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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:13 AM   #201
600West218
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Expat, no need for any apologies. We all have different experiences and view points. Every opinion I am giving here is a subjective opinion which could be right or wrong. Sharing different viewpoints and perspectives is very valuable and what this is all about (with some pictures thrown in too :-) ).
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:14 AM   #202
600West218
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For my second full day in Manchester, a Friday, I was due to go to the Quays and see the Imperial War Museum of the north. I caught a bus from where I was staying that went relatively close but it was still difficult to find and I had to stop and ask directions several times.

But after some walking it was within site:

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That was the closest I got to any soccer stadium during the trip.

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This water is all part of the dock area built up at the end of the Manchester Ship Canal. It used to be bigger when it was an active canal and has since been partially filled in.

The Manchester Ship Canal is much larger and much more recent than most English canals. It came about because Manchester merchants and industrialists grew tired of the exhorbetant prices being charged by Liverpool shippers and ware houses who were simple intermediaries between Manchester and the outside world due to the port being in Liverpool. Manchester decided to build a canal that would allow ocean going ships to go straight in to Manchester and cut Liverpool out of the equation all together. Thus, the Manchester ship canal was built.

Over time it became to small for modern ships and fell into disuse. Now it has been renovated and the area put to other uses.

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This pedestrian bridge is a lift bridge. Note the counterweights on the towers.

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Notice that these buildings belong to the BBC. In fact, they are huge studios where the BBC produces many of its programs. To benefit other sections of the country and reduce costs the government has moved some of its operations to other cities, and Manchester has wound up with some of the BBC operations.

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The museum, which was not yet open (too early in the day):

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I think they do good work to make these more than just simple glass boxes.

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Finally, it was time for the the Imperial War Museum of the North to Open and I went inside. It was very dark and I couldn’t get many pictures. I’ll share my impressions after the pictures.

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This was from a special exhibit they had on media coverage of wars

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A T-34

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An East German Trebant.

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The view from the cafeteria window.

I have to say, I was not very impressed by the Imperial War Museum North. In my mind, it barely deserves the title of museum at all. It had almost no major articifacts on display - the fact that they have an East German car on display sort of shows their desperation. They had plenty of smaller artificacts, pictures and plaques giving the history of various British wars, mainly WW I and WW 2, but that was about it. Going through this museum was essentially equivalent to reading a popular history book on these wars. And in fact, that seems to be the role the museum plays - educating people on topics they may not have learned about in school. But for a person already fairly knowledgable there really wasn’t anything new.

The only exception to this was the exhibit on the role of the media in wars. That was excellent, probably because you can put it together quite well just having lots of video and newspaper excerpts. I was able to watch the film on the Battle of the Somme, which was one of the first films of actual fighting and was quite moving.

On the whole, this can be a decent two or three hours if you have time to kill in Manchester. But it isn’t worth going out of your way for. This was probably the most over hyped, and under performing museum on the trip.

I then went outside and and saw the couple of items they had on exhibit there.

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I then decided to explore a bit more and head to the tram:

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Some grain silos that look active.

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At this point someone pointed out to me an observation deck in the IWM. It is the darker part of the tower. Sadly I missed that. Oh well, it isn’t that high up anyways and I doubt it gives a radically different view.

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I finally got on a tram heading to the center and on the tram they had this cute reminder of the summers rioting (sorry for the blurry pic).

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I think this picture, taken from the tram, is on one of the viaducts over the Castlefield area and the apartments are the modern ones I saw the first day I was in Manchester.

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I took the tram all the way back to Piccadilly Station and then walked back towards the Deansgate area as my next place to visit was the People’s History Museum.

I decided to go through the “Gay Village” area as I had heard it could be interesting. Plus I had caught a glimpse of it from the 111 bus before and it looked nice and had something guarenteed to interest me - canals.

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More lovely locks!!

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In addition to being the center of gay life in Manchester I also found that this area seemed to have the largest concentration of Victorian buildings. There were plenty of times there where I couldn’t see a single modern building - that is if you took the cars and lights off the streets you could almost be in the Victorian era. It was really nice!!

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Love that building!

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I believe this is called the “Rochdale” canal and therefore may be different than than the Liverpool - Leeds canal. I am not sure where that passes through Manchester and there are so many of them it is hard to keep track of which is which.

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You can see why it is named “Gay Village”. It has apparently been the center of gay life for many, many years. In fact, in the 1960s and 1970s it was largely abandoned when the gay population started to use it. So we may have them to thank for its preservation.

