Posts tagged ‘boggart’

Zedding is an academic discipline!

By Liam

After zedding Boggart Hole Clough, we discovered that another person, oddly enough, had done a similar exploration just a few weeks before.

John Davies, a vicar from Liverpool, spent two months walking the M62 corridor and blogging about it. He’s now publishing it as a book. Like us, he spent a day fruitlessly searching for boggarts.

Now this is odd enough, but it then turns out that the guy is a supporter of CAP (who I work for). I saw him speak at an event back in February, looked him up afterwards and made the link. Then I met him again today at an event in Manchester. 

I got talking to him about boggarts and tried to explain about zedding. (Figuring that anyone crazy enough to walk the M62 corridor and turn it into a book might just get it.) And he told me that there are people who do this kind of thing and treat it as situationist art, or an academic discipline. It’s called psychogeography.

Wkipedia says psychogeography is:

‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals’ or ‘a slightly stuffy term that’s been applied to a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities. Psychogeography includes just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.’

Zedding is essentially a dérive (drift): ‘an aimless walk, probably through city streets, that follows the whim of the moment’. We are walking in the footsteps of the Dadaists, the Sitiuationists and Baudelaire! Psychogeography is also ‘an art of conversation and drunkenness’, which fits zedding pretty much perfectly.

Anyway, Manchester seems to be a pretty big centre for psychogeography. There used to be a psychogeography society here, who apparently once levitated the corn exchange. (Can’t find a live web link for that, but would love to know more…)

And this summer they’re having a psychogeography conference at the university: TRIP 2008! I am so tempted to go…

Psychogeographic Map


April 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm 1 comment

In which they find some swimming without water, a car park and a filthy swan

by Marie

With some hours to spare before sunset on a Sunday afternoon, I persuaded Liam (who had been running) to do a Little Walk with Bazza. Not a full Zedding, just a little walk with our oracle. We headed off to the Medieval Quarter (OK, the bit round the Cathedral) to our target square of D4 to look for a boggart dog bridge (honestly, a boggart dog bridge).

We saw Robert Owen who Liam thinks is “a man in a sinister cloak with a small child under it”. I think this is unfairly maligning one of the founders of socialism. I’m sure he was our sort of person. He does look a wee bit sinister here tho:

robert owen

We were in the square near the cathedral which is pretty and has fountains. It also has the Urbis which has Zedding-related interesting stuff in it:

urbis urbis roof urbis urbis fountains urbis fountain urbis cheetham

We found this message from the zedding gods, who were about to smile on us:


We heard some music. And one of the guiding principles of zedding is that one should be easily distracted. We followed our ears to a small gathering of tents in the square with a sign that said, bewilderingly enough, ‘National Swimming Championships’. We would like to point out for readers who don’t know Manchester that there was no apparent pool in the vicinity.

There was however a tent selling beer, a tent selling food and a tent for face painting. Also a stage with some lively rhythm-and-blues music and lifeguards. Just remember, kids – no venturing out into urban squares without a lifeguard. One saw my camera and was eager to pose with his horn for me.


We thought about asking about the swimming. But we didn’t.

We headed for Victoria station, where one gets trains to places like Wigan and Rainhill. When I do this I get very upset about the state it has been allowed to get in. It has some absolutely gorgeous features put in by madly hubristic Victorians who thought the age of steam would never wane. Then some nasty corporate taste vandals have plastered their nasty plastic nastiness on top of the marble and mosaic. Elsewhere Victoria has been allowed to get shabby and neglected, she has been allowed to rummage around in the bargain bin at the charity shop adorning herself in the worst the 1980’s had to offer and wearing it on top of her pearls.

victoria station 1st class ticket office victoria station classy bar victoria station newcastle map in victoria station

(I feel quite strongly about this.) I would love for someone to do to Victoria what they have done to Moor Street in Birmingham.

