We went to Manchester yesterday. As is the way with all train journeys we'd eaten out packed lunch before we were even out of Lancashire. Delicious. I decided to leave my phone and camera at home and just to enjoy the day, and enjoy it I did.
We started off at The Whitworth gallery, which is part of the University of Manchester, so a nice 20 minute walk along Oxford Road. the gallery recently reopened after a major tart up, but it's been well documented so I won't go on about that too much. The major exhibition there is Cornelia Parker - she of the exploded shed. I knew nothing about her work at all so it was all new to me. I'm usually the most awkward person in any room, but not yesterday - someone fell over one of the art works. Yikes! The irony being that the piece in question was a pavement! Neither the chap nor the art were damaged.
We then wandered over to the People's History Museum, just off Bridge Street, where the talk with Michael Crick was held. What a place! I wan't going to talk about it really, but I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd mention it in case anyone hasn't heard of it but might like it.
The museum is the national museum of democracy, so yes it's political (what isn't?), but you don't need any real knowledge of social history to be able to enjoy the galleries. When it comes down to it, this is a museum about normal people, people like us who made things happen and helped shape the country. Even if you're not all that interested, just to see the amazing art and craft from yonks ago is fantastic. There's also a textile conservation space where you can watch the preservation of the old union banners etc.
It's very simply done but there is so much in there - things you won't remember - Levellers, Chartists, The Peterloo Massacre, Corn Laws, and lots of things you will, such as Spitting Image puppets, Michael Foot's donkey jacket, campaign posters from general elections, CND badges and banners, the many and varied wars. If you've ever had a cause, it's probably represented there in some way. It's free to enter, but of course donations are more than welcome.
I think after a cathedral, three art galleries and two museums I might have had enough for one week, a few quiet days at home are probably in order.