diamond geezer

 Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Whistlestop Manchester: New Islington
Where? immediately east of central Manchester
Population Around 1700 homes (whatever that equates to)
How to get there? one tramstop from Piccadilly
Why? that's a very good question

When Manchester was Cottonopolis, the mills of Ancoats powered the economy. A network of canals bled off to the south, in an area since cleared to create Manchester's most innovative neighbourhood. Conceived for the Millennium, and named after somewhere old and local rather than a London suburb, New Islington is an architects' playground run rampant. Most striking is Will Alsop's apartment block 'Chips', designed to resemble three fat chips stacked awkwardly on top of each other, then boldly coloured, then labelled with the names of geographical features from the surrounding area. It's nuts, and looks better from afar than right close up, but a lot more interesting than most of the generic stuff that tends to go up elsewhere.

New Islington doesn't believe in generic, tweaking mills into apartments and throwing up luxury stacks. It's by no means complete, hence large areas remain fenced off awaiting development, but the park is done, and sadly so is the Free School. One terrace of super-modern modular homes, called 'House', stands ready to march south and replicate beside the marina. A desolate boulevard with half its decorative metalwork incomplete marks the dividing line between two building sites, frequented by distant residents carrying groceries home, and sweatshirted men with staffies. The path to the tramstop across the lockgates doen't look like somewhere I'd be too keen to linger after dark. One day this millennial district may be buzzing, but it's not there yet.

Ancoats proper, to the north of the Rochdale Canal, is in a more serious state of flux. A densely packed grid of streets contains proper heritage mill buildings from the 1800s in various states of repair, one proudly carved to commemorate the King and Queen's visit in 1942. Juxtaposed with these are blocks of recent residential infill, with whole chunks barriered off for the erection of more. Ancoats is Manchester's hippest district, if the hype is to be believed, and the yoof wandering through in search of Neapolitan pizza, craft beer or a beetroot latte suggest some truth to that proposition. It reminded me of parts of Docklands, or perhaps Hackney Wick, and is being culturally destabilised at much the same rate.
Set foot outside, and you’ll find all the must-have lifestyle choices of a most modern city. Major transports links are on the doorstep, and yet the refreshed areas of Ancoats and New Islington have a definite cosy feel. With no late night licensed premises, the neighbourhood balances dynamism with seclusion. And this mix makes it the ideal home for anyone looking for all the conveniences and panache of a European city, with a warm, inviting sense of home.
All the usual psychobabble, even up north.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream