Manchester Time Piece

On Midsummer's Day, 21st June 2011, Tern Collective, a collaboration between Annie Harrison, Jude Macpherson and Jacqueline Wylie, created Manchester Time Piece, transforming Manchester into a giant sundial, with the iconic Beetham Tower as the gnomon (shadow-maker). We spent the longest day following the shadow. Hour by hour, we marked its position, and the passage of time, by leaving a photograph of the Tower where the shadow fell. The project was followed by the Guardian's Northerner blog, and a number of other news outlets including the Manchester Evening News, who animated a shadow map on their website, updating it every hour as we revealed our position. 

The Beetham Tower, from Castlefield.
The Beetham Tower, from Castlefield.

Each hour, on the hour, from 7am to 7pm, on the longest day of the year, Tern Collective marked the place of the shadow of the Beetham Tower, turning Manchester into a giant sundial.

7am
7am

Each hour, we left a photograph of the Beetham Tower to mark the position of its shadow.

9am
9am

By 9am we were at Duke Street behind Castlefield, leaving an image of the Beetham Tower on a lamp-post.

2pm
2pm

By 2pm, we were directly below the Tower, looking up at it from the point where its shadow fell.

3pm
3pm

The next hour saw us in a run-down side street, marking 3pm

5pm
5pm

By 5pm the shadow had reached the other side of the tramlines, near the Bridgewater Hall.

Tern Collective
Tern Collective

The idea of the project came from a collection of photographs by Jackie Wylie, and our common interest in the city landscape. This photo was taken by the Manchester Evening News photographer for their article, reporting on us every hour.

Shadow plan.
Shadow plan.

This shadow plan was very kindly created for us by the architects of the Beetham Tower, Ian Simpson Architects.

7pm
7pm

The sun finally came out in time for us to see the shadow of the tower at 7pm, on the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal.