Manchester Santa 2019

SANTA… Suggestions Piccadilly Gardens’ Christmas offering has been weak in comparison to the rest of the city centre were hoped to improve after the installation of the latest iteration of the Manchester Giant Santa. However, the Santa on a present box, placed near the infamous concrete wall, seems to have faded into the background with his low energy LEDs lighting up the pavement around him. Maybe it’s the 2019 blues? Maybe he just needs more flexible working hours.

RIBA March 2017 Stoller Hall At Chethams Daniel Hopkinson Press Image 1

Stoller Hall at Chetham’s, by Stephenson Studio

FORTY… Stephenson Studio, headed by architect grandee Roger Stephenson, marked its 40th anniversary this year and is celebrating with an exhibition at Castlefield Gallery called “40 Years | 40 Projects: the work of Stephenson Studio”. The exhibition highlights some of the award-winning schemes delivered since 1979, including the Stoller Hall development at Chetham’s School of Music and the extension and refurbishment of Manchester Central & Convention Centre. The exhibition is open from 6 December to 22 December, more information available here

Madlove Festival 2019

MADLOVE… A festival devoted to mental health is taking place in a former Argos in St Helens, an area which has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Hosted by Heart of Glass, the festival includes an art exhibition with contributions from artists along the walls, and events and workshops in order to get people talking about mental health and mental illness. Set to close tomorrow, Heart of Glass has said the popular re-use of the former Argos store could be a model for more community-based uses in High Street locations across the country.

Fenchurch Street London Green Wall

VERT-ICAL… We all know that the North West is an absolute powerhouse, but wouldn’t it be nice if we had some more greenery in our multi-million pound schemes? Plans have been revealed for a 36-storey tower for developer Capital Real Estate Partners in London which will be partially be bedecked with a living wall, giving the illusion of a hanging garden, designed by architect Eric Parry. It’s not quite Babylon, but I’m sure we could settle for something at least slightly similar up North.

Hedgelaying Wyre

BUSHY… The annual Wyre & Myerscough Hedgelaying competition is being held next Saturday 7 December. Known locally as “the grand prix” of this ancient countryside craft, competitors are entered into one of five classes, including championship and starter, and are required to lay a hedge to create a stockproof-living hedge, specifically 3ft high, and at an angle of 45 degrees. Put on your best gardening gloves and wellies and get to pruning. For further information, click here.

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