A little bit of background history... The Lowry is a theatre and gallery complex at Salford Quays, within Greater Manchester. It is named after the early 20th century painter L. S. Lowry, known for his paintings of industrial scenes in North West England and was officially opened on 12th October 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II.
To redevelop the derelict Salford docks, Salford City Council developed a regeneration plan in 1988 for the brown field site highlighting the leisure, cultural and tourism potential of the area, and included a flagship development that would involve the creation of a performing arts centre. The initial proposals were for two theatres and an art gallery on the prominent Pier 8 site.
Between 1990 and 1991 a competition was launched and architects James Stirling Michael Wilford Associates was selected. After the death of James Stirling in June 1992 Michael Wilford continued the project. The city council bid for Millennium and other British and European funds and private sector finance to progress the project. Funding was secured in 1996 and The Lowry Trust became responsible for the project which comprised The Lowry Centre, the plaza, a footbridge, a retail outlet shopping mall and Digital World Centre. The National Lottery provided over £21 million of funding towards its construction. The project was completed in 1999 at a cost of £106 million. The Lowry name was adopted in honour of the local artist, L. S. Lowry.
Another from the night visit with Muddy Boots UK.
For me this is the real heart of the Quays complex and if this is my 45th photographic trip then I must have visited well over a hundred times for theatre events since its opening. Countless comedians, touring West End productions, lectures and the odd classic of Shakespeare, opera and ballet, although once is enough for those, but as they say... don't knock it till you've tried it! And not forgetting the permanent display of Lowry's work... always worth a visit.
I've said in the past, good architecture and design is good for the human soul and every visit is a joy for me. The wacky design - there's not a straight line in the place, and as for the colour scheme - yellow, orange and purple, it's a full on attack of the senses. It's hard to be down-hearted the moment you walk into the foyer. I've heard it described as "not quite Salford's Guggenheim" and maybe not, but for me this is my Sydney Opera House... both dared to be different in concept and design, and after the public's initial scepticism are very much loved buildings today.
I've always wanted to capture this bold " in yer face" version of the Lowry, but I've never been happy with past efforts for one reason or another. Yes, it should be a cliché image, but considering the tens of thousands of pictures taken around the Quays over the years, it's surprisingly overlooked. It has always played havoc with my sense of symmetry, but I'll forgive it for that. This may be my best effort to date and the illuminated trees a bonus as I've not often seen them. I'll settle for this for the time being, but there's always visit 46!
Tags: The Lowry theatre L.S. Lowry artist industrial scenes paintings Salford Quays Pier 8 architecture building entertainment cultural tourism Lowry piazza Lowry Shopping Mall steps night illumination long exposure night shoot lights symmetry batter the Quays
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Huron Basin, Salford Quays
I don't think I've seen these basins so calm before with the still water providing some excellent reflections. While Muddy was busy messing about the Alchemist, Steve and I nipped across the road to bag this shot. I won't pretend I haven't taken it before, but a real opportunity to concentrate on the symmetry and find that all important centre spot and align with the background building... I feel I've nailed it this time!
About the bridge...
In its former life, this was a twin-track railway bridge, one of a number of swing bridges spanning across the Manchester Ship Canal. A single-track rail swing bridge at its original site was first built in 1895, but replaced in 1942 by a twin-track version weighing some 300 tonnes, built by Dorman Long.
With the decline of dock industry in Salford, the bridge became redundant in 1981, and was refurbished seven years later and floated to its current location. The refurbishment design was by Arup, and included installation of a hardwood timber deck for use by pedestrians, and the loss of all the mechanical equipment. It's no longer a swing bridge, but is permanently fixed in position.
The bridge is 80m long, 9m wide and over 10m tall above deck level. It's in the form of a balanced cantilever modified Warren truss. The most interesting feature of the bridge is the installation of an observation deck below its redundant pivot in the middle of the canal basin. This is accessed on curved staircases, and while it hardly offers a useful viewing platform, it does make the bridge experience more interesting.
Notes curiosity of The Happy Pontist.
Tags: Salford Quays Detroit bridge swing bridge bridge steel girders Huron basin Manchester Ship Canal canal long exposure night photography cityscapes night lights batter the Quays
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North Bay, Salford Quays
A double trip down to the Quays last week with Muddy Boots UK. The first on Sunday morning to catch the sunrise, which started with a mist that engulfed the Lowry theatre. As Muddy hadn't been before we did the grand tour of the key locations and eventually caught the sunrise over the direction of Ordsall, which I haven't taken a single shot of before. It was only on the way back to the car that we stopped to capture the NV buildings in perfect reflections. "I bet this looks good at night!" said Muddy.