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Not a modern building in sight!!

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This is the gear that opens and closes the sluice gate that lets water into, or out of, the lock. Once you get your boat in the lock you close the doors and then you open the correct sluice gate to let water in (to raise your boat) or out (to lower your boat). Inside of this assembly there is a crank shaft that is taken out and used to open or close the sluice gates. When I came back to Manchester the following week I got pictures of people operating the gate and I will post them when I get to that part of the trip.

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Note the hand rails on the locks. You could actually walk across them if you wanted to but I never felt the urge to risk getting wet.

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Also note that if you fell in it isn’t easy to get get out - the walls are straight up with nothing to hold onto. You’d have to swim/walk (again, I am not sure how deep this is, maybe I should have jumped in to find out) to the ladder to climb out.

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You know, Roosevelt really F*#@ed up with the Lend-Lease program in World War II. Seriously, all we got was some stupid little islands. He should have insisted they give the US some of these buildings. They had so many they probably wouldn’t have missed them.

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BTW, I hope by this point Manchester does have spectacular buildings just like Liverpool does. They are just more spread out so it takes more time and wandering to find them. I probably left Manchester still having missed many of them.

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Maybe Manchester’s first super tall under construction?

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I ran across Occupy Manchester, a group acting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. They were encamped outside the Town Hall.

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Getting down to Deansgate now.

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Now I am in a good sized area of very modern buildings. But again, they are nicely done modern buildings that have some flare, not just the glass boxes that can be found in many other cities.

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I finally made it to the People’s History Museum which was having a special exhibit on protest banners:

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This huge timeline was very neat and helpful. Truthfully, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with 19th and 20th century British history before visiting this museum so that you know what things like the Corn Laws and Chartists are. You’ll get a lot more out of this excellent museum if you have a bit of background knowledge.

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Big and colorful protest banners that are like large quilts are common at British protests. They still are as when I’ve seen pictures of recent demonstrations I’ve seen them. They had LOTS of them on display only a few of which I could photograph due to low light considerations.

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“Industry is the Source of Prosperity”. Most of the people who think that way seem to be in China these days.

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Hah, we sure know about that these days, don’t we!

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Wall Street crashes and it is the social programs that get cut - yup, I can relate to that too.

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The view along the River Irwell in back of the museum.

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Note the Mancester Cathederal poking over the bridge.

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I went to the Cathederal to see an Evensong, but instead the evening prayers on Friday are read. But I did see an Evensong another day. Very impressive.

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The Pubs were packed on a Friday evening.

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ok, this is one major mess up on my trip which I do regret. I didn’t know that both Engels and Marx spent a significant amount of time in Manchester and actually wrote some of their books in Chethams Library, which is now some sort of music school. You can only enter it Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm and by the time I got there it was too late. I am told lots of tourists from China come to Manchester for the express purpose of going to the library and having their picture taken. Rather odd given that the Chinese communists are anything but Marxists.

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With that my second full day in Manchester concluded. The following day I would do some final exploring in Manchester and then catch a train, cross the Pennines and go to Leeds.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #203
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Thanks 600W218.

One thing really strikes me. Both in Manchester & Liverpool. The modern buildings are very attractive. They have flair without being over the top. Exciting and tasteful at the same time.

I have seen scenes of Manchester's Gay Village from the television show, Queer As Folks. The original version, not the American version that went on far too long and was set in Pittsburgh. Nice to see more pictures of the neighborhood. And the canals remind me that I need to get up to Lowell, MA.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:52 AM   #204
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Quote:
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Thanks 600W218.

One thing really strikes me. Both in Manchester & Liverpool. The modern buildings are very attractive. They have flair without being over the top. Exciting and tasteful at the same time.

I have seen scenes of Manchester's Gay Village from the television show, Queer As Folks. The original version, not the American version that went on far too long and was set in Pittsburgh. Nice to see more pictures of the neighborhood. And the canals remind me that I need to get up to Lowell, MA.
Absolutely, if you haven't been to Lowell you need to get there. I was only there a half day and I don't think I saw any canals but I did go through a good part of the museum and it was excellent. They have an entire room full of looms and they actually run most of them so you can get a sense of what it was like when the factory was in operations - VERY loud.

I think museum wise the US does pretty well. But architecture and vitality wise we can't hold a candle to England
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:22 AM   #205
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Expat here are a few reasons for you to go up to Lowell - these are some Iphone pictures I took there a couple of years ago:

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An entire room full of looms hooked up and ready to go.

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Notice how part of the loom is blury - it is moving pretty fast!!

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Look how many spindles they were using up!

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It is definitely worth the trip to see.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:34 AM   #206
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Wow! I have heard of that museum, but I never dreamed there was an intact factory! By the way, you didn't see any canals in Lowell, but I think there is one in your first pic! Or maybe that is the river.

I will go up there soon. Short trip from my house.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #207
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As always thanks for the photos:p and I will say that museums etc in England close far too early, and doesn't give you a lot of time to see much. Also with chethams, you can find a bit of info on it on its website here ( http://www.chethams.org.uk/history.html ) it has a few pics of some of the rooms there I'd you click on the names at the side, you can even see where Engels and Marx sat can if you ask the librarian, they can bring the books they read for you to look at sometimes, though advanced warning is needed sometimes. I think if you liked very old buildings too you'd have like it here as it originally was built along with the cathedral to house the priests in 1421. Looking forward to Leeds now :p
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:42 AM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expat View Post
Wow! I have heard of that museum, but I never dreamed there was an intact factory! By the way, you didn't see any canals in Lowell, but I think there is one in your first pic! Or maybe that is the river.

I will go up there soon. Short trip from my house.
I think it is a mill race off of a river as the factory was water powered. Also, when I was their the woman running the machines was very helpful and full of information. She would start and stop them numerous times to show how they worked. If you're curious you can learn a lot.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:44 AM   #209
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Thanks for the link to the library. That reading room looks very nice. I must get in their next time.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:21 PM   #210
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Great photos!
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:22 PM   #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Thanks for the link to the library. That reading room looks very nice. I must get in their next time.
Here's a link for Lutyen's Crypt under the Metropolitan Cathedral as well Dan,I went there for the first time yesterday and it's something you really must do.The architecture is great and the treasures they have on display could solve the debt crisis in Greece.It's a fantastic experience,it was only £3 to get in as well.

http://www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.o.../TheCrypt.aspx

Here's some pictures I took.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=514158
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:49 PM   #212
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This day I would see one last section of Manchester and then head to Leeds where I was planning to see the Royal Armouries.

After getting up early I walked out to see this nice little body of water. I was going to just name it but then I thought it would be a good trivia question for the readers to guess what it is. Remember what part of Manchester I am staying in.

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Doesn’t look like you are in a city, does it.

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As you may guess from the ripples in the water it has a strong current.

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I wen to the center and dropped my luggage at the Piccadilly station. Then I headed out for the “Ancoats” area where, according to people at the MOSI, was where the industrial revolution “kicked off”.

I got some directions from a police officer but it was a real pain to find it. At one point I was very close to giving up and just going back to the train station.

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Finally, I spotted some of the old buildings and started heading towards them. They were in an area where there were a whole bunch of new apartment towers.

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A nicely renovated big old factory. This definitely doesn’t look to me like it could date from when the Industrial Revolution started. In fact, none of the buildings I saw in this area did. I believe all the original buildings were wiped out by successive waves of development. Nevertheless, what I did see was interesting.
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Then more trendy apartment buildings.

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No idea how old that was or what it was.

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Guess this hasn’t been operational for a while, they have a tree growing out of the smoke stack!

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Now, someone recently brought up the subject of Council Estates. Would this be them?

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This building was actually occupied - by whom and for what I don’t know.

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Well, that is one way of preventing people from breaking in via the fire escape.

Note this is all inside the courtyard.

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Well I guess this is what some of it is used for:

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Of course, in wandering around I stumble upon... you guessed it, a canal. In fact, this canal would take me all the way back to Piccadilly Station

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Even Ancoats is typical of Manchester - huge contrasts between new and old. Manchester really is like NY in that respect though I think it does a better job of perserving the old than New York does.

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Notice this canal is so narrow it only has one gate.

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The sluice gate.

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I have to say, I really do like that apartment building. I just can’t figure out why we never see stuff like this in the U.S.

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Looking in the direction of the city center

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The old home of a canal overseerer.

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Well, at least I got to see this explanation of what happened here, even if most of it was long gone.

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Walking further towards the center I got into an even more built up residential area.

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A mini Venice:

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Finally, I got back to the train station and set off for Leeds

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This time I saw more rural areas and got some pictures of the countryside which included the Pennine “mountains” (they are only a couple thousand feet above sea level).

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There was no wilderness and it wasn’t even truly rural, maybe semi rural. You could always see houses and towns.

