A city’s monuments and statues are the keys to its soul. You can tell a lot about a place by what it chooses to remember and pass on to future generations, and how it chooses to do so.
Manchester is an interesting case. While it does not have hundreds of monuments, the ones it does have are carefully chosen and great reflection of the city’s history and spirit. Here are three of our favourites…
Alan Turing Memorial
Alan Turing was nothing less than one of the most important people in history. The mathematician, cryptographer and computer scientist built the foundations on which the modern world stands.
Much of his most important work – developing the Manchester Computers – took place at the University of Manchester. Today the city commemorates one of its heroes with a statue in Sackville Gardens just off Canal Street – appropriate for his status as an LGBT hero.
You can find the bronze statue of Mr. Turing sat on a park bench holding an apple (thought to signify the Biblical apple of knowledge), waiting for people to join him on their lunch breaks. He is accompanied by a plaque and a code carved into the bench behind him.
When decoded using the techniques Turing used to decode the Nazis’ enigma machines, the text reads: “Founder of Computer Science”. A fittingly understated legacy for a man who worked quietly in the background to change the world.
Victory Over Blindness
The entrance to Piccadilly Station changed somewhat on 16th October 2018 when the Victory Over Blindness statue was unveiled outside the front doors.
It depicts seven blinded First World War veterans guiding one another away from the battlefield. Posed in a line with their hands on the shoulder of the man in front, it is impossible not to be affected by their plight.
Johanna Domke-Guyot’s statue is a poignant reminder of the cost of conflict, and is particularly well-suited to Manchester. Heaton Park hosted a convalescent camp which treated thousands of wounded soldiers and sailors, many of whom were blind.
Today, each of the seven statues is paired with a blind veteran past or present who has rebuilt their life following sight loss.
L S Lowry
There are many reasons to visit Sam’s Chop House just off Chapel Walks in Manchester city centre. The excellent food, great selection of drinks and cosy atmosphere are well and good in themselves – but what about the chance to meet one of Britain’s finest artists?
Unlike most pubs, Sam’s Chop House has a life sized statue at the bar which you are welcome to join for a drink. This statue represents L S Lowry who was a regular at the pub when he worked nearby, ad it was installed in 2011 for the 35th anniversary of his death.
Lowry was known for his matchstick men and scenes of regular life which struck a chord across the nation. No stranger to snobbery from the so-called elite of the art world, Lowry’s legacy nonetheless lives on and continues to resonate to this day.