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Thursday, February 20, 2003

THE BUSINESS SIDE OF RUNNING A PUBThe traditions of the English pub are permanently under threat from big business with its unsentimental thirst for ever larger chunks of the industry. No matter how precious these national jewels are, they are seen by fat cats as just another commodity to market. In these days of corporate attrition, it is essential to stand up and be counted as a concerned individual. Thus, I join in celebrating the first ever National Pubs week from 22nd February to March 1st and the timing of this latest posting couldn't be more poignant.

Job Title:LANDLADY/LANDLORD. In common parlance the people who run a pub are the landlord and landlady emphasising that this is a trade governed by property contacts and agreements they sign up to. But more often than not, these days they are called 'managers' in the trade at least. This is because a lot of pubs are now managed by big companies (that may or may not be breweries) and there is now a career structure or path in place. Taking over the running of a pub normally means that you live on the premises, in rooms upstairs, a practical solution to the kind of hours tenants need to work. In a real sense it is your house open to the public; hence the name public house.

MARGARET: My favourite landlady.I once lived two doors from a pub, my favourite local still, even though I have moved out of that area. Margaret was the formidable but affable landlady of it, the Lord Nelson. She was a local celebrity and since she moved to take over another she has become a legend. She managed the pub on her own, her husband having died of sclerosis of the liver. If anyone caused any trouble in the pub (and it had its fair share of rough diamonds), she would demand that they behave with the words 'this is my house; behave yourself or you are out'. Not behaving yourself might mean that Margaret would physically eject you in extreme cases. The story goes that her tenancy agreement was not renewed by the small independent brewery that owned it because it was not happy with the profit margins. The Nelson is essentially an old-fashioned beer drinkers pub; the new tenants simply still sell mostly beer, but have come up with new ways of filling the place with more customers.

THE PUB AS A SMALL BUSINESS. Your contract/agreement gives you the tenancy, and usually tenants are partners, married or not, but singles can run pubs as well. There is no fixed rule. One person has to have his or her name sign-written over the door naming him/her as the person 'licensed to sell intoxicating liquors.' The licence determines opening hours although this, despite local variations, is subject to national legislation. To have these hours extended beyond regular hours, say for New Year's Eve, the licence holder has to apply to the local magistrates for a temporary extension of opening hours.

CORPORATE MATTERS. The Union Pub Company is fairly typical of a large company that manages a lot of pubs and various parts of its web site give insight into the legal side of the industry as well as what you need to manage a pub. It is a division of Wolverhampton & Dudley Beweries PLC (based in the Midlands region of the U.K.) Click on the brewery link to see this UK brewery web site.Brewery
Its manager training programme page provides an insight into how this company recruits and trains managers for its pubs and gives details of potential earnings. Managing
The Union Pub Company owns the freehold of 1140 public houses in 20 counties across England and Wales. Company income is derived from the sale of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to the operators of the public houses, rental income from the properties and a shared income from gaming machines operated within the pubs.

CONTRACT MATTERS. All the pubs are run by self employed entrepreneurs who retain the profit from the re-sale of drinks purchased from the company. These operators are known as tenants and occupy the premises on the basis of agreements. For details click on this link. Agreements
Tenancy agreements with this company are usually for a three-year term that can be extended for a further three years at the end of each agreement term. Lease agreements are for a 21-year period. The main difference between the two types of contracts is that a tenancy agreement cannot be 'sold on'. With a lease agreement, however, the business and any 'goodwill' can be sold to a third party after a qualifying period (2 years).

