My little sister called on Mum and Dad to look after my nephews this weekend, which meant I’ve been home alone … I filled my time this Saturday by taking a little trip on one of the new lines of Manchester’s Metrolink System.
Upon landing in Rochdale town centre, I took a walk through the town market and saw the restoration of Rochdale’s historic bridge, which crosses the river roch, which gives the town its name. I reached the Pioneers Museum on Toad Lane (Catchy Name!), which gave a comprehensive tale of the Co-operative society, its aims , values and people behind it in its infancy. It reminded me upon arrival of Matthew Tomlinson’s shop in Lark Hill Place in Salford. The Museum’s front door was dressed as if you were back in time in the 19th Century, and beyond that weights and measures of the time were displayed as you were greeted by an original counter marked out with the 7 principles of the Rochdale pioneers…
As part of the first world war centenary – there was a lot of focus on what families sent to loved ones out on the front line as well as tales of the co-operative staff sent out to serve on the allied lines during the war.
There was also a section in the museum on the Pioneers work with the Woodcraft folk, an organisation similar to the scouts, without the early military aspect.
I got back on the tram at Rochdale station and headed for my next stop, Oldham Gallery. which was brimming with artworks from renowned artists from Oldham and the surrounding area. I enjoyed looking at the paintings, and the sculpture studio was a pleasant surprise – the bronze of LS Lowry raised a grin. Equally the tales of famous sons and daughters of Oldham made me smile, and there was a brief military exhibit in relation to the first world war – as part of the centenary celebrations organised by the Imperial War Museum*. I had to hold my stomach to get through the taxidermy exhibit though….Might be nice to look at, but Owls and Birds of prey should be flying over the Pennines – not be on display in it’s museums.
I raised a smile at the wall of famous sons of Oldham – I am a fan of Eric Sykes’ comedy and enjoyed reading his story in the museum, I liked the goon shows he helped write with Spike Milligan.
I finished the visit off by having my lunch in the Museum Café ….A lovely sandwich salad – Really nice food and friendly staff. After a brief walk around the town centre and enjoyed the Pennine views, I headed for home with my memories of the day stored on my camera. Best bit of the day enjoying the pennine views and the lovely gardens in both of these Lancashire towns.
*small addendum – I volunteer at the Northern Branch of the Imperial War Museum during the week, so it was great to see what other museums were doing as part of the centenary celebrations.
It sounds like a preposterous suggestion to make, but its not that far fetched.
You see, living where I do , in Greater Manchester – there’s an excellent network of Buses, Trains and Trams to get to. Even in the short period of time while I was waiting for my Travel Pass, a Tram ticket cost a meagre £1.20 for a return into the city centre, and with the BBC Moving in opposite the Lowry Arts Complex
at Salford recently – the supply of regular trams has been constant. They don’t want to upset the London crowd you see.
So, I can now take a Pennine trip from Salford to Rochdale, before popping onto a West Yorkshire Metro from Rochdale to Todmorden in West Yorkshire if I wish…I could take in the delights of Bury Art Gallery or Lancashire Fusiliers Museum or take a trip around Oldham town centre and be back in time for Tea
The Football Set are smiling, as the metro lines take in both Old Trafford (Home of Manchester United FC) and the Etihad Campus (Home of the Commonwealth Stadium in 2002, and now Home to Manchester City FC) – and if Football isn’t your thing – then it also stops outside Lancashire Cricket Club
(Rugby Fans – Salford’s stadium is a short distance from the Eccles Stop – and they put on buses there!)
Get to Piccadilly Station, and Manchester’s Sporting Complex awaits – or if I feel like it a trip North to the Lancashire sands, taking in the delights of Morecambe’s Seafront, Blackpool’s Tower, The Lake District or Zakynthos’s Wildlife
The Metrolink now lands at Manchester Airport – so if you book your ticket – and pack a bag you could go further than you think on the humble little tram – But the Airfare costs a little extra!