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Biggest Manchester public art since B of the Bang?

Sleuth finds Castlefield filled with something strange in scaffolding

Published on October 15th 2010.


Biggest Manchester public art since B of the Bang?

Sleuth was strolling Castlefield this week, when he saw a mighty construction of scaffolding on a barge. It was moored opposite Merchant’s Warehouse on the Bridgewater Canal.

Wow thought Sleuth at last, a mere two and half years since the Castlefield Forum asked for the dirty bridge to be cleaned, that day had arrived. Well done a prompt Peel Holdings

Sleuth was excited. He loved 'B of the Bang' when it graced East Manchester. The following morning he returned and found the ‘sculpture’ moved to Merchants Bridge further down the canal.

“What is this sculpture you bring to my fine city?” asked Sleuth.

“This is a quixotic, cleaning device, the like of which the legendary Heath Robinson would have been proud,” came the reply, or something like that. "It was either this or pay £18k for a crane and we thought that a little much, so a team of Peel Holding engineers came up with this."

Wow thought Sleuth at last, a mere two and half years since the Castlefield Forum asked for the dirty bridge to be cleaned, that day had arrived.

A mere eighteen months since Peel Holdings assured Sir Howard Bernstein in a large Town Hall meeting that the bridge would be spotless within six weeks, here was the day. Or rather it will be on Monday.

Well done a prompt Peel Holdings.

Still better late than never. And another success for the campaign by the Castlefield Forum of residents and small businesses, with support from Manchester Confidential, to turn around this magnificent area of the city centre.

And on reflection while big public art can be very good, it can also be terrible as witnessed by that cheap sports inspired waste of metal close to the Reebok Stadium in Bolton. Not everything turns out to be as striking as the ill-fated B of the Bang.

By the way Merchant's Bridge was erected in 1996 by Whitby Bird and Partners with an elegant graceful sweep that works well with the other bridges in the area.

Sleuth once saw a naked man and woman leap off the bridge for a swim in the clear azure waters (shurely schome mishtake, Ed) of the Bridgewater Canal. He can't remember whether they ever re-surfaced. Despite the fish and returning wildlife, swimming in the canal waters is not the most savoury of habits. Eleven years ago Sleuth got some German girls on a guided tour to jump up and down on the bridge to make it bounce, while they sang Oasis' 'Wonderwall'. He can't remember why he asked them to do it, but they may have been music students.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Eddy RheadOctober 15th 2010.

Why arent Peel paying for this? .......oh wait.................erm.......

DescartesOctober 15th 2010.

Am I missing something, why didn't they just use a pressure washer or something?

Like I clean my car with at the petrol station, all it'd need is a long hose.

JackOctober 18th 2010.

talking of cheap sports inspired waste of metal - who thought the new 'sculptures' on First Street outside the temporary town hall was a good idea.

cleaningfreakinpropertyOctober 18th 2010.

Must be a clean theme going on?

The Old HSBC (King Street soon to be Jamie O's) is also having a big clean up on the exterior.Two Penthouses at the top, Cant wait to see those, 3 floors of office space and Jamies Restaurant at the bottom. They will both gleam bright in the winter sun.A lot to be said for the cleanliness of buildings, structures and the streets, more please.

AnonymousOctober 19th 2010.

Anyone have more details on the King St penthouses? ie. who is developing/marketing them?

Ali McGowanOctober 26th 2010.

After many months of waiting, I am very pleased to see this bridge is now being cleaned. It's a great asset to the area and I hope Peel will now keep it in better condition. Thanks to them for getting it done and please, Peel, will you try and keep it more sparkly now? Keeping it in good nick can only do wonders for the area (and land values there, too). Thanks, Ali.

Cllr Marc RamsbottomNovember 2nd 2010.

I'm delighted that Peel have finally sorted this. Well done to the Castefield Residents Forum for their persistence in getting this sorted. Thanks to the Residents working with local councillors some real changes to improve the environment in Castlefield are finally taking shape - this bridge cleaning; the wrapping of the derelict Potato Wharf building, repairs to light, new planting in the Castlefield gardens and more shows what a difference local action can mean.

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