What's it like running a pub ?Click here! Brewery
Here the tenants of three different pubs talk about their business. A photo of each couple is included and an external shot of their pub. The Union Pub company offer advice on what to take into account if you want to run a pub.What skills do you need to run a pub? Click here! Skills
Want to do an on line quiz to see if you have the potential to run a pub? Click here. Quiz
Want a woman's view of running a pub as sole tenant? Click here to see a brief case study 'Your local in the City'. Women
Interested in an online national Good Pub guide? (text only but searchable data base and interactive map) Click here. Good PubGuide

What is CAMRA? The UK hospitality industry is growing rapidly and conglomerates are increasingly killing off independent brewers or absorbing them, narrowing, increasingly the range of brand names. 20 pubs close down every month in the UK! This has increasingly restricted consumer choice, most significantly in the range of beers CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is an independent consumer champion, the beer drinkers friend. Its mission statement runs as follows: CAMRA's mission is to act as champion of the consumer in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. It aims to Maintain consumer rights. Promote quality, choice and value for money. Support the public house as a focus of community life. Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of national heritage and culture. Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry. CAMRA also seeks to promote real cider and perry through a sub-organisation called APPLE. Like ale, these are traditional British drinks and, like ale, the traditional product is very different from the 'dead' version. CAMRA
The CAMRA web site is an amazing resource for finding out about consumer issues related to beers. Amongst others there is a huge data base of illustrations of historic pubs accessible through an interactive map of the UK. Next week is its first ever National Pub week which is part of their ongoing awareness raising mission to protect this part of our national heritage.

johncoxon 3:18 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

In 'Give Peace A Chance',John Lennon assertively lists a string of 'isms' we shouldn't sign in to. By that token, the doctrine of being an individual and not signing up a particular faith or philosophy is, technically,Lennonism. John fell in love with Yoko the person, who just happened to be a beautiful Japanese intellectual and an artist, and would you Adam and Eve it, her surreal apple symbolically drew him to her(Romanticism. )

I have some personal correspondence from Yoko, which shows she is a genuinely nice person and one who continues to champion the causes and beliefs she and John embraced together. In recognition of the importance, emotionally and symbolically, that John has world wide, Yoko, through her correspondence, continues to demonstrate the same sensitivity she showed to the 'little child inside the man' that I so admired (and yearned for in my own previous disapppinting partner.) When I wrote to Yoko, that was Johnism,(The belief that you can talk or write to anyone, especially someone really famous you feel you know and half, at least , expecting a reply) and, in actually writing back, she demonstrated pure Yokoism. That is the doctrine that, however famous you become, you are, still, beneath any public image, able to be yourself and allow others all the same right. The majority of celebrities remain entirely private and unreachable by any means, and even if they get do get huge volumes of fan mail, they almost exclusively don't reply in person. Complete indifference to your fan base is known as Not-Yoko-ism or, more commonly, Giant-egotism.

Isms crop up all over the place, and Politics , Religion and Art have their fair share. It is a particularly dubious honour to have the suffix added to your name or something you've done, by those who follow you, what you stand for or once did. Movement is the name we give to those who respectfully support, follow or copy someone with an original idea. Add ism to their name or bag to start a movement. The reluctant hero losing a sandal is one of the funny moments in the Monty Python film, 'The Life of Brian' when the following crowd, eager for a symbol, throw off one sandal and limp after him having embraced Brianism. From passive observers of this minor event emerged, no doubt, the doctrines of Sandalism and One-bare-footism.

Movements in the Art world are sometimes referred to as schools. A school is a small movement, where styles are passed or held in common. Art has a whole history of isms. These usually develop from a new way of representing something (Cubism, Pointillism, Photorealsim) or from the style or content of paintings (Fauvism, Surrealism, Symbolism, Futurism) In most cases movements start from a single minded artist doing something original for a change, usually in revolt against contemporary practice or conventions. Many of the isms in art (Artisms) are coined, in the main, by art establishment critics; hence the doctrine known as Art-criticism. In this movement the follower (critic) is most at ease describing something by making comparisons, and thus will be completely flummoxed (confused) by anything too original (that is something that hasn't already been categorised and labelled by someone else) Coining a new ism that sticks is every art critics dream and will move them up the literary hierarchy, from hack to an authority, and they become known as an Art Historian.

