Manchester Cathedral photography exhibition supported by Embankment

A photography exhibition of images taken from the roof of Manchester Cathedral has been backed by the Joint Venture behind the Embankment scheme. 

Robert Watson has spent the past five years climbing the Victorian tower of the 15th century cathedral to document the ever-changing face of the city.

From the vantage point he recorded time-lapse images of the Embankment development taking shape on the site of the former Victoria Bus Station, which is being developed by Manchester property developer, Ask Real Estate, in partnership with Carillion and Tristan Capital Partners.

He also took shots of the shifting weather, which all form part of an exhibition entitled 360/365/MCR, which will open next month in Manchester Cathedral’s Regimental Chapel. 

Robert, who is inspired by German photographer Michael Ruetz, said he encountered all sorts during his many visits to the top of Manchester Cathedral, including honey-producing bees.

“It’s not that comfortable a climb up the old staircase to the roof of the Cathedral, so you don’t want to come down in a hurry,” said Robert, who has since established a new company called Timescape Systems.

“It was a few months into making my regular visits that I thought to stay up there and try a few shots out. I then started to pursue the various panoramic images that make up this exhibition.” 

He added: “Each image is formed from a manual process; taking 18 shots to create a seamless image in 360 degrees, so not a quick or easy photograph to create and there are 20 in the exhibition.

“I’m pleased with the results, with the Cathedral spires remaining the one constant in every image as the skies change from a patchwork of cloud, to brooding darkness and into glorious blue. To me, that’s Manchester in a nutshell.”

On behalf of the Embankment JV company, Ask Real Estate Managing Director John Hughes said: “We are delighted to have supported Robert Watson’s exhibition. The photographs provide a fascinating insight to how Manchester has changed over the past five years. 
“Robert has also recorded our Embankment scheme in images and compiled a series of time-lapses. Embankment 101 is due to complete this July.”

The Very Reverend Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester, added: “Manchester Cathedral is delighted to be able to host this exhibition, as a place where the cities of Manchester and Salford were born over 1,000 years ago. The exhibition gives us a great opportunity to look out and to see how we continue to grow and make a major impact in the world.”

The 360/365/MCR exhibition runs from Friday, March 4 to Friday, March 11 in the Regimental Chapel.  It is FREE for the public to view during normal Manchester Cathedral visiting hours, subject to times of religious services.  Limited edition prints of each of the photographs on display will be available to buy.