So Wednesday night saw us head back there for Muddy's 2nd and my 45th visit! I personally haven't had to many evening shoots here where the water was so calm so we made the best of the conditions. This is The Alchemist bar and restaurant that overlooks the North Bay.
Salford Quays, MediaCityUK, Alchemist, bar, restaurant, Lowry theatre, docks, basin, north bay, night shot, lights, reflections
Tags: Salford Quays MediaCityUK The Alchemist bar restaurant Lowry theatre docks basin north bay night shoot lights reflections
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Bridgewater Canal, Worsley
Part III and my final upload from this visit... I only post this image on account of something that caught my eye. Having watched Kevin McCloud's Grand Designs for many years, I whole heartily agree with him that great architecture and design have a positive influence on the human psyche. Why else do we paint and decorate our homes to our individual tastes if not to make us feel happy.
However, I also believe that great design goes unnoticed a lot of the time. Take IKEA for example, all their flat pack furniture is carefully designed with home assembly in mind to be assembled with the minimum of parts and tools, although some will disagree, but I bet they never looked at the assembly plan first before jumping in with hammer and nail. The London Tube Map - copied the world over because it works and nobody has come up with a better alternative are two examples that spring to mind.
Which brings me back to this image, but first, a little moan... the bridge crossing the canal is known as the Alphabet bridge on account of the 26 decking planks. The story goes that the local school children used to recite their alphabet whilst crossing - a simple story if nothing else. However, I don't recall anything being wrong with the structure of that bridge or the timbers say the odd rotten one, but it looks like new steelwork to me, which I thought would contravene renovation laws (one for Kevin perhaps). Moan over...
What I do like are those two stone benches. Prior to this paving and landscaping the area was a patch of waste ground with a very sorry conventional park bench and a litter bin right at the end that nobody used because they couldn't be ar$ed to walk that far!. But back to the benches... they could have so easily put a couple of new standard ones there instead (and probably a lot cheaper as well). I suspect you're all wondering what the hell am I going on about!!!
Whoever has come up with this design, I tip my hat to them, because they have clearly researched the history of Worsley and its mining heritage. The Benches have been cast in the shape of the starvationer boats, so called due to their exposed ribs, that were used in the underground mines to extract the coal. If you can enlarge this image you can make out the ribs on the top of the bench seats.
I just think this is such a great nod to the past and clever/creative design at its best. For anyone visiting the area without any knowledge of the local history I suspect these will go unnoticed. That's it for now, I'll be keeping an eye on developments as it reaches completion.
Tags: Worsley Duke of Bridgewater Francis Egerton Bridgewater Canal canal Delph basin mines mining underground canals 46 miles starvationers restoration benches paving landscaping UNESCO World Heritage Status
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Bridgewater Canal, Worsley
Part II... this is the new multi-level viewing platform currently under construction and running behind schedule if the March deadline is anything to go by. During early demolition and excavation works to the old viewing platform, two previously unknown tunnels were uncovered along with a stone quay and winch mechanism. Construction works were immediately stopped to facilitate a visit from Salford University's Archaeology experts who have laser-scanned, photographed and recorded these finds.
The first tunnel has since been blocked up (to the left of the two workmen) and the second tunnel - to the right of the first (behind the tall rebar and scaffolding tower), had a skin wall which prevented access into it. As the tunnels lie directly in front of where the new viewing platform, they will unfortunately be hidden from view once the works are complete. Following the thorough investigation by local archaeologists, the tunnels have been in-filled with compacted stone and a reversible foamcrete - this will ensure they will remain safely intact should a decision be taken in future to uncover them.
The main tunnel runs into the bank for at least 10 meters and the smaller side tunnel runs south and parallel to The Delph and the canal as it goes underneath the road bridge at the southern end of the site. Both are made from handmade brick and lime mortar. The larger tunnel appears to run to the north of the 18th and 19th century cornmill in this area and is wide enough to take a horse and cart.
The tunnels will however be referenced on the interpretation panels on the new viewing platform and the potential to restore the winch for display on the viewing platform is being explored. Work on the Delph island, the new viewing platform and the perimeter of the site are due to be finished in spring 2019. Research is still ongoing as to the exact provenance of these recent discoveries in the Delph.
In answer to your questions regarding a visitor centre, coffee shop with cakes, here's a classic example of a missed opportunity. Why didn't they halt the construction and re-design the viewing platform to incorporate these tunnels. Maybe even generate a little income from refreshments. Would have been a money spinner had the mine tunnels been partially opened to the public.
Tags: Worsley Duke of Bridgewater Francis Egerton Bridgewater Canal canal Delph basin mines mining underground canals 46 miles starvationers restoration UNESCO World Heritage Status
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