The official opening date of Manchester‘s New York-inspired ‘sky park’ at Castlefield Viaduct has now finally been confirmed.
After the National Trust announced its ambitious vision to create an urban green space in the heart of the city centre by tackling the challenge of “greening” the Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct and celebrate the history of this well-known landmark, it has now been revealed that visitors will be able to enjoy the park from next weekend.
Construction company MC Construction, Twelve Architects, and four local partners have been working with gardening specialists and apprentices at the National Trust to create the new park – with thousands of plants, shrubs, and trees having been planted over the past five months.
Now, less than half a year after work began to transform the giant 330-metre steel viaduct into an elevated park, the finishing touches are being made.
The temporary urban park at Castlefield Viaduct will open to the public on Saturday 30 July.
The park will be or the next 12 months, with green spaces stretching across the elevation, and during this time, visitors will have the opportunity to explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees, and learn urban gardening tips.
You’ll also get to experience a variety of planting displays as you walk along the viaduct while enjoying the elevated setting above the historic cobbled streets, according to the National Trust, and see the park “develop, evolve, and respond” with the changing seasons.
The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s work to “increase access” for everyone to nature, history and beauty in, around, and near urban areas.
The Castlefield Viaduct dates back to 1892 and was built by Heenan and Froude – the same engineers who worked on Blackpool Tower – but the site closed in the late 1960s, and before the National Trust took over and began to add over 3,000 plants, shrubs, trees, and more, it had sadly been left derelict.
The industrial heritage of Castlefield has been reflected through all elements of the design of the park.
The National Trust says the design of the planters at the new park gives “a subtle nod” to the industrial architecture of the viaduct, and mirrors the curve of the railway tracks that once transported goods across the structure to the Great Northern Warehouse.
A section of the viaduct has also been left untouched to “provide a sense of how nature has reclaimed the space” since the site closed.
Speaking ahead of the park officially opening to the public next Saturday, Andy Jasper – National Head of Gardens & Parklands at the National Trust – said: “Creating a garden on an industrial heritage structure such as this is new territory for us and we have created a test bed that represents how the park in the sky might be, if the people of Manchester want it.
“With more than 3,000 individual plants planted in completely peat free growing media over the past couple of months, we’ve been literally trialling new planting techniques as we go – working with limited growing depths and thinking about how these plants will deal with the more challenging conditions of being 17 metres in the air.
“I cannot wait to see what people say, and I am intrigued to see how the plant life will take in its new surroundings.”
Duncan Laird – Head of Urban Places at the National Trust – added: “This has been an intensely busy few months as we prepared to open the doors of the pilot project, and we are incredibly excited to finally be able to open this space for people to visit for the first time in over 50 years.
“As the trees and plants start to bed in and grow it will slowly begin to match the vision for this space, and we will be keenly listening to visitor feedback that we will use to shape the ongoing evolution of the viaduct.
“We’re at the start of the journey – not the end.”
100 people a day will be able to visit the Castlefield Viaduct from Saturday 30 July.
Entry onto the structure will be free, but a booking system will be in place to help manage numbers, and as part of the experience, visitors will be able to join guided walks – with plans to host various community events, workshops, and consultations in the pipeline.
Featured Image – Howard Bristol (via National Trust)
Molly-Mae Hague has welcomed her first baby… according to boxer Jake Paul
Jake Paul appears to have spilled the beans on Molly-Mae Hague, announcing that she has given birth to her first baby with his rival Tommy Fury.
Super influencer Molly-Mae, 23, has maintained radio silence on Instagram for the last week, leading to many fans speculating that she has welcomed her baby girl and is taking some privacy out of the public eye.
Many assumed that she would bide her time for a huge announcement video, as she did with her pregnancy announcement back in September.
But it appears that Jake Paul has jumped the gone and made the announcement for the young couple, who met on the fifth series of Love Island.
YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake posted on Twitter today, alongside a poster promoting his upcoming fight with Tommy: “Tommy has no excuses now…Baby’s born. Money’s massive. Immigration no issue.
“Tyson promises he & Papa will make Tommy retire from boxing & change his last name if he can’t beat the YouTuber.
“Tmw I’m coming to London to look at all 3 Fury’s in the eye & shake on that promise.”
Of course, the internet has completely lost its mind that Molly-Mae’s undoubtedly tasteful baby announcement has been usurped in this way.
One person posted on Twitter: “Jake Paul announcing Molly Mae’s birth before Molly Mae or Tommy is the biggest sh*thousery I’ve seen this year.”
Another wrote: “ermmm did Jake Paul just let slip that Molly Mae’s given birth before she announced it or??”
Someone else commented: “Not Jake Paul announcing molly mae having her baby before molly mae what a prick.”
Molly-Mae and Tommy Fury have not yet addressed the message from Jake Paul.
Featured image: Instagram, @mollymae
Tim Healy surprises fans with performance at The 1975’s Newcastle gig
The 1975’s tour has seen some seriously memorable moments so far, including several special guest appearances, but seeing Tim Healy give a surprise performance has to be the jewel in the crown.
While the band might have formed in the Wilmslow and plied their trade in Manchester on their way to success, several members of the current lineup — including frontman Matty Healy himself — were born in Newcastle, so the gig at the Utilita Arena on Wednesday was very much a homecoming show.
With that in mind, when British TV royalty, Geordie icon and Matty’s old man, Tim Healy popped up on stage, the crowd understandably went wild.
There were no doubt plenty of confused faces when a trademark Matty monologue and sudden cut to black was followed by the bloke from Benidorm appearing up on stage, but there was also a scream bigger than any response Taylor Swift got.
Whipping out some significantly more dramatic thespian ability than the kind you’d associate with his Auf Wiedersehen, Pet days, albeit still fully aware of bizarre the entire spectacle was, he brought one of his son’s trademark digressions about method acting to a close.
But better than that, the 70-year-old ended up staying on stage to perform his own low-key ‘All I Need to Hear‘ cover as the band played in the background. Surreal.
To be honest, it might just be the wholesomeness of it all, but we think we might prefer the older Healy’s version.
Sing it, Tim!
Imagine bringing your dad onto the stage only for him to absolutely steal the show. Brilliant stuff.
Both he and Matty’s celebrity mum Denise Welch have been spotted at various shows as the band continue to perform their ‘At Their Very Best’ tour around the country, with various fans interacting with them in the crowd, but very few would have been expecting an impromptu song from one of them.
Both are obviously more closely associated with TV, with Welch known for appearing on the likes of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Loose Women and many more, but if we don’t up end up getting both of them on stage before this tour is over we’ll be genuinely fuming.
It also looks like the reaction meant a lot to him:
Elsewhere in the show, The 1975’s Newcastle fans were treated to an equally ridiculous surprise appearance from Harry Styles. Well, not really…
In case you haven’t seen it already, the band conspired to prank the crowd by putting the former One Direction star’s name up on the screen, only to bring out Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi instead.
He obviously got just as lovely a reaction and fully leaned into bantering with the crowd — joking, “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Harry Styles‘ looks a bit different.'” — before performing a cover of ‘Antichrist’.