Hell’s Angel

As my train approached Manchester station, seeing Angel Square lit up against the night sky emphasised how far we had come, seasonally. This occasional commute of mine has mostly been made in daylight, but now night had descended as another train hurtled past in the opposite direction.


Attracted by the flashing streaks of this brief neighbour, (and maybe me capturing it on my phone), a man peered out of the window. He continued to look out long after the train had vanished.

“I’ve slept under those arches,” he said.

Resisting the most obvious question, which was none of my business, I instead asked “What was it like?”

“Bloody cold,” he replied. “But at least it was dry.”

That’s what it was like this night: cold and dry. I wondered if anybody was under those arches now, settling down for the night.

Angel Square, that beautiful glass modern building, is built on the site of Angel Meadow, that 19th Century slum that Friedrich Engels called “Hell upon Earth.”

Despite appearances to the contrary, maybe nothing changes. For some people anyway. Two hundred years on there are those who lie cold on the city’s underbelly, no matter how we dress it up.

10 thoughts on “Hell’s Angel

  1. I still have this link ou sent to me on my ribbon ( https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/my-forefathers-life-in-manchesters-slums-discovering-family-roots-in-the-hell-on-earth-of-angel-a6896021.html ) AS it is relevant to your post, I’m placing it here for others to investigate if interested.
    You know how much this piece speaks to my (he)art…keep on ‘giving voice’ as you do in your own unique way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for posting that link, Laura.
      It is like two sides of the same coin-‘Laura’s Place’, those beautiful structures at the front of the building, these arches to the rear. I think that’s quite appropriate-the light that catches the eye, the shadow that needs to be sought out.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s