I don't think I've been to Manchester since before the Covid lockdown, so it was nice to revisit with a friend recently. Arriving at Manchester Victoria station, we wandered first into the area around the cathedral, known as the Medieval Quarter, and found this peaceful park with grass, trees, seating and a little rill of water running through. As in many of our cities, there's a lot of development and numerous high-rise buildings going up but this part of the city retains many of its older buildings.
The cathedral, originally a parish church, is relatively modest in size. We did go inside but most of it was being used for conferences so the area we could see was very limited.
Outside the cathedral is a recently constructed garden: 'The Glade of Light' memorial garden which honours the memory of the 22 people killed and those injured in the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in 2017, after an Ariana Grande concert. Its peaceful setting is intended as a place for reflection and remembrance. A white marble halo, engraved with the names of those killed, encircles the planting.
A swathe of the city centre beyond this was rebuilt after the devastation caused by the huge IRA bomb in 1996, which wiped out a third of the city centre's retail space and was the catalyst for a major redevelopment. Beyond this, older buildings are again preserved. The pink facade of this newly renovated space on St Ann's Square is eye-catching. The statue is of Richard Cobden (1804-1865) an MP, activist and pacifist, who championed free trade.
Also in St Ann's Square, the fountain is in the shape of a cotton bud, a reference to the cotton trade on which much of Manchester's fortune was built. The pigeons liked it!