Monday, 6 July 2009

Manchester International Festival.

The plan for today was a visit to the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) and then watch the MIF street parade and then return to the MOSI as there is just so much to see.

Manchester International Festival 028 Mounted Police in Manchester.

Well the first part of the plan went OK but we only managed to do 1 of the 5 buildings. This covered steam and gas powered machinery and of course the railways. The machinery ranged anything from small pumps to power generators and machines big enough to power a cotton mill. Again I will leave it to pictures rather than try and itemise everything.

One interesting display in the old Liverpool St Railway Station building which is a grade 1 listed building was one of the cotton mills of  Lancashire. An oral history of the industry had been recorded by people associated with it and  some of the facts that came out were that due to a shortage of skilled labour after WWII skilled Pakistani mill workers were bought to the UK with British passports to ease the situation. This was twenty odd years before the immigration scandal of the 1960’s.

Manchester International Festival 014Liverpool Street the worlds first railway station. A grade 1 listed building. The platform was at track height.

A Mll Manager who travelled to India to investigate the industry there gave this report. When he requested a visit to the mill he was refused, upon further discussion he was told by the sales manager who had worked there for many years that even he had not seen inside the mill. It transpired that working conditions were atrocious and if a worker was injured or sick they were merely replaced by one of the many others waiting at the factory gate virtually for “Dead mans Shoes”

The final straw that broke the camel back so to speak, was were other European countries only imported up to 10% of their cotton requirements, Britain imported 50% flooding the market with goods made by slave labour. No doubt the government of the time would have said it was to help our Commonwealth partners. This effectively killed off another British Industry.

After lunch in the MOSI cafe we walked up into town to find a good vantage point to watch the parade. We had been given a sneak preview because the parade was being marshalled in the street alongside the MOSI. There were 25 floats in total some of which didn’t mean a great deal to us but some of the best were “Lest we Forget” a parade of hearse’s starting with a horse drawn followed by an Austin 6 up to a modern day hearse. Each one carried a floral tribute of the name of a business, building or entertainer which are long since gone.

Manchester International Festival 035 Remembering Manchester past. MIF 2009.

Manchester International Festival 036Look at the mane of the nearest horse.

Manchester International Festival 038  Rolls Royce hearse remembering 3 Shires, MIF parade 2009.

There was of course a 100 years of Stretford Rose Queens and the 2009 Carnival Queens, what self respecting parade would be seen without these beauties.  All the surrounding football clubs  had their mascots on parade to add some colour. Probably one of the best floats was celebrating “The Adoration Of The Chip” The world's first fish & chip shop at Tommyfield Market, Oldham circa 1860.

Manchester International Festival 042 Rose Queens, Manchester International Festival. 2009

Manchester International Festival 048 Any one for fish & chips? MIF 2009.

On the musical front the parade was lead by a Scout & Guide band. Stalybridge Brass band was there to represent the old tradition of miners and brass bands. The traditional Pipe band came from Bolton in the form of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band, as the name suggests they were all of Indian ethnic origin. To finish off the parade came Steel Harmony, a Jamaican/West Indian steel band. They were certainly giving it their all and got the crowd rocking.

Manchester International Festival 070I bet you haven't seen a pipe band like this before. MIF 2009.

It took me back to my childhood watching the May and Christmas street parades in my old home town, Watford. It was lovely. As this had taken longer than expected we didn’t get to return to the MOSI so we will have to return there tomorrow.

While I have been doing this Dot is sitting on the edge of her seat watching the epic Mens Singles Final at Wimbledon.  Obviously no dinner until its finished.


Bill Rodgers said...

If you ever get over to the States, in Tampa, Florida, right near Bush Gardens is a MOSI that is one of my favorite museums to visit. Not expensive, not fancy, just enjoyable.

Derek and Dot said...

Thanks Bill
It would have to be pretty special to match MOSI in Manchester.