North Campus: The weird and wonderful
Have you ever wondered why there’s a gigantic Vimto bottle next to Sackville Street Building? A mysterious green-and-white structure on its roof? Or an arresting man-in-a-bath sculpture close by?
With many staff and students (finally!) returning to campus – and some heading here for the very first time – what better way to get reacquainted with North Campus than to take a closer look at some of its more, shall we say, curious features?
North Campus is home not only to much activity within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, but also the truly weird and wonderful.
Here are some of our favourite features…
Eureka! It’s Archimedes!
If you head beneath the railway arches that divide North Campus you’ll encounter a striking figure that – quite literally – leaps out at you. Sculpted by Thompson Dagnall and unveiled back in 1990, the stone man, bald, naked and euphoric, is none other than ancient Greek mathematician, philosopher and inventor Archimedes.
The sculpture represents his ‘Eureka!’ moment, when he jumped out of the bath upon discovering the principles of buoyancy.
Check out our short video to find out more:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGvjEnSZjbg&w=560&h=315]
This most excellent canopy
Atop Sackville Street Building sits an unexpected sight – an intriguing dome with, it turns out, a fascinating history. It is, of course, the beautiful Godlee Observatory, a true window to the stars.
Bequeathed to the people of Manchester by businessman and philanthropist Francis Godlee in 1903, the observatory features a spiral staircase, trap door, and dome made from papier-mâché! It has been a feature of the city’s skyline for well over a century – and even played a part in putting man on the Moon.
Discover the incredible story in our short video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwhMm1Jn5Ic&w=560&h=315]
Here in Manchester we love a little drink of Vimto… but why is there an absolutely massive bottle of the stuff next to Sackville Street Building?
The answer is pretty simple: the drink was first created close to the site back in 1908 by John Noel Nichols, a wholesaler of herbs, spices and medicines. The purple drink has been a favourite in the city – and all around the world – ever since. First carved by Kerry Morrison in 1992, the monument underwent a colourful makeover in 2011.
Learn more about the super-sized bottle, and famous Manchester drink, with our short video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TgLD45qRPY&w=560&h=315]
Exploring North Campus
Another fascinating aspect of North Campus is, of course, the buildings. And of particular interest, the names behind them.
You can check out the stories behind the names of the marvellous Renold Building and Barnes Wallis Building in our blog post; likewise for the splendid Ferranti Building and compelling James Lighthill Building and Morton Laboratory.
And should you ever ponder what life was like on North Campus, and elsewhere around the University, in days gone by, we have you covered with not one, not two, but three special ‘in pictures’ blog posts detailing our history.
So welcome (back) to North Campus, and all the stories it tells!
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Words: Joe Shervin
Videos: Joe Shervin
Images: The University of Manchester
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