Louis Leroy coined one such ism, admittedly by default, with a sarcastic generalistion he made about the work of a group of artists exhibiting in 1874. One picture, 'Soliel Levant', ( rising sun) a fairly harmless misty harbour scene, pictured above,included the word Impression in its title. The rest is history. Monsiuer Monet, laughed all the way to the bank, earning a substantial living from Impressionism, up till his death.

Art Criticism seems to be going through dry patch at the moment as there has been an riot of confusing modern stuff that only the artists themselves seem to be able to articulate. Their movement, where celebrity is transitory, comes from Tate-ism. The Tate doctrine involves putting up substantial prize money, then awarding gallery space and kudos to the winner. Currently, the more incredibly unconventionally your entry, the better your chances. Thus your random pile of objects,excretia, body parts, bricks, dirty bedding etc, may accidentally earn critical acclaim but, more important it must invite controversy and if that comes with media hostility you've made it. Tate-ism is a belief system maintained by anything real or not that can be exhibited and vitally, must invite the question 'But is it Art?' Tate-ism is a form of Neo-realism, replacing traditional artistic realism.

Neo-realism replaces Attic-ism, a slow movement, where, after your funeral, someone clearing out your loft discovers you really were gifted, and, posthumously, gains your work the recognition it deserved, and then makes enormous profit from it. Today's Neo-realism developed from the realisation that starving to death in a garret while doing paintings, your way, that nobody wants to buy, isn't romantic. Equally, knocking out kitsch and pandering to the lowest common denominator for easy bucks never sits well with a genuine artist. A few friends I know are consummately gifted portrait artists. They paint and draw realistically with breathtaking skill and make an honest living, largely through commissions. It may actually be Realism , but neither officially belongs to any particular movement; both are just strong individuals happily making a living without compromise.

Whilst posters and prints in a range of styles covering most isms are the norm in a lot of Englsih households (Pantheism) any original art work, in the homes of people I know at least, are almost exclusively portraits of family members or pets, fauna and flora or landscapes which have familial significance. Essentially a lot of very great professional artists, prepared to be Realistic are making a steady living knowing this is where their bread and butter market is and have learned the art of reaching it. Personal fortunes have been made by people talking or writing about art (Harpism) or selling and profiting from other people's efforts (Opportnism / Commercialism)<

But there is another way to make a lot of money out of art, but to do this you'd have to have shares in something that will attract followers of the most widely practiced religion of all. Sadly few private individuals own any part of such treasures. A very large number of individuals, artists included, may be able to show a handsome profit, indirectly, from these believers. Indeed whole local and regional economies can be supported, as can a range of small and large businesses.

One of the nicest examples I've ever seen, of this branch of Art Commercialism can be found in a small village between Paris and Le Havre. Were it not for Art, there is precious little else here to pull over for. Not on the A.B.C. itinerary ( Another B***** Cathedral), Art Tourism is Giverny's lifeblood. This is the former home of Monsieur Monet, the one who, impressively, without compromise, turned a profit till his dying day and indirectly, back in 1874, became the father of that impressive Special-ism. What is so refreshing about Giverny is that the gardens and lily ponds he painted, as his eyesight, in latter years, tragically degenerated, and his house, have been lovingly preserved and, even the souvenir shop, at the end of the garden trail is remarkably tasteful. Re-asuring really, because, Claude (reportedly not the easiest person to get along with), had retained that vital artistic grace, the most important ism to be mastered of all, Individualism.

johncoxon 12:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, February 17, 2003

Annually, some six million pilgrims hit the cobbled streets of the lovely little village of La Butte de Montmartre, traditionally a haunt of the Paris art fraternity, close by the beautiful, white-domed basilica of Sacré-Couer. On streets, once frequented by Renoir, Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, and Urillo, you'd hope to catch a glimpse of someone like this vieux gentilhomme I caught on camera last year, totally absorbed in painting and maybe even working to the 'art for art sake' philosophy. But of course, still having to eat, he might need to sell a painting or two, but he at least maintained a sense of dignity. Just around the corner from here is the Place du Tetre, an open square and long time home to a permanent market, exclusively for artists who draw and paint in public, competing for a living and now, it seems, very close to actually fighting for a living.

