During our ‘curry walks’ into Manchester, JJ, Rick, Alan and I hatched a plan to walk around the museum, as opposed to walking into town. A date was finally arranged but sadly JJ had to withdraw at the last minute, leaving the three of us to enjoy this educational outing.
Starting with the cafeteria, we moved smoothly into the Air and Space Hall, where the vehicle pictured above, a 1929 Crossley Shelsley, caught my eye. The vehicle was named after the Shelsley Walsh hill climb, that Crossley vehicles first entered in 1910, and won in 1912. The car cost £495, the price at that time of a large semi-detached house.
The hill climb is still thriving, as recently evidenced.
The star exhibit in this hall is the English Electric PIA experimental jet plane. I’ve described this on a previous visit.
The triplane pictured below is a mock up constructed by apprentices, of an extinct model.
Crossley is a local company. Although they didn’t produce many cars, and readers may only be familiar with the name in connection with the commercial vehicles on which they concentrated after 1938, Crossley did make this 1935 Crossley Regis 6. It looks a bit like a Riley to me. It cost £365. The cheaper Ford cars were then retailing for around £100. The Vulcan like aircraft behind it is a one third size version that was used for testing purposes.
YAK tried to emulate Land Rover. Without success. The ‘Electric Blue’ milk float was specially commissioned by Benny Hill* after his horse died. It reached speeds of around 60 mph!
Lots of locomotives were used on private colliery lines. Agecroft features here.
Local companies like Mather + Platt and Ferranti feature in the museum, as expected, as well as national organisations.
The Beattie Well Tank engine, built in Manchester, was in service on the London and South Western railway between 1874 and 1962. It has returned to the museum for three weeks before continuing its tour. It remains in full working order.
Next to the real thing is this replica of Stevenson’s Planet engine.
This loco is definitely not in working order, but is available for hordes of schoolchildren to inspect its cut away innards.
We went to the old station building. Apparently the ticket office was across the road from the station, whence travellers would cross to this greetings hall, where porters would assist with luggage, and any queries would be resolved and information provided.
Before I came to Manchester the old London Road station was replaced with this magnificent edifice.
My first memories of Manchester are by way of my arrival here, at Exchange Station, in 1966 or 1967, from where I made my way to stay at the YMCA in Peter Street, before being ‘interviewed’ at UMIST.
So that’s just a selected overview of our visit, which could have generated hundreds of images had we been so inclined. We spent a fair amount of time in the Great Western Warehouse looking at the textile and other exhibits, and eventually we braved the drizzle and enjoyed lunch at Don Marco’s, where the previous posting was by way of a demonstration to AlanR as to how easy it is to make a ‘mobile’ posting simply by sending a quickly composed email to ‘Blogger’.
We shouldn’t leave it so long until our next visit – there’s far too much for old timers like us to take in at one go!
* Playing this track seems to have greatly excited the family of swifts who live just near the speakers. I hope they enjoyed it!