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SLEUTH: Network Rail Shuts Whim Wham | £1m Law Library On Rightmove? | Kro Bar Woe | Victoria Beckham Is A Robot

Week 48: law, life, kros, lows, chains and false teeth

Written by . Published on November 21st 2014.


SLEUTH: Network Rail Shuts Whim Wham | £1m Law Library On Rightmove? | Kro Bar Woe | Victoria Beckham Is A Robot
 

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth

NORTHERN HUB CLOSES WHIM WHAM CAFE 

Whim Wham Cafe on Whitworth Street West has closed.

The railway arch which the family-run business has occupied since 2012 will be subject to an eviction notice over the course of the next year due to Network Rail's £600m Northern Hub development project - with work due to start in 2016 and end in 2019. The city-wide plans will see two new platforms added to Piccadilly Station and Whim Wham swallowed by the widening of the railway viaduct and the lengthening of platforms at Oxford Road station on Whitworth Street West.

This is sad news for a family-run business, Whim Wham told Sleuth: "As an independent family business, still in its infancy our position is too fragile and the business is not strong enough to hold on whilst further details of eviction come to light."

Sleuth wonders what this means for the remaining businesses on the street. What about Gorilla? Dog Bowl? And what of the third generation family-run Harry Halls cycles? 

Whim WhamWhim Wham

Northern Hub plans for Whitworth Street WestNorthern Hub plans for Whitworth Street West

KRO BAR WOE

Piccadilly Garden's Kro bar closed this week after a decade (leaving only two of five left, in Heaton Moor and at the University), sad news as 40 people lost their jobs. Apparently the new landlord Legal & General jumped the rent significantly. Sleuth worries this is becoming a pattern in his columns, only last week Sleuth reported on the possible closing of Aumbry restaurant in Prestwich - their landlord also decided to hike the rent as the lease drew to a close. It's not all doom and gloom though, Legal & General have already announced that they have two major national chains lined up for the prime spot. Just what Piccadilly Gardens needs, thinks Sleuth. If we're lucky we may get a Pret, oh no wait there's already one there. Well how about a Pizza Expre... Cafe Ner... Bella Ital... Starbuc... Nando... Burger Ki... Zizz... Subwa... Hmm.

Kro Piccadilly GardensKro on Piccadilly Gardens (left unit)

LAW LIBRARY NOW A £1M THREE-BED TOWNHOUSE

Sleuth is upset. It's a crying shame that the 1885 Law Library on Kennedy Street is to be sold off. The building by Thomas Hartas is a stonkingly delightful Victorian Venetian Gothic building. It's on Rightmove for a million quid and described weirdly as a three bedroom townhouse. If a townhouse has a first floor crammed full with original book shelves then maybe. On the the plus side at least the facade will be retained to remind us what was there. The sale underlines the changed nature of the legal profession, fees down, competition hitting the pocket hard. Of course there's still a lot of money to be made in law, so Sleuth wonders whether one of the legal fraternity might be tempted to pay that million and live there. He or she wouldn't have to think too hard about where to put their legal tomes after all.

Law Library

Law LibraryLaw Library/Townhouse on Kennedy Street

YOU CAN RING MY BELL - TOWN HALL TOWER TOURS RETURN

Sleuth loves getting high. So he's pleased that the Town Hall Tower tours are re-starting this Saturday from the good people at Manchester Guided Tours. The tours spiral up 85 metres via the ridiculously charming clock mechanism and then out onto the balcony over the Town Hall clocks for a stupendous view. Best of all is standing next to the huge Great Abel hour bell as it strikes. The noise reconfigures your insides and blows your mind. It's therapeutic and shocking at the same time. Up high, Sleuth reckons, you get the best legal high in the city. Tours this Saturday are at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. Book here. 

