Posts tagged ‘art’

In which they search for a Victorian gated community and find a lot of Christians

by Marie

Jen visited me a while ago and we went with Liam to see the William Blake exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery which was good. Liam liked it in a history of publishing way. I liked knowing Blake couldn’t draw Tigers all that well. Looked a bit cuddly cat to me. Anyway, Blake. Jerusalem. Respect is due.

We came out with some hours of daylight to spare on a sunny day and decided to do an impromptu zedding. It was, with hindsight, a zedding that would have benefited from some research first.

Our target was Victoria Park based on a throwaway comment of Bazza’s en route to Didsbury.

To the left, behind the shops, Victoria Park is located. This legendary Victorian suburb, once the most exclusive address in Manchester, had its own gates and police force. Enough large houses remains to give an impression of what it must once have been like.

This caught my imagination, I wanted to get an impression of what it must once have been like. I love getting an impression of what things must once have been like. But I felt let down, sure there were some big nice houses, some of em even had crenalations, but I wasn’t getting exclusive Victorian suburb as we wandered.

castle tower house

It started out well enough with the sign for the Cravings Cafe at the Ante-Natal Clinic. We didn’t see the menu but we think they are setting themselves up for a fall there. What’s going to happen when someone wants a picked coal sandwich, eh?

cravings cafe nice building

We saw this sign and found it very funny. We had visions of a clinic for people to go when their Manchester Lifestyle had got too much for them, When you can no longer see through your Manchester hair, when you are exhausted by being too cool, when you’ve danced on canal street a little too long.

signs

But no, it does cosmetic surgery, nice house tho:

manchester lifestyle clinic Manchester lifestyle clinic

Then we came across the religious movement of the acronym. What could UCKG stand for? I did my trespassing to get the blue plaque: “Edgar Wood 1860-1936 Artist Architect designed this former church of Christ Scientist”. Not much of a clue? What was it now? I opened the door and peeped in but then Jen and Liam started flapping and shrieking nervously at me so I retreated before I could disappear into a cult or was arrested or whatever was worrying them. It looked sort of average low church protestant inside.

Later we googled. They say on their website that they are “a down-to-earth Christian church that believes anyone’s life can be changed for the better” and in case you were wondering UCKG stands for Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. They have a 24 hour helpline. Which is good, I guess, if you need help with stuff in the middle of the night – how to make a cheese sauce, maybe? Their website has series of testimonials from people who joined and became more successful, respectable, richer, thinner, better qualified. I feel a certain amount of tension here between being a a good liberal hippie who believes in freedom of religion and everyone’s right to have an opinion and the Christian who hates to see Jesus Hi-jacked. When I’m Queen of the World, anyone who calls themselves Christian and then says stuff like ‘join our religion and your life will be easier‘ will have to go and sit on the naughty chair till they’ve read the gospels and can convince me they know what they are talking about. Sound harsh to you? well don’t vote for me in the Queen of the World election.

church of the religious movement with the acronym the religious movement with the acronym another blue plaque

What is cool about this building is that it appears in my recently purchased architectural guide to Manchester. (Oh yes. We are getting serious about this now. I bring you research. It’s not just wandering around looking at the bunnies here)

My book says Persver described it as

“one of the most original buildings of that time in England or indeed anywhere . . . the only religious building in Lancashire that would be indispensable in a survey of 20th century church design in all England. It is a pioneer work, internationally speaking, of an Expressionism halfway between Gaudi and Germany about 1920, and it stands entirely on its own in England.”

So there. Art Nouveau treasures brought to you by Marie, Liam and Jen. We also bring you more than you will ever want to know about the building and more about Edgar, who sounds great.

You know who else is great? Ford Madox Brown is great. I love the Pre-raphaelites. I saw his Coat of Many Colours in the Walker in Liverpool recently where I learned that the Pre-raphaelites were pioneers at painting biblical scenes that looked like they were in Palestine. I need to go and look at the Manchester Murals in the town hall. Anyway, He lived here. Which I guess is why there’s a Wetherspoons named after him on the Oxford Road. So did Charles Halle of the Halle Orchestra.

headless statues headless chap blue plaque

In addition to the church of the acronym, we found lots of Christian dwellings. It seems that the Christian denominations were keen to have their own halls of residence for some reason. Liam was given a tract in the street, he took it because you should be open to letting things happen to you when you’re zedding. It only encouraged him to give his heart to Jesus in a old fashioned evangelical way by praying the prayer on the back, no websites, no 24 hour helplines, disappointing really. This is a church, I don’t know anything about it but I liked the vapour trail in the sky behind it and I want to reinforce my point about the abundance of Christians. I did not know enough to photograph the church built especially for the people who lived in the private suburb.
a church

You may remember the sign for Methodist Int. We looked at a lot of things and wondered if they were Methodist Int. We didn’t find it which is a shame because then I could have linked to this wonderful article about it from The British Architect 1881 which gives me an impression of what it must have been like.

Vital statistics
Map:
Location: Victoria Park
Date zedded: 3 March 3008
A to Z: page 109 G3, H3
Getting there: buses from Picadilly gardens past the university
Squares this expedition: 2
Running total: 29

April 23, 2008 at 12:05 am 4 comments


Running Total

135 squares

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