The Mancunian Way

The Mancunian Way

The ‘Highway in the Sky’ opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1967 dissects an area south of the City Centre. I don’t think I ever drove on this elevated section known as ‘The Mancunian Way’ but I must’ve walked under it about a thousand times. It cut a swathe over studentland, passing from the edges of Hulme and Salford and over what used to be Gaythorne Gasworks and Barry White’s Medlock Fine Art building. I followed its course to go there to arrange Teenage Kicks astroturf matches against Dave Waldron’s gifted but wayward Fine Art XI. Buried somewhere in the middle of that was a river called the Medlock on whose crumbling and dangerous banks I exercised my newly-acquired Pentax K-1000 in 1982. The area was called Chorlton-on-Medlock, not to be confused with my own cum-Hardy stamping-ground. At this point the motorway whizzed over Oxford Road descending round the back of The Lass of Gowrie and the BBC somewhere in the vicinity of UMIST. It was Manchester’s answer to The Westway but instead of The Clash there were a bunch of particularly aggressive Irish homeless people whose hostile exchanges with the mohicans coming out of the Mandela Building were always worth watching, a car-park and some football cages. Most bizarrely, I recall an unfinished ‘road to nowhere’ sliproad which peeled dramatically off and stopped suddenly in mid-air. It summed it all up really.

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