Pair dig up the se­crets of city’s past in book

Stockport Times West - - NEWS -

APAIR of for­mer teach­ers from Stock­port have been comb­ing Manch­ester to un­earth its lit­tle­known se­crets and sights for a new book.

Phil Page from Heaton Mersey and Ian Lit­tlechild from Hazel Grove, who met when they both worked at a school in Droyls­den, have pub­lished the fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights in a book – ‘Se­cret Manch­ester’.

Now work­ing as pho­tog­ra­phers, the pair spent weeks scour­ing the city cen­tre to map fa­mil­iar sights, and also the his­tor­i­cal facts be­hind them that few peo­ple may know.

Among them are a statue of Archimedes hav­ing a bath, which can be seen un­der one of the arches off Granby Row near Pic­cadilly sta­tion – aptly lo­cated out­side the for­mer UMIST build­ing, il­lus­trat­ing the sci­en­tific prin­ci­ple of wa­ter dis­place­ment.

Mean­while, the steep and nar­row steps down from Ox­ford Road sta­tion onto Ox­ford Road were once the route into one of the city’s worst slums – Lit­tle Ire­land.

Ir­ish im­mi­grant fam­i­lies lived there twenty to a cot­tage in ter­ri­ble con­di­tions, reg­u­larly suf­fer­ing flood­ing as the land is be­low the wa­ter line of the nearby River Ir­well.

For­mer English teacher Phil, 64, said: “The aim was to cre­ate a guide­book for the city for things you might not nec­es­sar­ily no­tice when you’re walk­ing around.

“It might be places peo­ple know well but not the quirky his­tor­i­cal de­tails about them.

“I’ve lived in Greater Manch­ester for 30 years and I found out loads just do­ing the book.

“I think the most sur­pris­ing thing we found out about was Lit­tle Ire­land – it’s such a small, cramped place and the sit­u­a­tion they were liv­ing in is almost un­be­liev­able.

“You go down there now and can hardly imag­ine how many peo­ple were squashed into that place.”

Phil and Ian, 65, will be do­ing a sign­ing of their book at Manch­ester Craft and De­sign Cen­tre to­day, De­cem­ber 11, from 11am to 1pm.

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