HOLY SPIRE-T… Fun fact: Preston ‘s Shrine Church of St Walburge’s has the third tallest spire of any church in the UK, coming in at an impressive 94 metres. The church is offering tours up the spire for £10 on the next two Saturdays, starting tomorrow (15 Jan). For the price of admission, those brave enough to ascend will be treated to views across the city centre and as far as Blackpool, as well as a mince pie. Probably a bit stale by now, though.
SOLAR CONTEXT... Manchester City Council is progressing plans to acquire a solar farm in the South of England having found no suitable sites up north, partly due to the area’s stubborn cloud coverage. Manchester is seeking a facility with a 45-60MW capacity to help it meet its carbon reduction targets. Meanwhile, in Salford and Halton, plans to install more than 10,000 solar panels are progressing. That sounds like a lot, but, upon completion, the schemes will have a combined capacity of just five megawatts, giving an indication of just how big Manchester’s solar ambitions are.
FERRY FOR GERRY… The renaming of a Mersey Ferry Terminal after beloved icon Gerry Marsden is to be finalised this month. The singer-songwriter died last year and was best known as the frontman of Gerry and the Pacemakers. He wrote and sang the band’s 1964 hit “Ferry Cross the Mersey”. It is this song, which reached number eight in the UK singles chart, that has resulted in the terminal being named after Marsden. “Ferry Cross the Mersey” is still played on Mersey Ferry River Explorer Cruises every day, almost 60 years after it was first released.
CHILES PLAY… Writing in the Guardian, Adrian Chiles admitted that local politics often left him flabbergasted. Chiles seemed to suggest that all the different levels of governance were confusing, using Manchester as an example. “I know that Andy Burnham is the mayor. But, in that case, I wondered, what is Bev Craig, the leader of Manchester City Council, for?” Chiles mused. “To whom would I would speak if I lived in the middle of Manchester and was displeased about, say, the state of Piccadilly Gardens?” Chiles continued. “Is it Lucy Powell, the MP for the area? Or could it be one of the three councillors for that ward, their council leader, Craig, or her sort-of leader, Burnham?.” Craig used the article as a chance to plug the upcoming redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens, while Trafford Council leader Andrew Western hit back at the suggestion that Burnham was in some way in charge of Greater Manchester’s 10 local authority leaders. Western went on to bemoan the lack of education about politics in schools. But who should he approach to lobby for a change in the national curriculum?
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PICTURE THIS... Liverpool is soon to have a new piece of street art. Renowned Australian artist Sam Bates is to spray a mural on the façade of 42-50 Harrington Street. An example of the artist’s work can be seen above. Bates’s Liverpool piece is still in the planning phase but the following description gives more than a taster of what to expect: The basic concept is an anamorphic hole in the wall, revealing the mystical ‘Pool of Life’ beneath. References and interpretations of the red flowering tree in Carl Jung’s dream of Liverpool feature, with further textural details including rubble, dust and cobwebs, plant life and ivy, and more ornate detailing to create sculptural finishes. There are references to the local culture and area including “Aunt Twackies” and the Pool of Life in a not-so-subtle nod to the Beatles. Anyone else have a headache?