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It is probably worth remembering in this review (as Andy Spinoza does in his book) that the opening of Manto on Canal Street - the first bar in the city to have outside tables and chairs - kickstarted an entire neighbourhood and constituency in the Gay Village. This was virtually documented by Russell T Davies in Queer as Folk. He and a generation of fellow writers for Granada Television, that includes Paul Abbott, Kay Mellor, Sally Wainwright and Debbie Horsfield had a huge collective cultural impact at least as potent as the Hacienda’s. I would argue that the opening of Granada on Quay Street in 1956 is far the most significant underpinning of Manchesters identity. And Granda did employ Tony Wilson, after all.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

This is an interesting review of what sounds like a very uneven book; a blend of engaging personal history and over-egged pudding. The closing section really caught my eye though - absolutely, the role of universities in regional development in the UK is hugely under-remarked in much public commentary these days. Partly this is due to the terrible job UK universities do at marketing themselves to anyone not on UCAS, and partly this is due to a political class that seems to have decided other peoples' children need to stop going. The evidence is very clear that they are a key part of a successful regional economy - I would love to read a book that features folks like Alan Gilbert and his contemporaries and predecessors and how they forged the universities of Greater Manchester (for better and worse, Gilbert is not especially fondly remembered by many).

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author

Thanks Tim. Do you know of any good things to read in the rise and role of the universities here?

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by The Mill, Joshi Herrmann

This has actually sent me off on a quest, because I don't; but I feel I should. The University itself has a page listing a number of books written about its history - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/history-heritage/research/books-articles/ - and you can find several of these on second-hand book stores; but the series ends in 1990 and that predates big changes in both Manchester, and the university sector! Most frustrating. There is a considerable (and frankly often hard to digest) literature on the topic of universities in general in regional development/regeneration - see for example this paper from UCL on the subject https://www.ucl.ac.uk/urban-lab/sites/urban-lab/files/introduction-university-led-urban-regeneration.pdf - and you could try and get a copy of this paper from one of the authors - https://research.manchester.ac.uk/en/publications/tracing-the-role-of-universities-in-urban-regeneration-experiment .

But in general; no, there doesn't seem to be (at first look) a book or good resource specifically on this. There may well be stuff that UoM has written itself, but we both know that institutions rarely portray their own role in events modestly. Might have to try some more searching, now...

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author

That's an interesting gap. Maybe something we need to do a piece on. Thanks for searching.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by The Mill, Joshi Herrmann

If you do go down that road, happy to help!

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author

That would be great, thanks. It's a less sexy explanation for Manchester's success than some of the other answers but to be it seems pretty important.

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There is a chapter in book on the University including my six years there as chairman of the alumni Association and nine years on the board of governors. There is also a mention of me working with Alan Gilbert around the time of the merger.

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That's interesting! Were there any wider sources you found particularly useful in writing that chapter?

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Yes. In the bibliography there’s the full url for ‘A history of the University of Manchester, 1973 to 1990.’ by Brian Pullan and ;Michele Abendstern. Published 2018. It’s open access online so this may be exactly the kind of account you are looking for.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

I think what it would be interesting to cover (as a follow up to this) where we’re going as a city - especially from a perspective of Manchester currently being an ‘influencers paradise’.

It feels like we’ve made it. All these things that have been in the works for decades have happened. We’re coming to the top of the wave.

But it feels like, especially recently, we might be experiencing a lot of the knock on negative impacts. Housing is one of them. The changing face of the NQ is another. We seem to have got a lot of new places that serve hen and stags - I’ve just had a 4 bed house turned into a 10 bed AirBnB behind me - but what about the people who live here full time?

What is our five year strategy, as a City?

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Sep 10, 2023Liked by The Mill

Good to see you in the Guardian list today

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The article on Manchester's regeneration was interesting, and made some good points, while missing some things out of course. One major thing was that, after Thatcher, Manchester HAD to reinvent itself, because it was no longer an industrial city, and had to shift towards something new, which became a mix of service industries, music and general coolness (and drugs and crime). Harpurhey (which I got to know as a Community Worker in the area in the early 1980s) was much more nuanced than the article said. There was of course a looking back nostalgically to the industrial working class past, with Bernard Manning as its icon, though most local people were out of work and couldn't even afford to go to the pub. But it was also influential in moving to the future the book describes. The three councillors in Harpurhey when I was employed there were Nilofar Siddiqi (a Muslim woman), Graham Stringer and Pat Karney! The last 2 being local boys. So you could serially well say that Harpurhey drove the reconstruction.

