Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Temple of Mammon

We set out today to visit the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port as we were dropping a Grandma and Cousin off in West manchester after a 40th meal last night. However, once we got over the Pennines, the weather went very horrible so we decided to go somewhere indoors instead.

We ended up at the Trafford Centre, a vast Mall development near the Manchester Ship Canal. I saw this complex take shape during the period I spent commuting to Galway and the beacon light in the oculus of the dome was a welcome sight on the way to and from Manchester airport in the early morning or late evening.

The Trafford Centre is a private development and everything about it is on a monumental scale. Despite the fact that it has the same shops and eateries as everywhere else, it is a delightful architectural whimsy reminiscent of the Movie Palaces of old. I've taken a few snapshots to set the scene.
This is the exterior of the large food court area known as the Orient. Building works are taking place to enlarge the area and it is nearly complete. Note the date on the portico- MMVI, 2006.

The portico in more detail. The motto is HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD which I believe was attributed to Milton. A more modern wording might be hold fast onto your wallets and purses...

A decorative fountain in one of the malls. Every now and then... squirts a jet high into the air, way up into the dome. (This isn't the big dome, just one of the smaller ones.) If you click on the picture, you can just about see the after-effects of a large squirt tumbling down through the air.

This is the Orient, which has an Ocean liner theme. Note the detail of the chairs and tables.

This is a corridor leading to some toilets. Even the Coke machines have heiroglyphics.

This is the new bit that is almost finished.

This is one big mother of a chandelier. Phantom of the Opera, eat your heart out!


CityUnslicker said...

more impressive than I imagined it would be. how did you avoid the chav's trying to nick your camera?

Ian said...

They don't have Chavs in Manchester, just Scallys on day trips from the 'Pool. ;->

Liz said...

Wow, that's amazing! Large scale is true. A lot of thought and detail has gone into it; will it last, do you think?

We have a new, much-vaunted development on the old dockyards site. The buildings look fine - modern and clean lines - but they have that temporary look. A if they're not built to last. As if the architect didn't sit down to design something that would still be a beautiful building in 200 years. But he knew that in fifty years or less, they'd want something different. It's sad I think. So much care and artistry wnet into architecture of old. It doesn't have to be intricate and all cherubs or gargoyles, but a few things to draw the eye and make it want to linger would be nice.