On Track

Posted by editor on April 23, 2010 under Business, training and employment

After the Commonwealth Games of 2002 it will arguably be the single most important factor in east Manchester’s economic revival. But, for the time being, it’s all roadworks and dumper trucks. Len Grant sets off to take a look at the progress of Metrolink.

Clutching their red hard hats, two young men are waiting on Ashton New Road, as their bus negotiates the temporary traffic lights.
“Will you be using the Metrolink when it’s finished?” I ask.
“Does it go near college?” asks one, the distinctive hard hats being tell-tale signs that these lads are on a construction course at The Manchester College.
“Not this line, no.”
“Then I won’t,” he says.
“I’m from Newton Heath,” says his mate, “so they’ll be no good for me.” I put his right about the Oldham line and his local stop at Central Park. He’s almost impressed.

Today I am on a journey of discovery. Lately I’ve been diverted and (very briefly) delayed driving around east Manchester as work on the new Metrolink track continues. So this afternoon I’ve parked my car near Clayton Hall and, with camera and tape recorder in hand, decide to follow the track into the city centre.

I’m near Gate 69 as an old black and white photograph comes to mind. It’s a picture I’ve seen of this part of Clayton taken maybe a century ago with trams making their way to and from Ashton. History now repeats itself although, for the time being, this line will only reach Droylsden.

Alongside the fencing I attempt to engage a construction manager in conversation. “It’s more complicated that I’d imagined,” I say after I’ve told him I’m taking images on behalf of the local regeneration company. “You’ve got all the drainage and other utilities to think about,” he says. “It’s not just a case of laying the track.” I’m very unfair to this man, putting him on the spot for an impromptu interview. “I’ve got to get on,” he says, taking the card I offer him. “I’ll get our PR people to call you.”

The line sweeps behind the Little Gem Hand Car Wash and appears to hit a brick wall, literally. Maybe this is one of the sites yet to be compulsory purchased. Staff from the nearby MOT garage have already relocated to Clayton Bridge, says a sign.

Now at Gate 61 (how did I miss 68-62?) I can see there is much activity around the Ashton Canal. A new bridge is being built to take the trams over the canal before they cross the main road. There’ll be a stop between here and Asda called Sportcity: Velodrome. Outside the superstore I stop Mark and Joanne who are happy to talk into my tape recorder. Read more of this article »

Principal’s Blog: March 2010

Posted by editor on April 22, 2010 under Education and health

This month Principal Designate Guy Hutchence offers a virtual tour of progress at the East Manchester Academy.

March has been a particularly busy time for us as we now know who our 180 ‘pioneers’ will be for the opening of the new Academy in September. After the half term break we will be organising transition days so our new pupils can familiarise themselves with the new school uniform, the calendar and the timetable. We’ll also be offering tours around the school but, until then, here’s a taster of where we are up to on site.

Click on any one of these thumbnails to get started.

One Night Only

Posted by editor on April 1, 2010 under Art, sport and leisure

Len Grant nips across to Gorton Visual Arts (GVA) at The Angels to report on Yvonne Royle’s solo exhibition.

"We're looking for a permanent home for the work now," says Yvonne

"We're looking for a permanent home for the work now," says Yvonne

Although I photographed Yvonne preparing for this show a couple of months ago I wasn’t expecting the riot of colour and energy she has put into these large-scale murals.

Happy or scarry?The panels are full to bursting with weird and wonderful characters that begin life in her imagination. “Music is my inspiration,” says Yvonne, who joined GVA as the community art group were completing their Belle Vue mosaic. “I feel free when I’m drawing and listening to music. Anything from the 80s and the images just come to me.”

Yvonne’s original drawings were projected onto the wooden panels and then, assisted by artist, Andrew McKay, Yvonne has transformed them into larger-than-life characters.

Yvonne's neice Rebecca get's up close

Yvonne's neice Rebecca gets up close

It was great to see so many friends and family descend on the GVA’s studio last night to celebrate Yvonne’s achievement.

“We’re looking for a permanent venue for the work now,” she tells me, “somewhere it can be enjoyed for a long time.”