Church Street, 1930 (Right side is now Tesco, The Light Apartments, Unicorn pub, car park & remaining corner of building hosting Tib Street Horn) 
Image: Manchester Libraries Ref m01039

The Tib Street Horn is about to be "put into storage" - this is Mancunian code for melted down; sold off; scrapped; lost forever, at least it has proven to be thus far. In fact a prestigious few have been rehoused: Oliver Cromwell once situated outside Exchange Station is now standing tall in Wythenshawe Part, and the obelisk from the end of Market Street is now a monument for Crumpsall Park, but this, this horn, it's not being rehoused it's being "put into storage". Farewell sweet horn. It's worth adding that the horn is the most fundamentally important public art in the Northern Quarter in that it was the piece put in place to make a statement, a clarion call for other works and artists, the gateway sculpture that announced the area's identity as one of creativity, and a home for D.I.Y or independent cultures to grow. 

And why? What dazzling new gem will take its place? What piece of independent art comes next? This one...

Let's look at this bobby dazzler of a line from the M.E.N "The ‘Tibst’ joint-venture scheme has been dubbed ‘Citu NQ’."


Let's break that down to it's vital statistics: "Tibst" and "Citu NQ"



Taxi Driver: Where to mate?

Me: Tibst

TD: Um, like what, a good place for a curry?

Me: No, Tibst, not tips.

TD: So its..? It's, what, a bar? Is it, is it in Manchester? 

Me: No pal, not a bar, it's just Tibst, yeah? It's in the citu.

TD: In the what?

Me: The citu.

TD: ...


Tibst has been dubbed Citu NQ, but what's Tibst if not a dubbing? See that new development, dub that! Dub it quick, and make it a good dubbing - one that seems to have too few vowels. Dubbed? Good. Now redub it. Redub it but make it seem like a word with one too many vowels. 

The issue really is new builds - residential ones. Let's cash in on the uniqueness and creativity of this area by selling flats in such prime estate, but in doing so let's remove all teh things that make it unique in the first place. The horn is a real kick int he teeth becuase the entire point of it was as a beacon to attract people to the area, to annoucne its creative roots, to act as, as Terry Wykes so perfectly puts it "a arger 'gateway' scultpure [which] would assist in establishing the area's identity as the city's 'creative quarter'."

It beggars belief really that the developers see no issue with removing this to make way for their development, that by dismantling the area piece by piece this way it no longer exists as that desired location. Further up the road, the four elements mural on the side of Ride Low is to be obscured by another new build. 

The horn clings it's snakey form to the remains of an old hat factory, anecdotally it was demolished by accident and was listed, and the rest of the site is a car park. Far be it for me to stick up for a car park but this one is fine, it serves a pirpose not just as a car park but a way to let in light, to provide a sign of relief on Churhc Street, this is the perfect location in fact for an actual real life park, imagine that! For now I like to imagine it's a high concept arts park - the horn a giant tree on it's edges, the cars mecahnical totems harking back to industrial heritage. OR something. Parks on the rooftops....

The issue with much of this stuff is that it was funded and installed but then backed away from - so in fact the horn hasn't been mainteined in almost two decades, and I'm sure that'll play part in the dossier of reasons to remove it "temporarily". None of the original trail has been maintained, in some instances that art arguably should be removed, or rehoused