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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, June 26, 2005
    The canal is still the reason why
    I got through some books on holiday. So much so that I had to buy another one in Truro on Wednesday to keep me going. Back home my reading time is seriously undermined by routine, so this will last a while: Tristram Hunt's Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City which is a major history describing the people and the ideas which shaped our cities, whose influence we're still under today.

    As the publisher's blurb rightly says, Hunt challenges our common perception of the Victorian city. 'Rather than just a byword for pollution and poverty, the nineteenth-century city boasted an unrivalled sense of civic pride and provincial power.' Yesterday's canal trip underlined that - what a massive vision, what a major investment, what a technological achievement, back in 1894. As Primal Scream disgraced themselves onstage, a banner flew high in front of the Pyramid stage this evening, saying 'MANCHESTER > THE WORLD'. If that proud statement is true then the canal, arguably, is still the reason why.