Preston Windmill THING

THING OF THE WEEK

BLOWN AWAY… If you’ve ever watched Jonathan Creek, it’s likely you’ve pondered the idea of living in a windmill. Now, a grade two-listed windmill in Preston is up for sale for just £60,000. So what’s stopping you? For a start, Craggs Mill, situated off Moor Lane, is missing its sails. The asking price has also been knocked down significantly from the original £135,000, owing to the amount of work that the building needs to make it habitable. Any potential buyer will need to ask for planning permission, as previous consent to turn the 18th-century building into two apartments lapsed. As the only surviving windmill in the city, it represents a major opportunity, and agents Reeds Rains are urging buyers to be brave to renovate one of Preston’s landmarks.


Plastic Classroom THING

Image courtesy of Historic England

PLASTIC FANTASTIC… A plastic classroom in Lancashire was among the unusual buildings listed by Historic England last year. Built between 1973 and 1974, the structure at Kennington Primary School in Lancashire was designed as a prototype for pre-fabricated schools to be used by the council. Funnily enough, the design didn’t quite catch on, but it’s been given grade two-listed status. Others granted listed status in the North West last year include the gravestone of Blackie the war horse in Knowsley. The horse served in most of the major battles in World War One, including Ypres, Arras, the Somme, and Cambrai, and is buried with his master’s war medals at the RSPCA Liverpool Animal Centre.


Tram Not In Service

KEEPING TRACK… Metrolink has announced it will extend its Sunday services by around an hour, welcome news to those who have found themselves stranded in the city centre after a longer-than-expected film, show, or – admit it – a pint you didn’t really need to have. It’s part of a package of measures to improve services across the network that will start running from Sunday 28 January. This also includes Airport line services running to Victoria; additional platforms at Altrincham and Victoria being brought into use to improve reliability; and services from MediaCityUK running to Etihad Campus. Trams will continue to operate at either a six or 12-minute frequency, so no changes there, but extra double trams on the Altrincham and Bury lines, introduced last year, will be retained to ease congestion on the network’s two busiest lines.


Libyan Art Thing

LANCASHIRE TO LIBYA… An exhibition celebrating the life of Libyan artist Hasan Dhaimish is due to open at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford in March this year. Dhaimish, who passed away in August 2016, worked under the pseudonym Alsatoor, and his cartoons formed part of movement against the country’s leader Colonel Gaddafi from the 1980s onwards. Alongside his cartoons and political art, which will have translations of the original Arabic text, there will also be a display of Dhaimish’s paintings, and opening night there will be a talk by his son Sherif outlining his father’s life and work. As well as being an artist and activist, Dhaimish also taught at Burnley College, Nelson & Colne College, and Craven College. The exhibition is due to run until 2 April.


HEARTWARMING… The residential property world yields some interesting stories, particularly from the concierges who look after PRS or student accommodation blocks. Some mentions of particularly dedicated staff were made at Place North West‘s PRS conference yesterday, from a Grainger employee who delivered a tenant’s baby, to Flo, the concierge who ran Unite’s Somerset Court building like a mother hen, ensuring that when the students returned en masse from a night out, there was always four toasters on the go, and hot cups of tea waiting for them. Shaun Prime, a former Unite director who now heads up PRS operator Go Native, said he was inspired by Flo and her maxim, borrowed from the poet and activist Maya Angelou, to “always be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud”.


TANTALISING... We’re waiting with baited breath to see what designs Glenn Howell has in store for Urban & Civic’s Renaissance site on Deansgate, currently the home of an ominous grey concrete hotel. To whet the appetite, an architecture practice which lost out to GH has released images of what we could have won. Penoyre & Prasad’s proposals are close to the client’s brief, so expect 800 apartments, a hotel, and retail for the site. Exciting times for a very prominent plot in central Manchester.

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Looking forward to savouring the last pint on a Sunday night more than experiencing the still-not-enough-double trams on a Monday morning.

By Gene Walker

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