Each Friday, Place North West sources the whimsical, wacky and weird goings-on from around the region and packages them for your enjoyment. Over the next four days, we present a selection of our favourite Things from the last 12 months, starting with the first quarter.
January brought interesting insight into housebuyers’ habits and good news for environmentalists.
TONGUE-TWISTER TAX…Research from estate agency comparison site GetAgent has revealed that house prices in hard-to-pronounce areas like Quernmore (‘KWOR-MER’, for your interest) in Lancaster, are, on average, 20% higher than other locations in surrounding districts. GetAgent founder, Colby Short, said: “We know that some house numbers and even road names can deter homebuyers from a particular property but it would seem that being unable to pronounce the name of an area does not have the same impact.” Bad news for those with their hearts set on relocating to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Angelsey, then.
TREE-MENDOUS…Diminutive Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones once sang that it only takes one tree to make a thousand matches but only one match to burn a thousand trees. Questionable maths aside, it is a nice song with a noble sentiment that simultaneously points out the worth and fragility of our green environment. Jones would no doubt be delighted at the news that the Greater Manchester city-region has secured £1.5m from the The Urban Tree Challenge Fund to plant 2,500 trees, or 2.5m matches.
In February, a historic Liverpool watering hole was honoured, while we also indulged in a bit of celebrity spotting down the road.
NUMBER ONE… What do Buckingham Palace, Blackpool Tower and now the Philharmonic Dining Rooms on Hope Street in Liverpool have in common? They are all grade one-listed, after the news that the art nouveau Phil has been upgraded from grade two-listed status on the recommendation of Historic England. This makes the building the first purpose-built Victorian pub to receive the accolade. If you pop over, check out the rare gents’ toilets (if allowed and able) and the horseshoe-shaped bar. Cheers!
CELEB-SPOTTING… If you enjoy celebrity spotting then there are few better places to grab a coffee than Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter. The area, which houses the newly grade one-listed Philharmonic pub [see above] and sits between the city’s two cathedrals, is star-studded, according to Domec’s Matt Fedigan. He has shared a beer with Brian May, seen Nick Cave strolling down Falkner Street and, on more than one occasion, spied Jurgen Klopp looking wistfully out of a hotel window. Just as a sceptical THING was listening to these encounters being retold in a cafe on Hope Street, who should walk through the door than weather-beaten actor Stephen Mangan.
In March, a developer and an architect set their sights on world domination, and a former mayoral candidate had a journey to forget.
LEGGET AND GROOM…Watch out Ant and Dec, there is a new double act in town. Word has it that housebuilder Mulbury’s Nick Legget and architect Tim Groom are plotting world domination, but not in a way that you might expect. Having this week, as well as putting the finishing touches to Excelsior Mill in Castlefield, the collaboration between the pair appeared to guests on an entertaining tour of the latter as if it was about to reach new heights with the launch of their own chat show, covering topics such as sleepless nights over brick selection and the perils of rusty firepits.
OFFAL JOURNEY…An early morning meeting in Blackpool for Cratus’s Sean Anstee led him to take the difficult, yet sensible, decision to drag himself away from Fazenda in Liverpool, where he was enjoying a procession of sizzling chicken hearts with colleagues and associates, and on to a train. To his dismay, however, the former leader of Trafford Council found himself on a train that refused to budge and ended up forking out a three-figure sum to take an Uber back to the Vegas of the North. Summing up the experience he said: “Fazenda, great. Liverpool to Blackpool, not so great.” We feel you, Sean.