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Tony Grist

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My Home Town [Sep. 17th, 2013|11:50 am]
Tony Grist
Oldham doesn't know what it's for- and hasn't since the mills closed-  but it's never stopped trying to find out. In the Hilton Arcade (where I think I'm right in saying not a single shop remains open) there are pictures showing how beautiful the town is going to look after the next in a series of reinventions. There'll be an Asian market (quite different, you understand, from the existing market in which most of the stall-owners are Asian), some sort of glorious erection outside the Town Hall and a "speakers corner" for people with soap boxes. You've got to admire the striving, . Even though the shops and nite spots are mostly shuttered the place feels alive and I don't think it's just the wind and rain gusting round the hilltop. 25 years ago most of the faces on the streets were pasty white, now the pasty whites are in a minority. New population, new dreams- new reasons to stick it to the bastards. Or that's how it seems to me.

[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2013-09-17 11:07 am (UTC)

New tram!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-17 11:30 am (UTC)


Yeah. And it'll be great when they finish digging up the streets. They've been at it for three years now.
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From: (Anonymous)
2013-09-17 11:08 am (UTC)
Hello :)

The problem with old Northern mill towns is that there are just too many of them and it's impossible to reinvent them all. Some should just be closed down completely and the populations moved to other towns to give them more of a chance.

I speak as an Accringtonian. Apart from me and Tiffany glass, it's got nothing going for it, and I'm not much of an asset!

I also think there was too much enthusiasm in bringing down the old mills and mill towers. Cromford and the surrounding area is really going with the world heritage stuff and something of that kind spread over Lancashire could have been integral to a resurgence. It would never have been Stonehenge, but the Industrial revolutions would have been a great jumping off point for something big.

As it is, we've got call centres and a population who haven't got a clue what they're really supposed to be doing.

Many thanks,


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-17 11:37 am (UTC)
You're probably right about there being too many. I don't know them all but- of the ones I do- Rochdale and Middleton seem seriously depressed, Bolton (city status) appears to be doing OK and Oldham and Ashton are working hard to make something of themselves.

I agree about the mills. W.H. Auden said they were the best architecture of the 19th century- and- round here- we've made something like a clean sweep of them. Those that are left we should cherish.
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From: (Anonymous)
2013-09-17 10:28 pm (UTC)
Accrington is in the same vein as Rochdale alas. There has been regeneration and some effort made but all in all it's still a bit of a dump...

Wigan is surprisingly nice; after all that Orwell said about it, it has turned itself into a place some bit like. They have also cashed in on Orwell, rather than try to hide any and all evidence of their industrial past, although some would prefer it. Lowry painted Wigan as a grim place, too, since he's having something of a resurgence they should cash in on that as well!!

The mills were beautiful. When I was a child in Accrington they dominated the skyline. Now it's as if they never existed. Accrington also once had a very pretty railway station...now it is a dreary modern edifice. It gave it all away!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-18 07:37 am (UTC)
I've driven through Accrington a few times. I can't say I saw anything that made me want to get out of the car.

I visited Wigan about 10 years ago and was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be horrid and it wasn't. Cashing in on Orwell is smart.

I guess Salford has pretty much cornered the market in Lowry.
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From: artkouros
2013-09-17 11:49 am (UTC)
Glorious erections!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-17 12:23 pm (UTC)
I'm all in favour.
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