Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield


Trips & Adventures – 18 April 2019

On a beautiful sunny day we took the train from Manchester to Wakefield, changing at Huddersfield and arriving in time for lunch!

It was a short walk to the Hepworth Gallery, an award winning art museum in Wakefield which opened on 21 May 2011. The gallery is situated on the south side of the River Calder and takes its name from artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth who was born and educated in the city.

The Hepworth is home to Wakefield’s art collection – an impressive compendium of modern British art, including works by L S Lowry, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore as well as work by significant contemporary artists.

Our plan was to view the photographic exhibition “Modern Nature”: British photographs from The Hyman Collection, but we also saw Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things, an exhibition of vessels and historic objects that have inspired her from across the globe, as well as some of the permanent exhibits.

Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975), although deeply religious, had unorthodox beliefs, combining Christian Science and Anglicanism, and she saw her work as an extension of her faith. In 1955, she wrote, “Sculpture, to me, is primitive, religious, passionate, and magical – always, always, affirmative.”

More photos can be seen here.


Bury Pride Rainbow Train


Trips & Adventures – 14 April 2019

As part of Bury Pride, members of Out In The City joined hundreds of others on the first ever Rainbow Train, travelling on a steam train from Bury to Rawtenstall and back!

It was like travelling back in time to the golden age of steam. The history of the East Lancashire Railway is the story of a heroic struggle to keep a dying part of Britain’s heritage alive.

The Railway’s past is inextricably linked to that of the area’s industry. The railways provided industries with a vital link to the country’s network of imports, exports, raw materials and, most importantly, workers.

However, the influx of cars, trucks and buses on Britain’s roads soon made the railways a liability rather than a vital service, in the eyes of the government, and all but the bare minimum of stations were closed.

This is where the battle to preserve the East Lancashire Railway began. The railway continues to develop its services and we steamed from Bury, through Burrs Country Park, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale to Rawtenstall passing the Peel Tower.

The memorial tower to Sir Robert Peel, also known as “Holcombe Tower” was opened in September 1852, occupying a prominent position 1,100 feet above sea level.

Frederick Peel was the principal guest of honour, and he declared the monument to be a splendid memorial to his father and to the principles of free trade. Unfortunately, large numbers who had travelled by excursion train from Salford arrived too late to witness the ceremony!

The Manchester Guardian, declared the tower to be not “a specimen of architectural beauty”. To this day a local Easter tradition entails people walking up the hill on Good Friday, often rolling hard-boiled eggs down the steep sides, although the significance of this is unclear.

We were entertained by a male voice choir at the beginning and (once a microphone had been sourced about 10 minutes before the end) by the one and only Miss Vivienne Lynsey hosting a show tune sing-a-long. Goody bags were given free to all train riders and a good time was had by all. There are loads of great pictures which can be accessed here

Bridgewater Hall Concert


Trips & Adventures – 11 April 2019

We were given free tickets for a mid-day concert at The Bridgewater Hall featuring Emily Nebel on violin and Alexey Pudinov on piano.

The performance was Elgar’s Violin Sonata in E minor Op.82 and Maurice Ravel’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major. The duo was formed in 2014 and has gained recognition for its unique sound and creative programming. They have received several awards and scholarships. We all enjoyed the concert tremendously.

We then went on to Wagamama, a gay-friendly restaurant in St Peter’s Square. The restaurant not only has a rainbow decoration on the outside, but has a special rainbow table inside. It was now mid-afternoon but was still quite busy.

The menu contains popular Japanese and Asian cuisine in many popular categories, such as ramen, teppanyaki and curry dishes. We sampled several dishes including a range of tasty deserts and green tea (which is “on the house”).
We had planned to visit the “Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing” exhibition at Manchester City Art Gallery, as it is the 500th anniversary of his death. However, we decided to give it a miss due to the approaching rush hour traffic. The exhibition is free of charge and is on until 6 May 2019, so we still have time to view it. 



Trips & Adventures – 4 April 2019

We arrived in Bolton and made our way to the infamous Olympus Fish & Chip Restaurant for lunch – the menu features a varied selection including “Pensioner’s Specials” – but most of us settled for the Olympus Fish Special which includes cod or haddock (all obtained from sustainable sources), chips, mushy peas, white or brown bread and a pot of tea or cup of coffee.

The restaurant features a Schimmel grand piano but unfortunately there was no live pianist today.

We then walked down the precinct to view the Fred Dibnah statue. Fred Dibnah MBE (28 April 1938 – 6 November 2004) was an English steeplejack and television personality, and is a revered son of Bolton.

In mid-2000, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology for his achievement in engineering by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and on 19 July 2004 he was made an honorary Doctor of the University by the University of Birmingham.

Dibnah was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours for services to heritage and broadcasting. He said “I’m looking forward to meeting the Queen but I shall probably have to get a new cap. And I’d like to meet Prince Charles because we share the same views about modern architecture.”

On 7 July 2004, Dibnah went to Buckingham Palace to receive his award from the Queen. He initially planned to drive his traction engine into the palace grounds, but was refused as the Royal Parks Agency feared that its weight would damage the surface of The Mall.

The main purpose of our visit to Bolton was to see the exhibition “Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring LGBTQ histories” at Le Mans Crescent, Bolton. The Bolton Museum is the only Northern venue to host this touring collection from The British Museum.

I was fascinated by the “secret museum”. During the 19th century, museums were one of the few places where members of the public could openly and respectably view representations of the naked human body. Some objects relating to sex and sexuality, however, challenged cultural sensibilities.

From around 1830 The British Museum had a restricted collection of objects relating to sex in its “Secret Museum”. This ceased to operate actively in 1953 and it no longer exists. Its objects were gradually absorbed into the main collection and displays.

If you would like to see some of those objects look at our photo page here.

Transgender Day of Visibility – 31 March 2019


International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on 31st March dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

The day was founded by US-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered holiday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance which mourned the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community. The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on 31st March 2009.

This is a day to elevate the voices of trans people and raise awareness about the challenges they face.

To mark this date four amazing YouTubers share their experiences of being trans in different parts of the world.

Check out what they had to say!