I had leisure to chase up a trio of monuments as I ambled around Manchester yesterday. The first I must have walked past dozens of times without realising who it was: Abraham Lincoln! Yankee blockades of Confederate states in the US Civil War kept cotton out of the mills of Northern England, causing a lot of hardship and unemployment. Nonetheless, there was a union vote to support the Union (if you will), and after the war Abe issued a thank-you to us Northerners. Apparently Lincoln’s son didn’t like this statue, as the placement of the hands suggests Abe has stomach ache! So even though it was destined for Liverpool, it somehow ended up in Manchester. (I didn’t entirely follow that bit.) It’s in Lincoln Square (duh!) – Brazenose (“bronze nose?”) Street in fact, just yards from a rather more prominent sculpture depicting Chopin. (I fear I may have hogged the camera a little on this one…)
The next is in Sackville Park. It’s the great Alan Turing, computer pioneer and Bletchley Park Enigma-code-cracker. Prosecuted for homosexuality, he was found dead with a bitten apple that it is thought was poisoned (though evidently no one tested it!) – hence the one in the sculpture. The statue sits happily between the science buildings of Manchester’s academia and the gay bars of Bloom Street, in a pleasant little park that is also home to the Beacon of Hope, the only permanent memorial (it says here) to victims of HIV/Aids. Turing’s sculptor buried his own Amstrad computer under the plaque at Alan’s feet. (Wise move.)
Finally, a few streets south on Granby Row I came across this one by accident. It’s a monument to Vimto, on the site of the building where the first ever mixture of those ingredients was made. The giant fruits and whatnot in this sculpture, however, are not genuine: instead they are made of oak.