This is the provisional list of tours are now live on sale with eventbrite. There could be some additions by the end of the year. Please check on our website calendar as others will have been added. We will try to keep this up-to-date but it’s mostly a taster.
2019 (Year of Peterloo)
• Wed 16 Jan Manchester’s Most Beautiful Buildings
Meet Central Library, St Peter’s Square, 11.30am.
Marvel at the architectural glories of Chepstow House, the Castlefield Free Library, the intricate designs on the Free Trade Hall, the perfect Golden Ratio proportions of the Friends’ Meeting House and the Gothic grandeur of the Town Hall. Just some of Manchester’s most beautiful buildings.
• Thu 17 Jan The Hidden Gems of Manchester
Meet Art Gallery, Mosley Street, 10.30am.
This is the remarkable tour of city sights and sites you always wanted to see but maybe never managed to. We go to as many of the following that we can manage: the interior of the Freemasons Hall, designed like the Baths of Caracalla in Rome), the Portico Library, a plush suite at the Radisson (maybe the very one Gordon Brown stayed in!), the Hidden Gem church (of course) and the marble bank vaults on King Street.
• Thu 17 Jan Spooky Manchester – Dead Gruesome, Dead Good
Meet Victoria Station wallmap, 5.30pm.
Fancy being buried alive? Fancy waking up in your own coffin? Maybe if you do it might be at your own funeral, if you’re lucky, like John Beswick. But don’t worry; there are some nicer stories, involving cholera, headless corpses, bodysnatching and hangings as we contemplate the heads of those executed for treason staring down at us at the old market Place.
• Fri 18 Jan Manchester’s Formidable Women
Meet Midland Hotel, Peter Street, 5.30pm.
Elizabeth Gaskell, who wrote Mary Barton, one of the classic “condition of England” novels in 1848 under a male pseudonym. Interesting; Hannah Mitchell, who challenged Churchill at St John’s School during the Suffragette era; Annie Horniman, who established Britain’s first repertory theatre company in Manchester; Shelagh Delaney, who pioneered modernist theatre with her groundbreaking A Taste of Honey; Ellen Wilkinson (“Red Ellen”), who accompanied the Jarrow marchers to London; Kathleen Ollerenshaw, who overcame deafness to become Lord Mayor, a leading educationalist, mathematician and advisor to Margaret Thatcher (now what sort of job is that for a Mancunian?!).
Not forgetting Sylvia Pankhurst, Britain’s greatest political campaigner.
• Sat 19 Jan The Peterloo Massacre The Countdown to Peterloo 200.
Meet Central Library, 12 noon.
You’ve seen the film, you’ve examined the plans for the memorial, now walk the walk with Ed Glinert who has made a detailed study of one of the defining events and the most dramatic day in English political history, a cornerstone on the road to democracy. Glinert used to work with Paul Foot at Private Eye and has worked with Mike Leigh, director of the Peterloo film.
• Sat 19 Jan Manchester Music: The Hacienda Years
Meet HOME Arts Centre, 2.30pm.
Forget Memphis and Merseybeat, Manchester is music city, a venue to rank alongside New Orleans or Notting Hill, a factory of superior song-making and stirring soundscapes courtesy of Joy Division, the Fall, New Order, Buzzcocks, Happy Mondays, John Cooper Clarke, the Stone Roses, 808 State and, of course, the Smiths, all spinning around the legend of the Hacienda, the world’s hippest nightclub, chicer than the Copacabana, sexier than Studio 54, cooler than the Cavern or Cream.
• Sun 20 Jan Alan Turing Tortured Genius of the Computer Age
Meet Manchester Museum reception, 11.30am.
He broke the Nazis’ Enigma code, almost invented the computer, and was persecuted to a painful suicide by the ungrateful authorities.
PROVISIONAL • Sun 20 Jan Midland Hotel – The Rolls Royce of Tours (and Tea)
Meet Midland Hotel, Peter Street, 2.30pm.
Wed 23 Homes of the Rich & Famous
Meet Holy Name Church, Oxford Road, 12 noon.
See where the movers and shakers of Manchester history lived, dined, slept and relaxed on this new tour around the glorious tree-lined vistas of Victoria Park. Marvel at the glorious gables, delightful dormers, beatific brick-work, sumptuous suburban specialities. Hear the heart-warming stories, tales of the expected and unexpected. Wonder at whether you can afford the rent to follow in their footsteps.