The MEN arena has lots of steps, I like the patterns:

steps steps

Opposite is Chetham school of Music which is 400 years older than the MEN arena and nicer looking. Marx and Engels used to chat there. It has gargoyles but once again it’s surprising just how wriggly they can be, won’t stay still to be photographed.

cheethams cheetham school

There was a gateway to hell. It is at the end of an old croft, which is a place Bazza tells us Tenterhooks were used in days of old. This probably now belongs to Northern Rail. If you are listening, Northern Rail, we would like some more info.

walkers croft

We walked along the side of the river, which has long been our desire. I was complaining that the river wasn’t utilised as a tourist attraction, the reasons why may be painfully obvious from the photos. We debated titles for these photos. Liam likes “Urban Swan” as a name for a trendy clothing boutique but I don’t think “Swan in Filth” would get so much custom. Dirty creature.

urban swan urban swan

We got confused about the boggart dog bridge and strayed into a car park which was sort of on a bridge and turned out to be the site of another railway station, ‘once connected to Victoria by the longest railway platform in europe’, fact fans. Bazza thinks this site should be redeveloped but that it would ‘need an arresting building to set it off’. You cannot argue with the man.

arch former site of exchange station

The cathedral is pretty. And we like the centuries of architecture that contrast with one another. The cathedral itself, the lovely dome of the corn exchange, the brutalist Arndale, the flimsy wheel. The portaloo.

cathedral cathedral wheel arndale years of architecture plus portaloo

Finally the boggart dog bridge. I have no pictures of the bridge itself as it was a bit unspectacular really, and I was distracted by this bit of pretty.

sign victoria

The story goes that it is a bridge on top of an old bridge, old, old. And that this part of Manchester was haunted by a boggart dog which was caught and placed under the bridge. Bazza says this is a folk memory of a building sacrifice. We’re just delighted to find another boggart.

And a building that was once known as one of the ugliest buildings in manchester, although it may be in Salford.

premier inn

Vital statistics
Location: Manchester Medieval Quarter
A to Z: page 5 (large-scale city centre insert) or page 94 square D3, page 95 square E3
Getting there: Victoria station, Victoria tram, or short walk from my house
Running total: 27

April 18, 2008 at 9:10 pm 2 comments

In which they do not discover a boggart

by Liam

I recently became aware that Rosie, who I used to work with, has an unusual hobby. She goes A to Zedding with her boyfriend Doug.

It appears that they invented this hobby entirely themselves, or at least no one else has a website about it. They describe it pretty well on their site:

‘A-to-Zedding is much more than just a hobby. It’s an intellectual, spiritual and deeply personal pastime. The A-to-Zedder’s dream is to visit and gain a deep understanding of every “square” in their chosen A-Z map.’

Marie and I decided to give it a go, giving us a convenient excuse to explore Manchester a bit more thoroughly. If it doesn’t turn out to be a passing fad for us, we’ll make it a proper blog of its own, but for now I’m hosting the words and she’s hosting the pictures.

So we started last Sunday, by looking through the A to Z for somewhere to visit. (Discovering in the process that my A to Z is 15 years old, and narrowly avoiding heading out in search of a mill on the Mersey that no longer exists. I now have A to Z envy, since Marie’s is both spiral bound and was made in this century.)

From a number of places chosen principally for their amusing names, we narrowed it down to Boggart Hole Clough, a park in Blackley, a northern suburb of Manchester.

Here it is:
boggart hole clough

It’s a bit of a bus ride out of town, especially on a grey Sunday. On the way, we saw:

Pigeons John Swift Conservative Club
– pigeons having a meeting on the roof of a smart old building;
– evidence that Conservatives, who must be in a bit of a minority in northern Manchester, are banding together for safety.

Clough gates
Then we found the clough, which is basically a mix of a country park with a city park. Country because it has a ravine running through it. (‘Clough’ is a local word for ravine, the helpful signs told us. They also said it was a ‘semi-wilderness’, which was stretching things somewhat.) City because it also has sports fields and a boating lake and graffiti and stuff.