Get up itGet up it

This 8 ton bell is a legal high

This 8 ton bell is a legal high

GRAPHENE TEETH

Graphene - the world's new 'miracle material' - discovered in 2004 by two University of Manchester professors in the lab with a block of graphite and some sticky tape. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, a 1,000 times thinner than paper and able to carry electricity at one million metres per second. Terabit uploads in one second, mobiles charged in five seconds, drinkable seawater, cities on the moon and... new false teeth for Nan. Yes, graphene company 2-DTech (in which the University of Manchester has a 15% stake) is in the process of developing much improved hi-tech false teeth. Sleuth reckons graphene's most mundane applications may prove to reap the most benefits. Now, if only they could sort Sleuth a hi-tech prophylactic. Actual scientists in Manchester are actually working on this now, you say? Fantastic. Readers can study this in more depth here, in this article, charmingly titled, Better condoms through nanotechnology.

Graphene has many uses

Graphene can prevent an outbreak of babies

VICTORIA BECKHAM IS A ROBOT

Sleuth’s colleague, L’Oréal Blackett, pelted it down to Selfridges Exchange Square on Wednesday after receiving tip-off Victoria Beckham would be making an appearance in store. As is the way with these celebrity 'appearances', the celebs are only really obliged to do just that; turn up and appear. Victoria Beckham’s own arrival was a thing of real wonder for L’Oréal, who had been pondering when was the last time she had seen Mrs Beckham expose teeth in the public eye (an estimated guess would be pre Loos-gate 2004). It would be a lesson in two things: posing and walking with posing. L’Oréal watched as VB manoeuvred between her pre-programmed moves: left leg out front, hand on thigh, posh pout and absolutely no smiling. “Did you get to speak to her?” asked a gushing throng of the female members of the office. “Sort of,” replied L’Oréal. “She stopped so I could take a picture and I said, 'Oh shit’.”

'Now Miss B, pull the other one, that's the same one...''Now Mrs B, pull the other one, no that's the same one...'

HOTEL FINE? HOW ABOUT FINING HOTELS?

Sleuth sniggered this week when he read about the pissed off Blackpool hotel operators who fined a couple £100 from their credit card for leaving a bad Trip Advisor review. It read “DIRTY ROTTEN STINKING HOVEL”. Curt. The hotel have since promised to refund the money. But this got Sleuth thinking, if hotels are able to fine guests for poor form, does it work the other way around? Because Sleuth would love nothing more than to slap a fine on Hale-based Britannia Hotels, recently voted the UK's worst hotel provider (for the second year running), for their despicable treatment of Manchester’s century-old London Road Fire Station – read here.

London Road Fire StationLondon Road Fire Station

SLEUTH'S MOST CRINGEWORTHY PLACE TO HAVE A MEETING IN MCR

The Premier Inn on Lower Mosley Street...

Afterwards why not pop up to Hilton's Cloud 23 bar for some blue sky thinking...

Touchbase Meeting RoomsTouchbase Meeting Rooms

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

LETSDOSOMETHINGNovember 21st 2014.

At the risk of being shot down.. Whim Wham should try and find another of the many empty units around Manchester to capitalise on their success.. BUT I do think Northern Rail should offer help/financial assistance to enable a move.. local business like this should be supported to survive... Manchester was founded on independent local businesses.. let's keep that tradition alive!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 23rd 2014.

Network Rail will not have even talked to the business being given notice to quit, they will have just received a letter from NR solicitors giving them six months to get out . If they have had their lease less than five years they will receive 1x the rateable value of the property approx. £5000-£6000.

AnonymousNovember 23rd 2014.

Sorry correction , if they have had their lease more than five years it's x1 , if its less than five years it's nothing .

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

From the "artist's" picture of the train station, it looks to me like Dog Bowl and Gorilla will be outside of where the train station entrance will be, so they should be safe. I hope so anyway. It's a shame Whim Wham has to close, although I've never been there personally. I'm sure the new train station will encourage more bars/restaurants to pop up around there.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Actually, looking at the full-size picture, it looks like Dog Bowl will be going too.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Shame about Kro as well. Decent place for a day-time drink or meeting point for someone coming in via train.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

We went to the resident consultations for First Street and Oxford Road, it's always been in the plan that the arches after the bridge (Whim Wham, Harry Hall etc...) were to be made much less scruffy. Shame if the businesses have to go and are replaced by some insipid chain.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Tell the Whim Wham folks not to be down hearted as they should not be selfish and think about themselves. Instead they should look at the bigger picture. As ManCon posters often say about rail topics, it's about capacity.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Condom

David SmithNovember 21st 2014.