Featured within: Mrs Pankhurst; L. S. Lowry; the perfumier who survived the Titanic; the highest-earning comedian of the 1940s; Ford Madox Brown, who painted the Town Hall Murals; Charles Halle; and Elizabeth Gaskell, as we finish at the recently re-opened Elizabeth Gaskell House.
• Wed 23 Jan Angel Meadow Victorian Hell-Hole
Meet Victoria Station wallmap, 5.30pm. Journalist Angus Bethune Reach called Angel Meadow: “the lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy, and most wicked locality in Manchester…full of cellars and inhabited by prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, cadgers, vagrants and tramps.” Nice!
• Thu 24 John Rylands Library And…
Meet St Ann’s Church, 2pm.
More than a tour of one of the world’s greatest libraries, this is a trip through the commercial (a brief look at the Royal Exchange) and religious (a brief look at St Ann’s Church) history of Manchester, linked with the 19th century’s most successful cotton merchant. And why was Rylands built in the city’s main slum area.
• Thu 24 The Secret History of Manchester
Meet Visitor Centre, Piccadilly Gardens, 5.30pm.
You think you know Manchester? Well, no one knows it like Ed Glinert, who has spent 40 years unturning every last (Gothic) stone in the city, uncovering layer upon layer of other histories, lesser-known stories, the secret side of the city to create the ultimate “believe it or not”.
• Fri 25 Jan The Great Art Treasures of Manchester
Meet St Ann’s Church, 2.30pm.
Is the painting The Descent From the Cross in St Ann’s Church the real one by Annibale Carracci or a copy? But what a great story to relate as we examine this fascinating work. We will also examine the most astonishing “Stations of the Cross” you will ever see and get a little more secular at the Art Gallery at the Pre-Raphaelites and Lowrys. Ed Glinert casts his gimlet eye over the brushstrokes.
• Sat 26 The History of the Northern Quarter
Meet Queen Victoria Statue, Piccadilly Gardens, 11.30am.
Boho Manchester, cool Manchester, modish Manchester, funky but chic Manchester. It’s the Northern Quarter. A land of crumbling cotton factories, sky-scraping fire-escapes, Bohemian bars, downhome hidden spaces, cult markets, chic galleries and cardamom-scented, sizzingly-cheap curry cafes; a style haven shaped in marble, steel and beechwood, with streets named in Mediterranean tiles and pavements slabbed in mosaic.
• Sat 26 Ancoats: From Irish Town to Little Italy
Meet Band on the Wall, Swan Street, 2.30pm.
We explore the backstreets and forgotten corners of the world’s first industrial community, converted from market gardens and fields with frightening ferocity into a land of mills blackened with soot at the end of the 18th century, colonised by Italians fleeing il Risorgimento to bring ice cream to the begrimed city in the 19th century, abandoned by the council with forcible depopulating in the 20th century, and now being imaginatively revived as essential 21st century Manchester.
• Tue 29 Mediaeval Manchester
Meet Shudehill Metrolink stop, 11am.
We step back through the centuries into a land of timber-framed houses, 14th century pubs, the threat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army gathering by the ford of the Mersey, a Manchester of ale-tasters, kersie makers and groat-smashers settlnig around the unspoilt Tudor cloisters of Chetham’s, the most formidable 15th century building in the north of England.
We also go in search for remnants of the Old Town. Even when we find them, things aren’t always what they seem. That 1530 pub by the Cathedral, it seems to have moved…
• Thu 31 Brady, Hindley, Shipman, the Ripper, the Hangman & the Unmentionable One
Meet Central Library, St Peter’s Sq, 5.30pm.
!BAD TOUR! AS DENOUNCED IN THE SUN & THE OLDHAM TIMES
This is a journey into an immoral maze, a moral abyss, a trip around the dark underbelly of Manchester to hear barely believable stories of public hangings, serial killers, headless bodies, sadism, fascism, nuclear destruction, wartime horror, riot, rebellion unrest and some really nasty things, courtesy of the bad, the badder and the ugly: Jimmy Savile, Lord Haw-Haw, Harold Shipman, Oswald Mosley, the murderers of Peterloo, the Moors Murderers, the Yorkshire Ripper, Jack the Ripper – and some really evil types.
* Stop press. For reasons that escape the organisers there has been some criticism from people who think we shouldn’t mention any of this. Yes, it was the failure to speak out and condemn that kept these crimes brewing. We say: expose, elucidate, educate.