Do not fail to keep a dog on a lead
We were rather alarmed by this. However, we failed to keep a dog on a lead, or to remove any faeces, at any point during our visit, and didn’t get into any trouble.

It’s very pretty and, OK, a bit wild:

Boggarty woods Fallen tree 2 Buried fence

Our mission wasn’t just to look at the pretty woods, though. We’d been charged by to take a picture of a boggart. We took the search for signs of boggarts very seriously. (That’s me inspecting a suspected boggart-proof fence up there.)

We found several bridges, which looked like potential boggart holes (”look under the bridges that’s where they hide”):

Boggarty bridge Very boggarty bridge Boggart Hole Clough stream Dark boggart bridge Bogghart's home

We looked for boggarts under the first bridge and found none. When we found the bridge on the right, though, we realised no self-respecting boggart would have lived under the first one.

More to the point, though the boggart wasn’t home, we found some boggart leavings. Clearly, boggarts share a taste in cider with tramps and students (click for a bigger picture):
Boggart leavings

Then there was some more pretty:
Red plant Autumn leaves Autumn leaves 2 Pretty tree

We walked for a while up the clough (well, along the side of it to be fair, but it sounds ruder this way). And we came to a boating lake with pointy-headed ducks on it, and a very ugly building beyond it (Marie thinks it looks like a comprehensive school, but the A to Z disagrees and the A to Z Does Not Lie (or hers doesn’t, anyway)):
Boating lake Pointy-headed duck Ugly building
We had a little rest and a smackerel of something. Bizarrely, the smackerel came wrapped in a treatise on love: Strange chocolate wrapper

And the bench we sat on triggered my inner punctuation Nazi:

“Linda”. Allegedly.

But this is an A to Zedding blog, not an excuse to join these fine people and start up a quotation marks protection society, so I shall desist. So, walking around the lake, we found a little boathouse, because finding things from the A to Z is the point.

Then came the best bit. There’s an athletics track with a big fence around it, which is clearly not a rabbit-proof fence:
Rabbits 3 Rabbit Rabbits again

There was even a little babby one!
Babby rabbit with friend
Someone had put out bits of carrot for them, and once they realised we were just going to make high-pitched cooing noises and take photos from the far side of a fence rather than eating them, they went about their business as normal.

Shortly afterwards, there were some steps that went to nowhere. Or perhaps it was an amphitheatre for boggarts:
Steps - or boggart amphitheatre?

We climbed a very steep hill, then saw some boggart boys taking the easy way down:
Extreme skateboarding

At the top was a war memorial. There were lots of very Northern names on the side of it:
War memorial names

and some rather more unexpected names:
Victor Pomfret and Plato Postlethwaite

On top was a statue:
War memorial lady 4 War memorial lady
who turned out, on closer inspection, to be very scantily clad and smuggling peanuts:
War memorial lady 5, note smuggled peanuts
Well, it was a bit nippy. Should have put a jumper on.

On the way back to the bus stop, ms_lilith decided that she wanted to live here:
Nice house
It has very steep steps to keep boggarts out.

We had a debate over whether it’s best to do some research about a Zedding destination before or after attempting it. We did it afterwards this time, and found some interesting stories about boggarts. And cloughs. And beer:

Wiki on Boggarts
Wiki on Boggart Hole Clough
Boggart Hole Clough at Mysterious Britain
Beer and Boggarts

So, that was our first Zedding trip. Watch this space to see if we can be arsed to do it again. I hope we can.

And do tell us if this is a self-indulgent ramble and we need to restrain ourselves when blogging our Zedding in future.

Location: Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley, Manchester
A to Z: page 83 squares G1, H1, G2, H2
Google Map: 
Getting there: bus numbers 17 and 118 from the rochdale road. Use public tranport, plan your journey:

October 12, 2007 at 12:40 am 2 comments

Running Total

135 squares

Follow the Manchester Zedders


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