Shame about Whim Wham. Highly recommend a tour of the tower though.

Alex24November 21st 2014.

The new Northern Hub plans look very impressive. If First Street is really looking to attract a mix of independents and chains, it's a shame they can't offer attractive rates for Whim Wham.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

That's a real shame about Kro. Good place for a pint amongst amongst the likes of The Piccadilly and the Wetherspoons. Always seemed busy, too. I find it hard to believe that a chain place would attract more customers than Kro that would enable them to cover the higher rent. I suppose being part of a chain covers that. Sucks to be an independent in the city centre.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

If Gorilla goes I will cry.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

I have been told the Kro site will be a branch of Ask and a Byrons

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

I heard a branch of This & That.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Are you the same person that constantly makes this joke? In your head, is it still funny?

rinkydinkNovember 22nd 2014.

There's always the other shite 'jokester' that wonders if it'll be another 'YAFI', which pisses me off

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

@Rinkydink Life must be tough for you.

David SmithNovember 24th 2014.

And the other one that doesn't know the difference between a quarter and a 1/4.

rinkydinkNovember 26th 2014.

I think it might be the same dimwit!

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Did the new landlord hike the rent (which they legally can't!) or are Kro in administration? Cant let the truth get in the way of a 'nasty landlord' rant.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Why can't they increase the rent if the lease has expired?

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Also, another article commented that Kro Piccadilly was their most profitable. Both Kro Oxford Road and the other one are staying open.

grangeNovember 21st 2014.

Kro Heaton moor is usually busy , I liked to meet friends at Kro picadilly. Shame

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

Landlords can't just 'hike the rent'. If you don't contract out to keep security of tenure when you sign the lease then you are entitled to remain as a tenant when the lease ends. if you cant agree rent then you can go to court and they will set it based on evidence of equivalent market tent given by experts for the landlord and tenant. The idea of a nasty landlord hiking up rents to put a successful tenant out of business is absolute fantasy.

rinkydinkNovember 21st 2014.

I'm quite glad Kro has gone from an aesthetics point of view. It's looked a mess for a few years now, hopefully the new operator will be of a better standard. That location desperately needs a bar that looks smart. Kro was not that bar

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

Kro needed a huge facelift. It looked grimy almost from the off. The operators (for whom I've worked) have little interest in delivering a quality product and were simply about the next buck. This place closing is no great loss.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

The RSPB are concerned about the decline in the population of kro's in Manchester

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

It was always tidy Rinky apart from the cieling which was down to the leaking roof

2 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkNovember 22nd 2014.

Nah, if you looked a bit closer outside was always a mess because the borders were all broken and flapped about in the wind. And they used crappy dog bowls as ash trays... Inside always looked like it needed a good deep clean, the fixed seating and the large sofas had seen better days, it needed a repaint and the toilets were grubby. The food was shite. I really think the landlord has done this on purpose to get a better operator in, to lift the tone somewhat. The way that it looked didn't help the general appearance of the gardens. As I work in that area and see it every day, I hope I'm right. A good Living Ventures venue would be perfect

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

The food was pretty good in my experience. The Danish rack of ribs was nice, and £9.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

I had a tip off Spud u like are opening their first Mega Spud branch in Europe

AnonymousNovember 21st 2014.

Rubbish they are planning the first Ask Byron ever. Burgers seved between 2 mini pizzas freshly baked and with both cheese sides facing the succulent beef patty. Piccadilly Trash fries will be a side option.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

Is the Kro site likely to become Yet Another Fucking Italian YAFI? Wasn't going to ask but that Rinky Dick fellow suggested it might not be and I always enjoy asking the question?

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2014.

To be honest I'm more upset about the loss of the Law Library than by the food operators though I wish the both of them the best of luck. The law library is the oldest outside of the capital and is another of our library gems.

AnonymousNovember 24th 2014.

Which organisation actually owns the law library?

AnonymousNovember 28th 2014.

The proposals for the Oxford Road extension have been longer on the table that Whim Wham have been there. There will be commercial space available once works are complete so why not return bigger and better. Surly they can negotiate on the rent and be offered first dibbs deal on the renovated arches.

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