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Tony Grist

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The Warehouse [Nov. 16th, 2007|09:59 am]
Tony Grist
I used to walk everywhere. It was the only exercise I got.  Then we aquired a car and I stopped the walking.  I swore to myself it wouldn't happen like that but it did. 

But Ailz was going out yesterday and I arranged for her to drop me at the library. I picked up some books, did a little shopping then walked home toting a couple of bags. Once upon a time I used to do this two or three times a week. 

It was a bright sunny day and I took a detour through the park. On my way I passed this building. 

It's a Victorian railway warehouse-Grade II Listed. There have been plans to turn it into appartments, shops, a railway museum, but none of them have come to anything and now it's on the market again. 

I've got a poem about it.  Written just after the Oldham riots of May 2001 



My sister’s a photographer

And loves the doomy wombiness

Of derelict buildings and the rustle

Of falling plaster. So we ploughed

Through the elder wood and let ourselves in

To the warehouse.

In its curved nave

Of iron pillars her flashgun struck

At obscurity the way the Pope does,

Judging between conflicting tales,

At the climax of the Ring and the Book-

Blow upon blow. We could read graffiti

Scrawled on the walls by sad youths

Who are fathers now. It stank of mortality-

More precisely of dead pigeons.


Afterwards as we strolled outside

In the evening sunlight a guard came up

From his lodge beside the retail park

And told us how- just weeks before-

There’d been three fires on the Glodwick skyline

And four youths had come running through,

One of them with a wounded hand

Who’d asked for a rag to stop the blood.

“Well, our kid, and how did that happen?”

“I was jumping over a barb wire fence.”

But the cut was far too clean for that;

He’d been slashed across the palm with a knife.


[User Picture]From: strange_complex
2007-11-16 10:47 am (UTC)
Gosh, it would make great apartments! I hope someone this time gives it the new life it deserves. And I love the way the red of the bricks and the blue of the sky contrast in your photo.

I also love the line about 'sad youths / Who are fathers now' in your poem.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-16 11:11 am (UTC)
The area where it's situated is very run down, but there are things happening- and the hotel next door- which has also been derelict for years- has just reopened and the tram will be coming to Oldham soon making it more attractive to the bright young things who work in Manchester and- yes- there's hope for it, I think.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2007-11-16 12:01 pm (UTC)
Of course my Dad remembers when trams ran to Oldham before. :)

I'm not old enough to remember trams, but I do remember trolley buses.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-16 12:52 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of the tram. It combines the best features of the bus and the railway. Curious, isn't it, how this outmoded form of transport is making a comeback?
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2007-11-16 01:37 pm (UTC)
Trams are wonderful. They just inaugurated a tram line in the centre of Seville. It'll function as a shuttle when they finally open the new underground (since they can't tunnel under all that history safely) but for now people are using it as if it were a tourist vehicle as it slowly passes the Cathedral and other historical buildings.

The warehouse would make wonderful apartments. Or perhaps it could be offices but it should be preserved. Your poem has a melancholy echo and ties together the old building and the riots very neatly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-16 02:59 pm (UTC)
Manchester has had trams for something like ten years. They keep announcing that the system will be extended to outlying towns then putting back the date when this will happen.

The warehouse is a lovely building. It was nothing more than a shell when we (my sister and I) entered it six years ago and must now be in a thoroughly wretched state of repair. I hope someone buys it and saves it I really do.

I'm glad you liked the poem.

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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2007-11-16 01:53 pm (UTC)

And I loved this...

"doomy wombiness"
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-16 02:45 pm (UTC)

Re: And I loved this...

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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2007-11-16 03:56 pm (UTC)
They should Do It Up. And then they should engrave your poem on a brass plaque and put it on the wall! Here's hoping, if the area is on the Up, this beautiful space will have its next life.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-11-16 06:02 pm (UTC)
What a good idea!

I'd love to own an apartment in this building. It's right across from Alexandra Park and the outlook would be glorious.
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[User Picture]From: craftyailz
2007-11-16 06:02 pm (UTC)
I too remember the trolley buses. They were fun. What Poliphilo doesn't mention is that his shoulders were really sore last night from carrying the bags. I've spoiled him by driving him everywhere. Mind you his arthritis is probably better than it was about 5 years ago when he couldn't run or anything, now he can.

Although he's permanently cold these days, heaven help us when it gets really cold - he's whingeing enough as it is!!!
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