Those drawn to the square by some misguided romantic vision of the artist's life are in for a shock. They'll find the market so crowded with resident and itinerant artists and tourists alike, that anyone inspired to get their money out needs to take a deep breath to create the space to do it. The oil painters have the best pitches and their stalls take up the lion's share of the centre of the square. Art voyeurs shuffle in drones, anti-clockwise, obstructed by small groups that have paused to watch the roaming portrait sketchers or scissor-happy silhouette artists at work. Most of the cash, it seemed to me, goes in the pockets of those working on the fly.

The old dilemma for the artist, painting for survival, is graphically illustrated in this once deadlocked precinct. Here, from the evidence of my eyes, most have given in to economic necessity and abandoned any notion of individual self-expression. Real quality is to be found if you look hard enough, but most have sold out to a common palette and style book based on someone's idea of what the punters really want. Opting for stylised Mediterranean scenes and a range of uniformly kitschy hues, most paintings on display shout out like over-the-top face cosmetics.

All is not well in this overcrowded corner of the art world, and it seems that the principals of liberty, equality and especially fraternity had no part to play in thelocal scheme to free up the market. Whether through jealousy or exasperation, the fight for the tourist euro has recently got nasty with a strong hint of partisanship. The local prefecture has introduced a licensing system to reduce the chaos in the square and a team of police officers, some in plain clothes, spend their day harassing and fining itinerants artists, effectively driving them into the side streets. Just 280 licences were issued and the battle plan has the lucrative Place sectioned into two metre squares and a strict rotation system operates! The licence holders, of course, are laughing. They see the new bye law as liberation from the invaders, effectively pushing the majority of the itinerant artists (quite a few of whom, curiously are not French natives) off 'their' pitch.

Writing in 1953, art historian Alfred Werner spoke of the impact made on the art scene by one young, half-mad alcoholic of Montmartre, Maurice Utrillo. (Urillo, then in his seventies, died in 1955 but is still remembered, chiefly for his unique paintings of the Montmartre area) His unusual landscapes, back then, had the rare gift of delighting both the man in the street and astonishing art connoisseurs. Werner credits Urillo with having such an impact on other artists of his generation that many turned from the abstract movement back to recreating reality. Of course the likelihood of another Maurice having that sort of impact on Montmartre these days is remote, but were one to fly over this cuckoo's nest, alas they'd never get a licence.

johncoxon 7:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, February 16, 2003

This Valentine's day, while the 'red rose' growers laughed all the way to the bank, an industry that has no concern for hearts, although it has helped stubb out a very large number of them [and lungs], lost its right here to advertise tobacco. The end was marked, curiously, by the company that make Silk Cut cigarettes. They defiantly splashed out a couple of million in an eleventh-hour advertising campaign. That included a curtain call, featuring a buxom opera soprano who, frocked in the corporate livery of purple silk, rendered songs to a bemused public, including a few from Bizet's tobacco-factory lass, Carmen. Nice touch that.

On the political issues surrounding smoking, there are acres of well written column inches to look at. I have included a couple of links to articles here, just click on them (the words BBC, Observer,Guardian, Forest isolated between paragraphs on the left of this column). BBC writers, for example, can always be relied upon for entertaining, well written, authoritative reports. Check out Brian Wheeler's incisive piece on the end of fag ads (fag is slang for cigarette) which inevitably had to refer, a little unkindly perhaps, to the 'Fat lady sings ; so it must be over' line.

