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Bee Hive Live Stream

Bee Hive Cameras Live Stream

A short video showcasing Manchester Cathedral Bees by Adam York Gregory Manchester Cathedral Bees from Adam York Gregory on Vimeo. Bee Hive Cameras We currently have two bee hive cameras upon the flat roof of Manchester Cathedral, click on the play button below to view the bees and their hives. Heavenly Honey produced by our […]

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Sir David Richards, Patron of Volition

Sir David Richards has become a patron of Volition Community following a visit last year to see the work of this charity. Welcoming Sir David, the Dean of Manchester thanked Sir David for his commitment to this programme which runs from Manchester and Liverpool Cathedrals. Sir David, encouraged at the outcomes of this programme of […]

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Beekeeping newsletter 14th May 2020

What a difference a year makes! As I wander through the silence of the Cathedral, making my way to the spiral staircase that will take me to the roof, I am reminded that only a year ago we were celebrating Manchester City’s Premier League title win. The Cathedral was bustling with people and equipment the […]

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Irwell by Timothy Ryan.

Volition’s Poem of the Month for June is ‘Irwell’ by Timothy Ryan.

Written during a poetry workshop considering the varied and vaulted histories of the River Irwell, particularly its location near Manchester Cathedral, Timothy Ryan’s eponymous poem flows through the city’s silt, unearthing real and imagined pasts.

A river with medieval significance, once stocked with fish and biodiverse wildlife, the Irwell fell victim to industrialisation’s polluting brawn. By the 19th century, the river was permanently altered by the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal and has now faded into murky insignificance.

Voiced by the river, Ryan’s poem opens with a syntactically slippery statement about ‘stone people’ passing ‘on me’, while Neolithic ‘templers’ – a word redolent of Templars, but also suggesting builders, or worshippers – vanish concentrically into the past. Peasants recklessly burn forests, sowing the anthropocentric rift between nature and humanity. Empathetic toward their condition and with a glittering turn of phrase, Ryan notes ‘Their hunger opening wide vistas’.

In the following stanza, the river remembers the Roman presence in Manchester, with a pun on the culverted River Irk. His language use is layered and suggestive, with ‘ancient redcoats’ calling to mind Romans, the British Army, and redwood trees, brought to the Britain during the Victorian period. The river demonstrates its unceasing capacity and power, which humans seized, bringing ‘workshops here for a hundred years’, pointing to industrial factories and workhouses while self-reflexively referencing the poetry workshop it was written during. After industry leaves the city, ‘only tyres’ remain, reminding us of the environmental necessity to protect our rivers.

‘Irwell’ concludes its temporal cruise in the present, centring the cathedral, which the river believes was built to praise it. Endlessly evocative, the final line documents our environmental loss, destruction of forests and habitats in the pyrrhic pursuit of progression.

Ryan’s river poem demonstrates how there is no singular ‘history’, history happens differently to everyone and is written by the victors. Human life and societies are constructed from multiple and layered histories. This is most evident in cities such as Manchester.

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