Photographer's Note

These historic buildings in central Manchester must have been photographed by many thousands of visitors, but I haven't been able to find a similar shot from the same range on TE. Known collectively as 'The Shambles', the two very old looking buildings in the picture have had a long and arduous history, not least because of their surviving the bombing of Manchester in 1940 and the infamous IRA explosion in 1996; but they have also survived plans for demolition and their recent movement(1999) from their original locations, and in the case of the Old Wellington Inn on the left, TWO moves. The inn and the building in the centre, now known as Sinclair's Oyster Bar, were moved a few hundred metres from their previous location beside the Arndale Centre blown apart by the IRA bomb. They'd only been there since 1981!

The Old Wellington Inn, in front of which, in this photo, dozens of late morning beer drinkers are gathered already in the sunshine, dates back to 1552 during the reign of King Edward VI, and I believe it is now the oldest building in Manchester. The oyster bar was built in 1720. Beside it to the right is the old Corn Exchange, now transformed into the Triangle Insurance Building. Behind the inn can be seen - to its left and protruding above its roof line - the Manchester Cathedral.

This isn't the only 'Shambles' in England, by the way; several English towns continue to preserve the name of what were in the past butchers' market stalls. The name comes from the word schamel, which was a stall for the display of a butcher's meat. The word derives from from the Old English 'sceamol', or stool, possibly earlier from the Latin scamillum, meaning stool or bench. More recently, the word shambles denoted a slaughterhouse or place of destruction or bloodshed, which links to the idea of the butcher's stall, and also to the modern and often used colloquial meaning - a state of destruction or disorder. Originally, these buildings stood opposite the shambles in Manchester market. They look nothing like a shambles today, in any sense of the word, although I can imagine the beer drinking could sometimes develop into a shambles.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2977 W: 101 N: 5121] (19959)
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