Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Piering into the Past


Class has started again! It is always fun to see everybody after all the weekend adventures. This past weekend we had people visit Paris, Brussels, and Manchester. The story swapping when we are all together is always great!

Monday marks the beginning of our last full week in Manchester. Honestly, just writing that sentence makes me sad, this whole experience has been absolutely amazing. 

We started off the week with a tour of Wigan, a town in the Greater Manchester Area. The tour was given by Chris McAllister, a retired civil engineer and the husband of Dr. Annemarie McCallister who gave one of our first tours. We are reading George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier for class this week, so it was really fascinating to see some of the places he writes about in the novel. 

Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Wigan

We took the train from Manchester to Wigan (about 30 minutes) and began our walking tour. One of the best parts about this trip has been experiencing other cities near Manchester, and Wigan did not disappoint  Our tour focused on the industrialization of Wigan, and the effect that de-industrialization has has on the city. We also got to see a few sites that pertain to George Orwell. There is a small monument to him in the city (and when I say small I mean it, Orwell is not well liked by Wigan). We also got to see Wigan Pier (not at all impressive, which was kind of surprising). 

The Orwell monument in Wigan (our tour guide told us that it was a fight to even establish it)

The Orwell Pub in Wigan

Wigan Pier is the tiny white building in the background (pretty impressive, right?)

After a pub lunch in Wigan, and a quick train ride back, class was over for the day. A few of us went out shopping, and just walking  around Manchester. It was so much fun just hanging out, it is definitely going to be weird not being with these people 24/7.

Tuesday was our last day of classroom discussion. We discussed Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier and the social and political environment around the novel. Discussion went really well, it was really cool to see how much we have learned about industrialization

The afternoon was spent researching for our final projects. A large group of us went to the Central Library to make use of their reading room (it was a fantastic change of location). After researching for a few hours we split into smaller groups and adventured around. I went out with a group to an Italian restaurant near the hotel. I got Gnocchi al Pomodoro (gnocchi in tomato sauce). It was amazing! 

We also had our final meeting at the professors' flat today. We watched Fame in the Spur, a film from 1947. It is a thinly veiled satire about Labour Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald, and really focuses on political careerism. The film also delves into the suffrage movement a little bit, I found the representation really striking (and definitely in line with the research I have been doing). I really enjoyed the film!

This trip is quickly coming to an end, but we are determined to make these last few days as wonderful as the first!


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