For a wry, sideways look at the social side of smoking, Oliver James, both a psychologist and journalist, writes a wonderfully readable, witty article in the Observer, under the wonderful title 'why I am still dying for a cigarette' which concludes that smokers are effectively just treating their own symptoms for anxiety, depression and so forth. For him, giving up successfully, means addressing the real reasons people are tobacco junkies. He also has a few words to say about his own irrational smoking habit and the effect on we smokers, who are increasingly, being demonised in a world that increasingly wants to be a smoking free zone.

Another on-line journalism favourite of mine, and like those already mentioned, a repository of such interesting things written in good English, isthe Guardian. Check out Tania Braningham's piece about the end of tobacco ads. The fat lady sings gets another mention, but there is also some thought provoking detail of the way in which the big tobacco companies have always found ways around the law to continue promoting tobacco. She augurs that, this latest ban will not put a stop to them. They'll just ferret out new ways to keep pushing nicotine on the streets, and increasingly, though never admitting to it, subtly targeting kids.

Now in the land of Hope and Glory, there are always two sides to an argument. Most decent people think, for example, that posh people on horses, terrorising foxes, and then having their hounds tear them to pieces is barbaric. But the country lobby, underpinned no doubt by wealthy, green-wellied, wax-coated land owners, have a completely different take. (Bit of another ironic link here; it is only fairly recently that medical research into the effects of smoking, had caged beagles chain smoking, and they are one of the breed of dogs that are favoured by fox hunters.) By the way, 'welly'is short for 'Wellington boot'; the Duke of Wellington, from whom the word 'Wellingtons' , hence 'wellies' was coined, is long since dead. They are calf length all rubber footwear for stomping in mud and puddles.

Now, in some circles, there is a middle-underclass with pretensions of grandeur, urbanites who leap, at weekends at least, into four-wheel drive vehicles, having donned the 'green welly', the statutory green waxed-coat, and maybe too, the tweed cap, to mimic the landed aristocracy they socially aspire to being i.e. those country folks, our not so noble gentry, who have little better to do than go out shooting and hunting our ever-diminishing wild life for kicks.

Charles and Camilla, those two aristocratic icons, endorse hunting. Harping back to the days when everywhere was royal land and hunting was the way nobility played. Common people, who poached the forest animals for food, paid for trespass sometimes with their lives. I wonder about 'our' Aristocracy; a great embarrassment. Even though they have no longer any direct power, they still exert a perverse influence on us all. The word is supposed to refer to a system of government by the best or most outstanding citizens and in former times these were the nobles from whom we get our class system.

It is curious that, throughout our history, very few nobles actually seem to deserve the name noble, and there are precious few of the current royal family or the legions of minor royals that I'd entrust with any serious power. How can people who live such privileged and relatively easy lives have any real understanding of the real world of their current 'subjects'? Charles, is inclined, perhaps unwisely, to sound forth from time to time, about a whole range of 'burning issues' that he is barely qualified to speak upon, but most of his selected audiences nod and clap politely.

Now plutocracy is the basis of class in the States as far as I can gather, and only wealth talks. You can relate to wealth that is actually worked for rather than inherited on a silver plate, as it often is over here. In America, like with our Country Hunting fans, there must be lobbies for things which to all reasonable folks are indefensible. Despite overwhelming evidence that reform of gun laws, for example, would be prudent, I bet there are a host of pro-gun lobbyists with lots of common sense reasoning why, for example, gang members should continue to be armed and dangerous. Equally, there is a pro-smoking lobby in the U.K. and they, of course have a web site.

For this pressure group, with very little else they can argue with, the issue of public restrictions on smoking is simply one of civil liberty. Check out the ideas of a group dedicated to maintaining inalienable right to kill themselves and poison anyone else in the vicinity! 'A haven for committed smokers who feel victimised by health fascists' is how they describe their site.

