at the site and seeing there were three Environment Agency Vehicles there.

An animal hole.

The snow has melted.

Patterns in the sand.

Starting at the gated land that was once the Ancoats Nursery School…..

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And as Ancoats Nursery School was, on Palmerston Street, 1965.

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Ancoats Nursery School on Palmerston Street, 1965. Courtesy J. Shaw

Due to the snowmelt the river Medlock is high today….

IMG_2944 IMG_2946The Environment Agency arrived to clear some of the rubbish….one of the men said that they would clear the sand away at some point. The barriers are to prevent trees and large rubbish entering the culverts in Manchester city centre. Once larger objects enter the culverts it is hard to remove them, and they can cause flooding.

IMG_2947 IMG_2948 IMG_2949What animal?

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Ancoats Beach (Field Trip 2)

Circling the Beach looking for concentric clues.

Melancholic trash.

Limekiln remains. Bricks.

Beswick poverty, poor store protected by monumental stones.

The invisible Ancoats Art Museum.

Manchester University Settlement and the Roundhouse.

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loneliness / solitude

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the suchness of everyday objects / the uniqueness of a thing in and of itself

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a feeling of nostalgia

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mystery / hidden, ineffible dimension of reality

IMG_2845 IMG_2848Footpath up Lime Bank….

IMG_2850The birthday balloon has moved from the fence by the river and up the track…

IMG_2851 IMG_2852 IMG_2853Lime Bank, off Ashton Old Road….

IMG_2854‘Dark Island’ – all the way from the Orkney Brewery…

IMG_2855 IMG_2856I thought this mini-mart was probably closed down. But it is an ongoing open business. The council put the stone blocks around it after several car ram-raids on the shop….

IMG_2857 IMG_2858 IMG_2859I asked one of the guys in the shop if they knew where this stone came from, but they didn’t know. I was hoping it might have come from Ancoats Hall / Art Museum. Would love to find out.

IMG_2863Ardwick Youth Club demolition is progressing….

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IMG_2868This uprooted tree must have seeded  on top of a demolished building site – many bricks in the roots…

IMG_2870 IMG_2873 IMG_2874 IMG_2876 IMG_2879 IMG_2883Wild nature….

IMG_2885The site of Ancoats Hall and Ancoats Art Museum.

The Art Museum Committee was formed in December 1877, with the support and involvement of the Manchester Literary Club, the Manchester and Salford Sanitary Association, of which Thomas Horsfall had long been a member, the Manchester Statistical Society, local branches of the Sunday Society, the Ancoats Recreation Committee, and, from 1879, the Ruskin Society. Owens College and the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts were also involved, and support came from the Manchester Guardian in the shape of journalists W. T. Arnold and C. P. Scott. Despite a general air of moral support, the local and national depression was partly responsible for a lack of funding for Horsfall’s Art Museum project, and the delays this caused were compounded by difficult negotiations with Manchester Corporation. Although rooms were initially taken for the Art Museum at a new gallery in Queen’s Park, in north Manchester, relations between the Art Museum Committee and the Parks Committee broke down, and the former seat of the Mosley family at Ancoats Hall on the western bank of the River Medlock was not eventually secured until 1886, when it became the Museum’s home.

It eventually closed in 1953 when most of the collection was transferred to the Manchester Art Gallery (formerly the Royal Manchester Institution).

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ancoats_hall_chethams_library© Chetham’s Library, Manchester

(Note Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at Ancoats Hall in 1745 – entertained by Oswald Mosley in the house which was then a Tudor design.)

In 1800 Mosely sold the Hall the local mill owner George murray, who demolished the hall and built a smaller Gothic structure in its place. That Hall was the one bought by T.C. Horsfall in 1876.

When the Hall became the Art Museum, William Morris helped Horsfall with wallpapers and textiles, which went up alongside engravings of Pre-Raphaelite works, and paintings by G.F.Watts and Turner.

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Ancoats Hall, 20 Every Street,  1964 © Manchester Libraries

See blog on Thomas Horsfell and Manchester Art Museum

A lime kiln lane 1884Lime Kiln Lane, detail from 1880 OS for South Lancashire, courtsey of Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.co.uk/

The events being the Man City matches mainly…..

IMG_2891This circular brick wall marks the spot of Christ Church, otherwise known as ‘The Round House’, opened in 1824. This was a chapel for the Bible Christian Movement. Members of the church were vegetarian and also political radicals. The first members BCM followed the lead of charismatic preacher William Cowherd who preached the revolutionary politics of Thomas Paine. Cowherd died before the chapel was established and his successor was Joseph Brotherton, who later became Salford’s first MP. Note that Brotherton’s wife, Martha, wrote the first vegetarian cookbook in 1812. The Church closed in 1880, moved into the hands of the Salvation Army and then to the Manchester University Settlement (which was also based at the nearby Ancoats Hall). In 1963 the Settlement moved out of Ancoats Hall and the building was subsequently demolished.

The chapel was sited on a burial ground, the gravestones of which are visible and arranged around the circle.

Through the silver birches can be seen the towers of All Soul’s Church further down Every Street.

IMG_2894The circle is sadly neglected and has become a tip for rubbish…..

IMG_2898 IMG_2903 IMG_2904 IMG_2906 IMG_2909 IMG_2913All Soul’s Church on Every Street. Pevsner describes it as “idiosyncratic Romanesque” in style. It closed in 1981.

‘Every’ comes from Yvery after Baron Yvery, whose daughter married into the landowning Mosley family.

