The steps are made from the highly distinctive Balmoral Red (from Finland - true) with its black and red minerals. Another Ďredí building followed. this time the Manchester International Convention Centre with its Permian Locharbriggs sandstone. Bedding could clearly be seen which seemed to be determined by grain size.
Passing Rosa Porrino granite (Spain), St Louis nephaline syenite (Portugal), yellow French limestone containing large gastropods and Rapakivi (Baltic Brown) granite left us reeling and glad to reach the warm red Permian Penrith Sandstone of the John Rylands Library.
It was just a pity that the extension has used heat treated copper which doesnít fit either in look or colour. Sometimes architects donít get it right.
It was disappointing to note that in Spinningfields Square, it had been considered preferable (read cheaper) to import a silver grey granite from Jinjiang in China than use a British granite for paving slabs. A darker variety has been used in Hardman Square for a water feature which canít be used because of vandalism.
Lunch found us in the new Exchange Court (an addition to the Arndale Centre). Here the floor is formed by Verde Maritaca, a Brazilian migmatite where fold structures can be seen. The stone was first folded then partial melted and this can easily be seen. it is however not common to see. Other stones in the area seemed to come from the four corners of the world: Impala Black, a South African basalt, Brazilian Samba white gneiss and Sardinian Grey granite and Jurassic Jura Grey limestone from Solenhofen in Germany. This latter rock had wonderful examples of ammonites, belemnites and sponges together with what are thought to be bacterial masses.
We moved back outside and finally found more British rock: Welsh slate from Bethesda/Nant Ffrancon in purple and green and some Stanton Moor Sandstone. As we walked towards what was the Ďfinancialí area but now has lots of cafes and shops, we found Norwegian Larvikite, lots and lots: Blue Pearl and Emerald Pearl plus more Finnish Rapakavi granite. Primark (the old Lewisís building) had serpentinite in its doorways.
That had proved a mistake: it was badly weathering. Its sheen had gone and it was crumbly. Had it been positioned inside the doors, it would probably have been fine but Manchester weather and traffic pollution have almost ruined it.
Our walk finished on Mosley Street where in a doorway one might have otherwise ignored, a beautiful example of Imperial Mahogany could be seen. This is a Precambrian granite from South Dakota. Its distinguishing feature is blue quartz. Yes, the crystals do have a blue hue to them when viewed through a handlens.