a blog about technology management

Day 3, Thursday July 17

Trip Information

See my general trip page for an overview of what this post is about.

“Oh Manchester, so much to answer for”
— The Smiths, Suffer Little Children

Today I was off to Manchester to see some sights at The Smiths and Morrissey Mecca.  I was catching an early train to get there by 11AM — it takes about 2 hours.  The train went upwards of 125 miles per hour. You can get anytime tickets or specific time tickets.  Anytime cost more as does traveling before 9:30AM (peak time).  I got an anytime off-peak for my return for flexibility.

I made a map for Manchester as well but only for the places I planned to visit that weren’t on the tour.

Two musts for Morrissey/Smiths fans going to Manchester (or London for that matter) – buy “Panic on the Streets: The Smiths and Morrissey Location Guide” by Phil Gatenby and book a tour with Craig Gill at Manchester Music Tours. I was set to go on a tour at about 11AM.  I met Craig at the Victoria station and off we went.

Craig is the former drummer for Inspiral Carpets.  He’s been featured on TV many times about his tours and was recently in this New York Daily News article. He was off to Italy the next morning for a gig Friday night. The tour stopped at several sights and Craig also gave me some background on the history of Manchester in general.  He’s great and the tour is so worth it.  Some of the highlights were (photos at the end):

Strangeways Prison

While not a likely tourist destination, the prison was featured in the title of The Smiths final studio album, “Strangeways, Here We Come.”

Salford Lads Club

Salford is across the River Irwell from Manchester and the two cities have many parallels to Minneapolis and St Paul.  The Salford Lads Club was prominently featured as a photo shoot site for the album “The Queen Is Dead.” This is the quintessential site to visit (and get a picture in front of!).  They have a Smiths room inside with photos and notes from fans who have visited (see video).

384 Kings Road

This is Morrissey’s former home and where the Smiths were born when he met Johnny Marr at the door step and much writing was done upstairs. I feel bad for the people who live here now!  They are obscuring the house number with some lovely hanging plants.

The Iron Bridge

Not far from Morrissey’s house, this was the bridge he walked over to get to school — mentioned in the Smiths song “Still Ill.” It’s a very ugly metal bridge which now has a lot of Smiths graffiti.

“Under the iron bridge we kissed
and although I ended up with sore lips
it just wasn’t like
the old days anymore”

— The Smiths, Still Ill

Southern Cemetery

This cemetery was the likely inspiration for the song “Cemetry Gates” and is where Morrissey went with his friend Linder Sterling who was a notable member of the Manchester scene.

“A dreaded sunny day
so I meet you at the cemetery gates”
— The Smiths, Cemetry Gates

After the tour I walked around city centre to a few nice museums (free) and these last four locations.  It’s real easy to walk around in the city centre as it’s so small in comparison to London.  The northern area where my hotel was had a lot of record stores — I think I found a half-dozen easily.

Free Trade Hall

A Sex Pistols concert here in 1976 inspired Morrissey to form the Smiths as well as inspired the formation of Joy Division and was dramatized in the film “24 Hour Party People.”    The Smiths also performed here in 1984 and 1986.  Too bad it is now a Radisson Hotel.

The Hacienda

The site of the former night club is now apartments. The Smiths did play a gig here in 1983 but it was also owned by New Order and their label Factory Records.

Midland Hotel

Site of a photo shoot for The Smiths.

Manchester Cathedral

Site of a Joy Division photo shoot.  Since I was there why not take some pictures?

Tourist Stops

I also took in the Museum of Science and Industry (nice history of cotton, fabrics and technology innovation in Manchester) as well as the People’s History Museum (seemed to be a lot about the Labour Party).  Both were free and very nice facilities and well worth the walk.

By 7PM I was exhausted and every muscle hurt.  After a long day and Python night yesterday I was beat.


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