Friday nights can get a bit samey, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong, they definitely remain my favourite night of the week.
Ever since my school days when even the best telly was on on a Friday when you got home – Scooby Doo was on on a Friday. Byker Grove was on on a Friday. Scooby Doo, pop and crisps. My pop might have taken on a more let’s say…complex composition, the crisps a bit more restaurant or Chinese takeaway like, but the thrill of the Friday pm is here to stay.
But sometimes you want something a bit special. And last Friday was that something a bit special.
Would you like to attend a ghost walk?
asked The Lowry.
Around the Quays?
In honour of the forthcoming successful stage play ‘Ghost Stories’, as written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman?
And added to this was the news that said Ghost Walk was to be hosted by noted Manchester writer, author, tour guide, Jonathan Schofield which was the, erm, novelty straw in the lemonade of my prospective Friday night. It wasn’t my first Jonathan Schofield walking tour rodeo, you see (Check out the Altrincham Pub Tour on my sister blog).
And so it was on that chilly (bloody freezing) Friday night, did a group of us gather at The Lowry, ready to be taken on a tour of the surrounding Quays. A ghost stories amuse bouche to Ghost Stories, if you like.
If you are accustomed to Jonathan Schofield’s tours, you won’t need me to tell you that you are given not only a history lesson of the city (in this case we officially straddle two cities – Salford and Manchester) you love, but one that is peppered with dry asides and anecdotes which keep you captivated and laughing as you learn a little more about the locality (including, in this case, the more dark and dangerous dimensions to boot).
Most noted in this particular area is the tragic tale of 20 year old Lavinia Robinson, who, in 1813, went missing from her sister’s home in Bridge Street, just before Christmas after a furious row with her fiancé, William Holroyd.
It was a particularly cold winter that year, causing the River Irwell to freeze over (see Ciara’s not that bad). And so it was a terrible find for one lock keeper when several weeks later, the river thawed and Lavinia’s body was discovered, perfectly preserved in ice…
The funeral took place at St. John’s Manchester and buried in the gardens there. Where I used to eat my sandwiches when I worked at the old Granada Studios on Quay Street.
But it never was determined whether Lavinia’s tragic end was at her own hand, or that of another, namely her betrothed.
If you take a walk over the bridge towards the new Coronation Street set, you can see the locks where her body was found, hair frozen to what was the river bank, where work had begun to turn it into a canal.
However, it is on Bridge Street on the anniversary of her deaths where the ghostly goings-on took place…
As Jonathan explains (better than I could…)
And what of the pig head?
Well you’ll have to take one of Jonathan’s tours to find out (I know, I’m a swine. And I know, that’s a terrible joke).
And if your appetite is whetted for a good old Ghost Story, over by the Quays, there’s more to come in the shape of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s massively acclaimed stage show.
In part 2 (yes, and there’s a part 3), I’ll share more, including a few words from the man himself when I spoke to Jeremy Dyson about the ghostly tour he took himself, and what inspires him to write such fiendly good horror…
To find out more about Jonathan Schofield’s Manchester walking tours, please visit https://www.jonathanschofieldtours.com/
For details of Ghost Stories, coming to The Lowry 18 – 22 February, including booking information, please visit https://thelowry.com/whats-on/ghost-stories/
To be continued…