Best wishes, Peter

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I came across him when researching a walk on Manchester in Fiction that included Howard Spring, Millie Toole, Mrs Banks, Margaret Harkness, Mrs Gaskell, Alfred Alsop, William Harrison Ainsworth, Mrs Ward, and Livi Michael

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Terrific book. Misleading review.

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author

Ah, another Saturday of arguing with Simon DH in the comments awaits. Excellent.

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I disagree.

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This quote from Vaughan Allen's great blog post on the book is relevant "And there’s not much on the wave of Chinese money pouring into Victoria North, of the Chinese students and then tourists and then residents arriving (none of whom have ever HEARD of Anthony Wilson and who come more because the industrial legacy of Manchester is taught in China. Oh, and the football clubs are slightly well-known out there)."

Manchester is internationally famous, in part, because it was the focus of a Marxist case study on the horrors of unregulated capitalism - Engels is a greater influence than Wilson, even today.

Of course if Manchester was still absolutely horrible I doubt we'd get the visitors, so something else has changed the international perception of the city too.

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Ahem. There are passages about this. Maybe “not much”. But I haven’t ignored it by any means. The passage on Adex also ponders what the Manchester music myths mean to young newcomers from around the world.

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I have lived in Manchester since 1973 and thought this might be an interesting account of the transformation (or destruction in my view ) of the city but I stopped reading after the first chapter. Apparently , everyting important n Manchester started with the Hacienda. Who knew? Spinoxa is part of a group of writers - all men I note - recycl;ng the same myths and legends about Manchester and pocketing the profits.... Read Dave Haslam's book on Manchester instead or Sarah Champion's And God Created Manchester or the forgotten novel of Manchester, https://archive.org/details/slaverypictures00kenngoog Bart Kennedy's Slavery

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author

Can you tell me more about the Kennedy book? Never heard of this.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by The Mill, Joshi Herrmann

Bart Kennedy (1861-1930) was born in Leeds to Irish parents. The family moved to Ancoats Manchester where from the age of 6 until about the age of 20 he worked in cotton mills and machine shops in Manchester, England. At the age of 20 he left England, working as a deckhand on a cargo ship which landed him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Illiterate and with no money or formal training, he "tramped" his way westward across North America. He worked at various labouring jobs including as an oysterman on a skipjack on the Chesapeake Bay; a miner in New York; building railroad sheds in the Canadian Rockies; and panning for gold in the Klondike. A fellow tramp, Billy, encouraged him to educate himself.

He returned to England and published his first novel, Darab's Wine Cup, in 1897, followed by The Wandering Romanoff (1898). A fair amount of autobiography is contained in A Man Adrift (1899), A Sailor Tramp (1902) and A Tramp in Spain (1904), books about his "tramping" exploits around the world. Kennedy also wrote articles for magazines such as The New Age. Slavery was published in 1905.

It begins thus

"There is a certain town in the North of England. It is a great town. An old town. Its beginning is lost in the haze of fable and tradition.

Here worshipped the Druids. The Roman conquerers of the world gathered here with their eagles. Here fought Saxons and Danes.

A strange town. It stands on a slow-moving river foul and black as the Styx. The greenness and freshness of the old centuries have gone. And the town. The blackness of Commerce is now upon it. In it cotton is spun and woven

and sent out into the world. Its air is dark, damp, and discoloured. Poisonous smoke is for ever soddening it. Smoke weaving and winding into shapes, vague and vast and sinister. On all sides stand monstrous chimneys. High looming death-columns. The rays of the sun can barely

struggle through their hideous reekings.

The town is as some strange twilight hell. Some heavy, immense Inferno. The air is such that trees die in the parks. It is no place for human habitation, but still hundreds of thousands live in it. The people who work.

All the day they toil — mostly in factories.

At half-past four in the morning the sharp clamp of their clogs is heard. They are going to work. And the clamp goes on till six o'clock. The sounds come and go through the darkness. Dim forms of women hurry along through narrow,

winding streets with shawls over their heads. Like sad ghosts. And men with grimy clothes and flat, greasy caps. And little, shivering boys and girls. Little children. All hurrying.

Clamp ! Clamp ! Clamp !

Thus go the clogs. Sinister sound, telling of hopeless slavery. The curfew bells of the Norman William told not of a slavery so abject as this.

Clamp ! Clamp ! Clamp!

Thus it goes day after day — week after week — year after year — generation after generation. No cessation. No change. Ever going. Clamp! The song of the clogs. Who shall write the song of the clogs? "(pp.17-19)

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author

Wow. Need to read this.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by The Mill

Me too, right up my street.

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If you stopped reading after one chapter you are in no position to comment on the entirety of the book. It is not the contention of the author that the changes in manchester in the last 40 years or so are the result of the popularity of a night club.

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