manchester modernist society

Well I Never…???

In uncategorized on May 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Interesting snippets for your delight….

  • the Renold Building and the Barnes Wallis Building originally faced each other across a bowling green and for a long time the Renold’s Rock Bar/café was named the Bowling Green in its honour. Disappointingly it is now a landscaped garden….
  • Manchester Moon Dust – lunar soil gathered from the Sea Of Tranqullity by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo landing in 1969 made its way to several universities worldwide for study via NASA,  including Manchester and UMIST. The UK received 16 samples, a portion of which came to Manchester via Jack Zussman, Chair of Geology, and John Geake at UMIST physics dept who collaborated with scientists in Hull and Paris on 20g of fine dust to determine the surface properties and radiation history of the moon.

** a little of this moon dust also went to the Museum for display in the ‘public interest’ – and it proved to be one of its most successful exhibitions to date – over 5 days more than 24,000 visitors queued down the street to view what many reported to the Manchester Evening News looked just like cigarette ash!

  • UMIST students were a distinct group with their own ways and traditions – think Neil out of The Young Ones – and most nights out revolved around the Barnes Wallis Students Union. However there was always the nearby Swinging Sporran (now the Retro Bar) for after hours drinking, rocking out and talking physics. Originally a bikers/rock pub and club, UMIST science bods would go there to swing their long hair and flairs to concept albums by the likes of YES and Genesis… Later on it spawned a new generation of techno and house nights, including early sets by the Dust Brothers before they conquered the world as The Chemical Brothers.
  • Another prominent feature of the student calendar was the Bogle Stroll, a 55-mile long sponsored walk for charity held annually during Rag Week. Thousands of students left Manchester Rag headquarters at UMIST campus just before midnight and walked all night through Salford and back. In the days before mobile phones the only official communication link for the entire event was a single BT Radiophone installed the Bogle Warlord’s (the Chief Steward’s) car. So, unofficially, Radio Rag was the link between the event organisers and the walkers.

** It would broadcast all night and the organisers instructed walkers to carry portable radios and tune in. There is a lovely website here reminiscing about the logistics of the stroll and the radio broadcast, complete with one or two surviving clips from back in the day. Well worth a quick read….

  • Vimto, Manchester’s answer to Ribena, the original ‘Vim Tonic for health and temperance’, was formulated in a shed on Granby Row in 1908. An elaborate and suitably jolly public sculpture now marks the spot.
  • The beautiful dome in Sackville Main Building houses the Godlee Observatory, home to the Manchester Astrological Society, complete with telescopes in the actual tower, octagonal meeting rooms beneath, and society archives. It was bequeathed to the university in 1903 by Francis Godlee, Quaker, lawyer and all round Good Egg.

Got any gorgeous stories to share? why not pop them on here for our mutual delectation……the more the merrier!

  1. The Cyprus Tavern on Princess Street use to be a late night haunt, usually after a few pints somewhere cheaper (e.g Snake Bite in the union bar). I was there during the Punk era and remember ‘vaguely’ people such as Howard Deveto and Pete Shelly from Buzzcocks coming in.

  2. Re: Bogle Stroll – I studied Polymer Chemistry at UMIST between 1966 and 1969 and recall that the Stroll was between Lancaster and Manchester – still 55 miles [or thereabouts] Keep up the discussion! John Bowen

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