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Saturday 2 June 2012

World Naked Bike Ride 2012 Manchester (video)

Watch the video of the 2012 World Naked Bike Ride in Manchester

Naked cyclists gathered at All Saints Park in Manchester on Friday 1 June 2012 for the city’s 7th World Naked Bike Ride. Then they spent an hour zipping around the city centre to the delight of onlookers, many of whom had just finished work before the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday.

It’s an environmental protest to raise awareness about oil dependency. But also a celebration of the bicycle and the body and intended to highlight the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic.

This year the riders didn’t have an escort from the police, but volunteer marshalls kept everyone safe.

The World Naked Bike Ride takes place in 70 cities in 20 countries worldwide.

Our 2012 video is short and (hopefully) sweet! See our 2008 coverage for an 8-minute video which includes interviews with the riders and public.

The 2011 video is also longer at 9 minutes but doesn’t have interviews.

Filed under: Environment,Fun,Manchester,With video — GS @ 12:43 pm
Monday 14 May 2012

Robert Rose’s grave and headstone have been found

Last November I wrote about Robert Rose who was known as the “Bard of Colour” in 1840’s Manchester.

I’ve had some great news. A group of people are documenting the headstones at the Manchester General Cemetery at Harpurhey. You can visit their website here.

Following my research into Robert Rose, in March I wrote to the group to see if they could tell me whereabouts in the Cemetery I could find his grave and hopefully his headstone.

Unfortunately the news wasn’t good: there didn’t seem to be a headstone for that grave number and it looked as if there was just rubble under the surface soil. It seemed the headstone might have been vandalised over the years and ended up amongst piles of broken stones or even as part of a wall around the grounds.

However the Project added some details about Robert Rose to the list of notable burials on its website.

However, this week they contacted me to say the grave and headstone had been found and I have been lucky enough to see the stone. It seems it was one that lay flat all along and was hidden a bit more deeply than they thought. Here’s my sketch of it after a six inch layer of soil was removed temporarily on May 13, 2012.

Sketch of the headstone on the grave of Robert Rose at Manchester General Cemetery
Sketch of the headstone on the grave of Robert Rose at Manchester General Cemetery

I wonder how long it is since anyone saw it? The Cemetery buildings were demolished in 1959.

It’s a simple, attractive design, in great condition, and this is the inscription:

In Memory of

the Bard of Colour,
who departed this Life
June 19th, 1849, Aged 43 Years.

I’d rather have my tomb bedew’d at eve,
With the lone orphans or the good man’s tear,
Who softly stole at twilight there to grieve,
I’d rather have this quiet humble fame
Than hollow echo of an empty name.

Having read the various descriptions of the funeral and headstone, it really brings the history to life when you see the monument itself in the present day. We’re so lucky this has survived when so many have been lost.

The headstone has been covered over again to keep it safe and well-preserved. Meanwhile my research into Robert Rose continues.

Update: 15 June 2012

I’ve found quite a bit more about Mr. Rose and will add it when I get the time.

Filed under: History,Manchester — GS @ 9:11 pm
Wednesday 21 March 2012

Photographs expose the marketing hype behind the 2012 Manchester Irish Festival Parade

As Manchester City Council cuts services and grants to various events, it’s essential that the public is able to have an honest debate about what should be funded.

Corporation StreetThe organisers and City Council exaggerate crowd numbers for this parade enormously, probably by a factor of ten, while the media fail to scrutinise and report accurately.

The photographs below show the true level of attendance at the 2012 Manchester Irish Festival Parade as it passed through the city centre on 11 March.

On the event’s website, the organisers claimed: “100,000 people are expected to flock to the city centre and line the three mile route” and that this was “one of Europe’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parades.”

Since the parade, they’ve continued. Claiming that: “Organisers said an estimated 12,000 were packed into Albert Square alone — with more than 100,000 lining the full parade route.” See below for more analysis of these figures.

I was first alerted to this last year by a fellow photographer who had gone along and afterwards expressed amazement at the low turn out as compared to the hype. So the small crowds this year aren’t anything new…

Filed under: Manchester,Politics,The media — GS @ 6:56 pm
Wednesday 14 March 2012

The changing face of…?

Demolition in St. Peters Square, Manchester

You may struggle to identify this location at first glance because it looks so different. Certainly I got a big surprise last Sunday as I turned the corner from behind the Central Library.

Filed under: Buildings,Bygone Manc,History,Manchester — GS @ 1:01 am
Monday 7 November 2011

Robert Rose — the West Indian “Bard of Colour” in 1840’s Manchester

Wealthy black gentleman was a poet who lived in Salford.

The Sun Inn in 1865

In the early 1840’s a literary group was formed. By 1842 it numbered about 40 and Robert Rose was the vice-chair of the second quarterly meeting on 24 March. He was a black man “of wealth” who lived in St. Stephen’s Street in Salford.

The group published a book of poetry called the Festive Wreath and their meeting place was the Sun Inn on Long Millgate, opposite Chetham’s Library. 80 years later it was still known as “Poets’Corner“.

The Festive Wreath

Update: 8 September 2012

I’m fascinated by this man who seems to go against many of the assumptions we have about what life was like for Black people 170 years ago.

I’ve removed my original post while I do further research and gather together what I’ve found so far. I kept adding more detail to the post and it just became a mess.

As a result of my inquiries and research, Robert Rose’s grave and headstone have been found at the cemetery at Harpurhey.

Filed under: History,Manchester — GS @ 3:53 pm
Saturday 22 October 2011

Outnorthwest front covers. Who knows who?

Frog in pond.

Photo: by Vera Kratochvil.

In the small pond that is gay Manchester, a couple of dozen people back-pat and promote each other. Publicity and awards are given. (more…)

Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 6:09 pm
Thursday 20 October 2011

Manchester Pride charity figure for 2011

Manchester Pride has announced a figure of £105,000 for good causes.

However, only £98,000 of this amount was raised during the ten day festival. The other £7,000 came from fundraising at the Manchester Pride Dinner which took place in September 2010 — almost a year before. (more…)

Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 9:38 pm
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