Droylsden Library, Alan Murray-Rust (2013)

Droylsden Library Move Back On Track

Brownfield funding source sees return of plans to move Droylsden library to Guardsmen Tony Downes House

Back in 2015, Tameside MBC began a consultation to move Droylsden Library from its existing premises to the ground floor of Guardsmen Tony Downes House. As I attended a creative writing group there (and fell in love with the library), I chose to fill in the consultation.

What I loved about Droylsden’s library was its inter-war modernist exterior. I loved the airiness at street level and the non-fiction section and study area lower down. What I was less impressed with (by 2015 standards) was its approach to all parts of the library for wheelchair users. The lift to its three floors is only suitable for carrying books instead of readers.

Continue reading “Droylsden Library Move Back On Track”
Astley Cheetham Library and Art Gallery

The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery: Tameside’s Hidden Treasure?

Why has Tameside MBC’s only art gallery attracted fewer visitors than this blog?

Here’s a question for you. In 2018, how many people visited the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge? Is it: (a) 59,000?; (b) 5,900?; or is it (c) 590?

Believe it or not, the answer is (c). That’s right, 590 visitors in the 26 days it was open in 2018. Or 22.69 visitors per Saturday from 10am to 2pm. In the 2017 – 2018 season, Stalybridge Celtic’s average attendance was 315 per home game in all competitions over 23 home matches.

Continue reading “The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery: Tameside’s Hidden Treasure?”

Public Libraries: As Good Today As They Have Ever Been

For National Libraries Week, East of the M60 looks at why public libraries have an important role in the 21st century

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
The first love for many bibliophiles: your local library, such as Dukinfield Library on Concord Way, which opened in November 1984.

Thank goodness for public libraries. With a parent or primary school teacher, they have helped ten of millions of Britons (or billions around the world) to get hooked on reading. Some, like this gentleman, have chosen the TV Times or the Manchester Evening News as their gateway drug (prior to borrowing their first book). Each day, many people call in for their literary fix. They come back for more every three weeks, sometimes carrying up to twelve items with them.

Whether Jackie Collins, Lewis Carroll or O.S. Nock, they can get sucked into a world of uncharted lands, plot lines, or travel back in time. Its mind altering substances, in hardback, paperback, or large print forms, are the written word. A psychosomatic substance for the theatre of the mind, dependent on one’s chosen interests.
Continue reading “Public Libraries: As Good Today As They Have Ever Been”

Cuts Scene Investigation: Changes to Tameside’s Libraries

Cuts Scene Investigation: Tameside’s Libraries (Part Three)

Longer hours, less staff, but all eight libraries saved by technological developments

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield, as photographed in 2012 with a Zenit TTL 35mm SLR camera.

Almost four years have passed since we did our previous Cuts Scene Investigation on the future of Tameside’s libraries. A lot has happened since then with libraries moving to smaller premises in more convenient locations. It has meant reduced opening hours and the retention of West End and Haughton Green libraries – as community-run facilities.
Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: Changes to Tameside’s Libraries”

Cuts Scene Investigation: Greater Manchester’s Bus Network

East of the M60 on a possible gloomy outlook for Greater Manchester’s subsidised routes

Under Threat: Socially necessary services such as the 343 from Oldham to Hyde.

The last two years have been pretty good for Greater Manchester’s bus users. First Greater Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester have introduced new vehicles, either with electric-hybrid engines or free WiFi. Elsewhere, System One Travelcards have held the prices of their season tickets till April of this year. Patronage has increased; given the profit motive in today’s operations, it is most obviously trunk routes like the 330, 409 or 192 which have prospered. Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation: Greater Manchester’s Bus Network”

Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond

A Cuts Scene Investigation Special: Prospects for our borough

In 2009, our borough was in the midst of recovering from the global economic downturn along with numerous others in the United Kingdom. Even so, there was some optimism in the air. Despite voting ‘no’ to the congestion charge, Ashton-under-Lyne – thanks to a different funding package – got her trams. Though internet shopping began to make inroads, the Arcades Shopping Centre was slated for future extension. Public services were well funded. People still had money, and confidence, though energy prices started to climb. The new IKEA Store also helped things. Continue reading “Tameside, In the Eye of the Tory Storm: April 2013 and Beyond”

Council Offices Set for Move to New Location

Tameside MBC to consider move from TAC Building to cheaper premises

Much noise has been made about the ConDems’ cutbacks disproportionately affecting the North West. In a bid to alleviate much of the pain inflicted on public service delivery, local councils have been forced to find cheaper or more energy efficient premises. It was revealed in this week’s Tameside Advertiser that Tameside MBC have considered a move from the TAC Building, to new premises on Old Cross Street. Its proposed premises will be the site of the Swan Street car park, hitherto the site of the Phoenix Market Hall, and a temporary building for Ashton Central Library. Continue reading “Council Offices Set for Move to New Location”

Dukinfield Library Saved – Though Cuts Continue

Cuts Scene Investigation: Tameside’s Libraries (Part Two)

  • Populace opt for retention of main libraries;
  • Haughton Green, Denton West End, Newton, Mottram and Hurst libraries to close;
  • Reduced opening hours may follow on remaining libraries and Local Studies Library.

Dukinfield Library, Concord Way, Dukinfield
Saved: Dukinfield Library, Concord Way.

The fate of Tameside’s public libraries has been decided this week. Following a consultation, the people of Tameside have gone along with the council’s recommendation, denoted as Option Three on The Big Conversation webpage. Continue reading “Dukinfield Library Saved – Though Cuts Continue”

One Direction Towards Motorway Privatisation

Anger over possible commercialisation of new road projects and road pricing

And you thought the train fare to London Euston was bad enough? The announcement of private sector road building schemes could pave the way towards a fully privatised motorway network with fast lanes for super-rich motorists.

In the last week, my excuse for the slight reduction of blog posts can be blamed on the rediscovery of an old computer game, revived by a bunch of transport geeks like yours truly. Entitled OpenTTD, it is an open source build of the excellent Transport Tycoon Deluxe game, hitherto released by Microprose in 1995. The goal of the game is to become a (ahem!) Transport Tycoon by 2050.

Besides being a fun little game where transport nerds like me wish to build an integrated transport network, the excesses of cut-throat competition – seen on today’s bus routes – and free market economics – is inherent. You could become a tycoon by concreting over every bit of countryside, leaving your locals stranded with crap bus services and screwing your competitors. (Where’ve we seen this before?) Today’s devotees have added a greater number of vehicles resulting in a game more relevant to contemporary practice. There is one exception to this: a road pricing element for car owners. Continue reading “One Direction Towards Motorway Privatisation”

Cuts Scene Investigation #2: Tameside’s NHS

The Health and Social Care Reform Bill and its effects on the Tameside area

In the Edwardian times, a regular feature of Tameside’s markets was a tooth puller. People would queue to have their bad tooth or teeth removed in public, and their cries would be drowned out by musicians.

On the 5th July 1948, such scenes would be confined to history, with the launch of the National Health Service. As a thank you for surviving a tumultuous few decades, Britons would receive free healthcare at the point of delivery, funded by National Insurance contributions. As a consequence of Aneurin Bevan’s plan, they would be freed from finding money to pay the doctor, or ambulance fees. This also led to greater awareness in health promotion, life expectancy rising and improved health overall. Continue reading “Cuts Scene Investigation #2: Tameside’s NHS”