IMG_2914 IMG_2917 IMG_2919 IMG_2923 IMG_2925 IMG_2926 IMG_2932The other side of Ardwick Youth Club demolition…

IMG_2938There was a school here on Palmerston Street – now demolished….

IMG_2939A brief return to the Round House site. “Dee Dee” (dog?) and glass table tops…

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Ancoats Beach (Field Trip 1)

23rd Jan 2013.

“Manchester’s got everything except a beach.”

lan Brown (former lead singer with The Stone Roses)

Sous les pavés, la plage. (Under the paving stones, the beach.)

Situationist International slogan; paris uprising 1968

“Beaches: Manchester’s undiscovered landscape”

Roger Bygott (Interactive Arts Practitioner)

This sullen sandy spot with snow. Dog and bird prints. Green bottle of QC. Embankment of bars and trash. A conjunction of questions.

Why is this place as it is? Why is is broken? What is the function of the ramp into the river? How did the sandbank form?

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Medlock Drift 20: Ancoats Bridge to New Viaduct Street

An odd mix of moods, mess, and ecology along this section of the River.

Ancoats Bridge….

IMG_2478Limekiln Lane:

CaCO3 + heat → CaO + CO2

CaO = Quicklime.

Because it is so readily made by heating limestone, lime must have been known from the earliest times, and all the early civilizations used it in building mortars and as a stabilizer in mud renders and floors. Knowledge of its value in agriculture is also ancient, but agricultural use only became widely possible when the use of coal made it cheap in the coalfields in the late 13th century, and an account of agricultural use was given in 1523.

IMG_2479 IMG_2480One of the best beaches in Manchester…

IMG_2481 IMG_2484 IMG_2486 IMG_2487Path up to Aden Close….

IMG_2488 IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2491 IMG_2492 IMG_2494 IMG_2495This was the Ardwick Youth Centre. Now being demolished….

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English Heritage’s Pastscape website notes that ” The Ardwick Lads’ and Mens’ Club, now the Ardwick Youth Centre, opened in 1897 and is believed to be Britain’s oldest purpose-built youth club still in use [and was until earlier in 2012]. Designed by architects W & G Higginbottom, the club, when opened, featured a large gymnasium with viewing gallery – where the 1933 All England Amateur Gymnastics Championships were held – three fives courts, a billiard room and two skittle alleys (later converted to shooting galleries). Boxing, cycling, cricket, swimming and badminton were also organised. At its peak between the two world wars, Ardwick was the Manchester area’s largest club, with 2,000 members.”

IMG_2499Views from the Palmerston Street bridge…..

IMG_2500 IMG_2502 IMG_2503Gurney Street Bridge….

IMG_2504 IMG_2506 IMG_2507 IMG_2508 IMG_2509 IMG_2510 IMG_2511Footbridge over to Purslow Close….

IMG_2512So much for the sign to St.Anne RC Primary….

IMG_2514Looking down over the Holt Town Bridge, marking the end of Ashton New Road and the start of Merrill St….

IMG_2516View up Merrill St….

IMG_2517And the new tramline extension out to Ashton-Under-Lyne is nearly complete…

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IMG_2522 IMG_2523Odd concrete dome….part of playground?

IMG_2525 IMG_2526The bridge at New Viaduct Street goes over both the River Medlock and the Ashton Canal.

IMG_2527 IMG_2528A heron in the Medlock – a good sign: heron = fish….

IMG_2530 IMG_2531New tramlines over the Medlock…..

IMG_2534The Gas Holder station is dominant in the local area….walking down Upper Cyrus Street…

IMG_2537Round the corner and down Upper Helena Street….rust, small businesses, corrugated iron, padlocked gates…

IMG_2538 IMG_2539This park had me a bit uneasy…there only one entrance to it and, until the works on the tramway are complete, there is no way out. It could be a delightful place with a bit of care.

IMG_2541The Ashton canal, frozen over….

IMG_2544Proximity to Man City Stadium…..

IMG_2545 IMG_2546 IMG_2547The Medlock flows under the Ashton Canal….

IMG_2551The Ashton Canal flows under the railway and over the Medlock….

IMG_2552 IMG_2553 IMG_2555 IMG_2556 IMG_2561 IMG_2563 IMG_2565 IMG_2566 IMG_2567 IMG_2569 IMG_2572Squirrel and broken glass…

IMG_2574The River Pub on Palmerston Road… (‘River’ i.e. Medlock)….

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A good article on the demolition of Ardwick Lads Club and mentioning the River pub is here.

 On the 10th September 2012 an application for prior notification of proposed demolition was submitted on behalf of Manchester City Council to Manchester Planning, for the demolition off Ardwick Lads’ Club (Ardwick Youth Centre) of 100 Palmerston Street (M12 6PE), citing that there was “no use” for the building in respect to its historic place within the community as providing a refuge and sporting provision to the young of Ancoats.

All historical, architectural, build quality and potential use within existing and wider regeneration process were quickly dismissed. More details on the planning application can be read here: 100472/DEM/2012/N2

Whilst permission to demolish was “not required” (Decision Letter, 8th October 2012), it begs the questions, was it in the communities best interest to strip an area already critically lacking in its historical and architectural roots and importantly an area that already has little or no sporting or community provisions.

A last ditch attempt to save and spot list Ardwick Lads Club on historical and architectural grounds was dismissed by English Heritage and backed by theSecretary for Culture Media and Sport, with no attention paid to local significance or importance.