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I know it is blury but I trust you can see the hair rollers. Wearing hair rollers in public seems to be something of a fashion in norther England.

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What I want to know is who is actually watching all this video they are shooting everywhere?

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Finally some blue sky!

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Looks like some suburban sprawl.

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Finally, after about 45 minutes we arrived in Leeds.

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I stopped by the tourist office to get a map and directions to the Royal Armouries and then it was off to see the sites.

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I assume there is a thread on Skyscrapercity for whatever this is.

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The Corn Exchange. One of the more famous structures in Leeds.

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Certainly Leeds is not lacking for interesting buildings.

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Inside the Corn Exchange.

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Lots of nice stores and resteraunts. I wouldn’t recommend the barbershop there though. I got a pretty mediocre haircut and it cost twenty pounds. Ouch!

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Then I came to the River Aire which has actually been made into a canal, hence the canal boats.

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Finally getting to the Clarence Dock which is where the Royal Armouries is located.

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And that is the Royal Armouries building.

Of course, there was a boat passing through a lock so the museum would have to wait.

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You don’t expect to see this flag flying in England:

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The Royal Armouries

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This was a really neat atrium in the museum

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The museum really, really heavily emphesized the armor of medival knights. It had other exhibitions but its specialty was clearly weaponry from about 1600 to 1800

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The view from the museum

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The Clarence Dock:

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Another boat going through the locks:

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Notice there is a trail going straight across England along the canals. A must do trip some day.

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I then went to one of the main old markets in Leeds:

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Hah, notice the blue bulb hanging down on the right hand side? Even in here they are videotaping you!

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I was told that this used to be an even much more spectacular market but that a few decades ago a large part of it burned down and it was never completely restored. It was still nice though.

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I then wandered in to some gigantic arcades. Whereas Liverpool and Manchester had modern shopping centers built in the town center Leeds had some spectacular Victorian arcades.

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It was getting dark and I had to head to the Bed and Breakfast where I was staying. Unfortunately it was a mile and a half from the city center, uphill, past the university, past a park, past a lot of unkempt row houses and finally on a poorly marked street.

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To cap it all off they claimed they didn’t have a reservation in my name even though I had the internet receipt for it. Fortunately they came up with a room for me. I had walked a lot that day and was truly exhausted.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #213
VoldemortBlack
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I have to say I thought Leeds was just a wannabee Manchester, but from those pictures it looks like a truly amazing city!
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #214
Crash_N
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Great photos from both cities! The arcades in Leeds are
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #215
Paul D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoldemortBlack View Post
I have to say I thought Leeds was just a wannabee Manchester, but from those pictures it looks like a truly amazing city!
I often think that inland city's often strive to be like each other,coastal city's think differently and see the World differently,we always look out to Sea and to other coastal city's for inspiration.

Last edited by Paul D; November 6th, 2011 at 04:19 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul D View Post
I often think that inland city's can only strive to be like each other,coastal city's think differently and see the World differently,we always look out to Sea and to other coastal city's for inspiration.I'm sure Dan knows what I mean being from New York?
Yeah, because all of that is entirely relevant in the global era...
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Old November 6th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #217
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I am getting angry at my ancesters for leaving England. All of these cities are amazing. A few points below:

1. I wish our developers would study the new construction in these cities. I really love the new buildings Liverpool, Manchester, & Leeds.

2. I haven't seen a lady go out in curlers since I was a kid. My mother used to make unkind remarks about ladies throwing a scarf over curlers and going out. That was few a decades ago.

3. I enjoyed seeing the suburban area from the train. We rarely see pictures of new suburban areas as most people, understandably, want to photograph city centers.

4. I am not particularly interested in weapons, but the tower of weapons was impressive.

5. If I lived in that lovely apartment building, I would not want to view a Nazi flag from my balcony. Well placed complaints would be made. Hopefully, it is temporary.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #218
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Those buildings in Manchester's Gay Village, no kidding.

I'm also very fond of the modern blocks, Manchester has been getting some new ones.

Regarding Leeds, I think most people who don't know this city won't give two cents for it but your pictures speak for themselves: stunning Victorian arcades, lovely detailed buildings and some really good recent developments.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 05:12 PM   #219
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The Royal Armouries (a fantastic museum), and the Victorian shopping arcades, are for me - the two stand-out features of Leeds.


Looks like you, finally, got some sunshine.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 07:18 PM   #220
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Yes, thats a council estate, and quite a new one (as they go) too.
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