The north Manchester home full of secret antique wonders
'If it burned down and I lost everything, it doesn’t really matter'
Dear Millers — she’s back. Dani Cole is back in the house. For the first time since she left The Mill family to go freelance, our beloved former colleague has filed a story for us and, of course, it’s a lovely one.
Recently we’ve had quite a few stories about communities and neighbourhoods and gentrification and census data about communities, neighbourhoods and gentrification, so today we’re giving you a break from all that. A couple of weeks ago, Dani found out about a man whose semi-detached house in north Manchester is filled to the rafters with precious antiques, some of which are hundreds of years old. The windows are shuttered and none of his neighbours know what lies inside. We were utterly intrigued and asked her to gain access.
Before that, we’ll bring you up to date with the big stories you need to know about this week and link to our latest podcast. Which is about communities, neighbourhoods and gentrification, obviously, but this time in audio form and featuring some searching self-reflection from Joshi about whether his weekend read was guilty of stereotyping the sourdough-eating hipsters of New Islington.
This morning we paid a visit to the glamorous environs of Swinton’s civic centre to meet Paul Dennett, the elected mayor of Salford. We came armed with lots of your questions that you suggested on Twitter and had an hour-long chat about his plans to build social housing, whether he really backs Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and whether he’s still a member of the left-wing activist group Momentum. We’ll publish that piece soon.
Open newsroom: this weekend we’re publishing a story about the star conductor Omer Wellber and his time at the BBC Philharmonic. Do you have some insight that could help us with the piece? Please get in touch by emailing email@example.com, ideally tonight or first thing in the morning as we put the final touches to the piece.
As always, this Thursday edition is a members-only affair but the top of the newsletter is going out to everyone on the list. If you’re not a member yet and you’re enjoying our journalism, then please consider making the £7-a-month investment to join the community, get all of our sparkling writing in your inbox every week and get that much-coveted invitation to our upcoming members’ events, in which we will interview great authors on stage and talk about big stories we have published recently. Just hit that button below.
🎧 Listen to our podcast
Our latest podcast is out. In it, Joshi and Darryl discuss gentrification and the social divide in Ancoats (following our weekend read on social cohesion in the area) in a podcast that opens with a visit to Pollen. They talk about the reactions we’ve had to the piece, whether it was fair to the residents of New Islington and whether Ancoats really is “at war”.
They also talk about what’s going to happen inside Factory International, why ministers are no longer talking about levelling up as much and the state of Piccadilly Gardens.
Listen now on your favourite streaming platform.
Your Mill briefing
Successful bidders for the second round of levelling-up funding were announced today. Greater Manchester has been awarded nearly £60m of the £2.1bn pot, although only three boroughs had successful bids. Wigan has received £20m to rejuvenate Haigh Hall, a Grade II listed building they hope to turn into a cultural destination, with an art gallery, restaurant and rooftop terrace. Oldham is getting £20m to build an urban farm as part of the borough's "green new deal". The council hope to turn Oldham into a "top destination for green businesses" as part of its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. And Trafford will use £18m to redevelop a sports village in Partington, which will be hugely welcome in a part of the borough that can feel very cut off from the better-known and more affluent towns nearby.
Manchester and Salford both missed out on levelling up cash to fund their plans to transform shopping centres in Eccles and Wythenshawe but have pledged to continue with the projects regardless. Salford’s mayor Paul Dennett said: "We are very disappointed that this project, which would rejuvenate a high street in one of the most deprived areas of the country, has failed to achieve any Levelling Up Funding."
Some more levelling up news: Ministers have scrapped the Restoring Your Railway Fund, which would have reinstated local services across the country that have been dropped. Part of the £500m planned for the scheme would have gone toward improving transport links between Rochdale, Bury and Oldham. Local MP Tony Lloyd said the government had been "talking big" on economic growth and levelling up, but failed to deliver. Although there are plans for these services to be reinstated by Transport for Greater Manchester, Lloyd said the withdrawal of the government funding will make it more difficult.
Conservative MP for Heywood and Middleton Chris Clarkson has called for Atom Valley, a manufacturing hub planned to create thousands of jobs in Greater Manchester, to be removed from Places for Everyone — the region's development strategy. It comes after housing targets were relaxed by government, meaning local councils have more freedom to decide how many homes they build and where they build them (Mills passim). Clarkson criticised Rochdale Council’s attempts to "monetise the green belt" and added: “It has been my own experience when discussing Rochdale borough’s housing needs, [that] there is little interest in actual local need, which would highlight a need for smaller, lower cost dwellings centred on employment and transport links, but rather to push ahead with developments which will boost council tax yield in the borough.”
King Charles will be visiting Bolton tomorrow. The King is visiting for the 150th anniversary of the town hall, and it'll be the first time he has been in the borough since visiting with Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. The King and Queen Consort will also be viewing the LS Lowry painting Going to The Match, inspired by Bolton Wanderer's old ground, Burnden Park.
The north Manchester home full of secret antique wonders
By Dani Cole
The Victorian redbrick semi sits on a quiet street in north Manchester. I’m not telling you which one — not even which neighbourhood it’s in — because I’ve been asked not to say. If you live in an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful antique lamps and gorgeous 17th-century chests, you can’t have everyone knowing about it. Aside from having the aura of a haunted house — it looms tall and large, windows shuttered — it is otherwise unassuming.
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