Saturday, January 31, 2009
A Final Alternative Chinese New Year Posting - Manchester
After trying to find Chinese New Year in Limehouse and failing totally, I strolled into the Chinese New Year celebrations in Manchester's Chinatown. I have to admit to not knowing Manchester well, which is embarrassing as it is England's second city and I really should have visited it more often. Anyway, remedied that somewhat by strolling around the last few days. Manchester is perhaps one of the best spots to see classic Victorian architecture. Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast, Newcastle and Leeds all have plenty of Victoriana but Manchester I reckon has more.
Anyway, Manchester's Chinatown is close to Albert Square and the city's glorious Town Hall. This year the Town Hall is decked in Chinese lanterns and planning a big celebration this Sunday on February 1st. Just round the back Chinatown is also decorated and celebrating and looks very nice.
Incidentally, not sure whether or not anyone will draw on the experiences of Prime Minister William Gladstone who's statue stands in Albert Square right in front of the Town Hall and will be surrounded by celebrants welcoming the Ox this Sunday. Gladstone was not a fan of the opium trade - declaring opium the ‘pernicious article’ in 1840.
Gladstone perhaps had good reason to hate opium as his sister was an addict. However, beyond that, as Anne Isba says in her book Gladstone and Women, '...opium was a milestone in his (Gladstone's) political growth: a defining moment in the making of him as a liberal.'