On a final note, I welcome the ban on advertising tobacco products, even though, as this tasteless picture of my ash tray shows, I am an addicted smoker. I am well aware that smoking is an irrational pursuit. Banning adverts won't have any effect on me, but it might reduce the uptake of smoking by young people. It always seemed farcical that these huge ads always included, by law, government health warnings flagging up the duality of the whole thing. Tobacco products in Britain are double the price they are in other European Union countries, because of very heavy taxation here. Hence our flourishing blackmarket in smuggled cigarettes through southern ports, but also a government, on the one hand, half-heartedly discouraging smoking on health grounds, but relying on the huge revenue it brings the treasury annually.

johncoxon 8:46 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

MORE HISTORY I have always found English 'coats of arms' beautiful things ever since, in primary school, I got to trace and colour the emblem of the county in which I lived.

I photographed the Salford 'Coat of Arms', from my long service citation, nipping outdoors, into the garden into natural light to avoid flash reflections on the picture glass. Salford's civic motto is 'Salus Populi Suprema Lex' (The welfare of the people is the highest law ) This heraldic emblem was actually designed in 1974, as a composite of the original armorial bearings of five local government authorities which merged during local boundary changes, to form modern Salford. Full details of all the symbolism can be found

http://www.salford.gov.uk/council/mayor/armorial.shtm or, more easily, checking my link, left bottom of this blog ,and clicking on 'Salford's Coat of Arms' link.

Briefly, the bees represent our five industrial communities, the golden shuttle is a symbol of the textile industry, so important to the city in former times. The ship represents how important sea trade once was to us, having, as we do, in the heart of Salford, courtesy of the man-made Manchester Ship Canal, a link to the open sea at Liverpool, which made Salford Quays the thriving inland Port for Manchester, until fairly recently. Those things, that look like black knots either side of the sailing ship, are mill-rinds, that is the iron centres of millstones which traditionally represent engineering. Note too the miner's pickaxes clenched in the lions' claws, a tribute to our now defunct but historically very important local coal mining industry.

Students of English must check out this page of Salford's web site because it gives a description of what are known as the 'armorial bearings'. Historically, 'coats of arms' were designs put on armour to identify allegiances. There is, nationaly. a dedicated 'College of Arms', part of the Royal Household, where these badges are both designed, assigned, accredited and recorded . They use a very specialised descriptive language, which is fascinating and totally esoteric. Look again at the red 'Griffin' with the flag on top of the helmet to you and me; in 'heraldic' language this translates as :-.
'the Crest on a Wreath of Colours a demi Griffin Gules gorged with a Collar of Steel proper supporting a Staff Or flying there from a forked Pennon Argent charged with three Boars' Heads erased and erect in Fess Sable langued Gules'.

BLAZONING is the heraldic term for describing a coat of arms, and reading the above you have been blazoned.
There are clear, illustrated explanations of heraldic language at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/your_history/family/heraldry_5.shtml, again click on my left column links for immediate access.

The College of ArmsTo find out more about the origins of these traditional emblems go to ( http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/ ) ( See my link, left.) The College is the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants. The officers of the College( known as heralds) specialize in genealogical and heraldic work for their respective clients. Coats of arms have been, and still are, granted by what are called 'Letters Patent' from the senior heralds, the Kings of Arms. 'A right to arms can only be established by the registration in the official records of the College of Arms of a pedigree showing direct male line descent from an ancestor already appearing therein as entitled to arms, or by making application through the College of Arms for a grant of arms.' Grants are made to corporations as well as to individuals. A great American site which clearly explains and illustrates, with great examples, the language of heraldry can be found athttp://www.obcgs.com/heraldry.htm and a link is on the left for that too.

Some Americans have a lust to discover their roots and are perhaps a tad envious of centuries of British/English history if they have family links to the Old World . These beautiful badges go back as far as the second century and yet, if you look hard enough, one of them may almost definitely, be a part of your past were you related , way back to a settler with English origins!

johncoxon 3:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

SALFORD : PRIDE OF PLACE All my teaching career I have worked in City of Salford special schools, and only two years ago did I actually become a Salford resident. Last year I was honoured to receive a 25 year's service citation from the City, a lovely gift and also this gold plated pin badge, which I wear with pride.

