Newspaper – Natalie Bradbury
In 2011, in a bid to redress an imbalance in regional reporting,
the BBC moved thousands of its staff from London to Salford
Quays. A purpose-built complex, three miles from Manchester
city centre, created a new area known as MediaCity. Sports and
children’s programming moved wholesale, and the famous Blue
Peter Garden was recreated on the banks of the Manchester Ship
Canal. Hundreds of acres of former dockland were rebuilt with not
just broadcast facilities and studios, but also apartments, restaurants and bars to serve the new
As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.
Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential
post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers
and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see
the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how
quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words
to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the
chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the
passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a
laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for
a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that
we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.
May, the camp won the right to stay
another week at the Town Hall site.
On 19 May, the St Peter’s Square eviction was executed.
Bailiffs came at 8 am, some occupants were already packed, others
attempted non-violent resistance. The BBC showed photos of
protesters in masks. On the same day, the group set up camp in
St Ann’s Square. On 25 May, the Spring Festival of Markets was
moved due to the occupation.
An injunction was then posted in St Ann’s Square, specifically
against the establishment of a ‘protest camp’. In response, the
camp removed all of its protest
was not a graceful fall; the chimney was gone in a few seconds and a giant dust
cloud gathered, while a ripple of excitement, followed by applause,
emerged from various parts of the perimeter. The operation itself
was one of precision as the chimney fell in the only space that
would not cause damage to people or property.
Another chimney in Greater Manchester had fallen and the
man responsible was none other than Fred Dibnah. I was on the
scene because my grandfather was the director of the BBC Series
A Year with Fred, following Bolton’s well-loved steeplejack. The
terraces were generally viewed by those in power as outdated and
troublesome remnants of the nineteenth-century city that impeded
the application of modernist principles of urban planning. In
63 (Previous page) Cobbled passageway in Moss Side
each year, from 1963 to 1967, 4,000 Victorian terraced houses in
Manchester were demolished by the council, with little attempt
– at least in this period – to replace them. As testified by architectural critic Ian Nairn’s BBC programme, Nairn Across Britain, by the
early 1970s whole swathes of the terraced city were
under a compulsory purchase order, local residents organised a
one-off festival to demonstrate their resistance to the council’s
plans – children made Tudor costumes and walked around the
market on Moston Lane enlisting support from shoppers.2 Today,
children are encouraged to dress up in Tudor costumes in both
Ordsall and Bramall Hall, and, on a visit to Ordsall, my daughter
willingly obliged by donning chain mail. The recent popularity of
Tudor histories – perhaps most notably the BBC series Wolf Hall
(2015) and The Tudors (2007–10) – with all their sensational
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, pp.
InterTradeIreland (2008) All-island Trade Statistics, www.intertradeireland.com/tradestatistics, accessed 11 February 2011.
Jansen-Verbeke, M. (1991) ‘Leisure shopping: a magic concept for the tourism industry?’, Tourism Management 12, 1: 9-14.
Jansen-Verbeke, M. (2007) ‘Cultural resources and the tourismification of territories’,
Acta Turistica Nova 1, 1: 21–41.
McGuinness, M. (2009) ‘McGuinness defends border trade’. BBC News, 23 January,
McDonnell MP, who told a fringe meeting at the
Glastonbury Festival that those killed in the fire ‘were murdered by
political decisions that were taken over recent decades’, including cuts
to local government and the fire services under austerity: J. McDonnell,
‘Grenfell victims “murdered by political decisions”’, BBC News website,
26 June 2017, at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40401314
(accessed 12 October 2018).
14 F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (New
York: Cosimo Classics, 2008 ), p. 95.
15 D. Harvey, A Brief History of
and Fall of Council Housing
(London: Verso, 2018).
Privatisation and the death of public housing
5 K. Razzall, S. Moralioglu and N. Menzies, ‘The 21st floor’, BBC News
website, 28 September 2017, at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/
idt-sh/Grenfell_21st_floor (accessed 13 October 2018).
6 F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (New
York: Cosimo Classics, 2008 ), p. 27.
7 S. Ewen, ‘The problem of fire in nineteenth century British cities: the
case of Glasgow’, Proceedings of the