My city, as well as its comprehensive, informative municipal website, has a separate, though equally impressive, well-illustrated website for its museums. It is well worth looking at, if only for the pages relating to Lark Hill Place, of interest especially for those who want a real flavour of our social history!

Lark Hill Place is a beautifully executed reconstruction of a Victorian Street actually inside the City museum. Even though it is in quite a small area, it gives a real sense of 'stepping back' into the past; behind the facades of a wide range of businesses and homes, typical of a Victorian English town, the windows are crammed with well-chosen, carefully exhibited authentic artefacts. This web site link will give you the fine detail.

Salford Museum, Larkhill Place Shops
The actual street has been given a cobbled finish and furnished with a real coach, a penny-farthing bicycle, an original,ornate, cast-iron Victorian post box, as well as , even, 'knocker-upper' cane. (People were fined for being late to the factory in earlier times and, thus, paid someone to wake them up in the early hours by tapping on their windows with a long bamboo cane with a metal tip) You also see authentic hanging shop signs, essentially visible as you walked down a street, ( from the days when a lot of people were illiterate and needed graphic-based signs to navigate/locate the stores they wanted ) and, if you look closely on the walls you will even see a couple of insurance company fire plaques. Richer people paid for fire insurance in the early days and the company attached its emblem to their wall. If you didn't have one, their exclusive fire service , rode past and let you burn, or so I heard! Few homes or shops are ever furnished at one single date and remain the same over a long period. So , in 'Lark Hill Place' the premises contain many items of an earlier date than the one they represent.

The street's ambiance is set for early evening and dusk is illuminated by authentic gas light street lamps ; you can forgive the modern concession to safety issues where these original gas-fired lamp posts are actually lit now with discrete electric bulbs. Recorded noises of children playing and other sounds help generate real atmosphere.

After the war, Salford had a big problem with sub-standard homes and that required radical demolition programmes and a extensive re-building . Salford museum had the foresight, ten years later in the mid-fifties, to salvage key architectural items and related 'memorabilia ; the result is this hidden gem. For most of the exhibits, you gaze at them through their shop windows, but at the 'Blue Lion' corner pub (typical of the time) you can actually walk into it and lean on the tiny bar. See it in my photo illustraion here. My personal favourite exhibit is the Matthew Tomlinson General Store. It is a sumptuous time capsule, brimming with an incredible range of goods, and many of the items 'for sale' bear brand names that are still familiar to us today, but the original packaging invites nostalgic reverence.

Whilst there is a traditional chemist, a favourite 'alternative' medicine store nearby is 'Mrs. Driver: Bleeder with Leeches.' Amelia Driver, a Salford local, retired from her calling in 1912 and this exhibit is a reminder of the time when applying the revolting blood-sucking leech was a respected medical treatment. Outside is the traditional 'barber's' pole , a cylinder decorated with twists of red and white, originally symbolising blood and bandages, attesting to a time when the person who cut your hair was also free to perform minor surgery!

The attention to detail here brings great credit to those who created it and maintain it and it is always a joy to visit .

Salford is a bit of a curate's egg in some ways. Great and yet not-so-great in places . There has been significant investment and regeneration recently but yet there is still an unhappy blend of affluence and disadvantage to work upon. Any inner city local government has to try to address a whole platform of difficult issues. This one has a range of very difficult social, economic and health problems to try to manage and overcome. But I think the elected councillors and their white-collar administration workers do a great job, and sadly, I get the idea that they rarely have their efforts and achievements acknowledged. I am very proud of them.

johncoxon 12:08 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

john/Male/51-55. Lives in United Kingdom/Engalnd/Salford, speaks English and French. Eye color is brown. I am what my mother calls unique. I am also creative. My interests are photgraphy/local history.
This is my blogchalk:
United Kingdom, Engalnd, Salford, English, French, john, Male, 51-55, photgraphy, local history.