Runcorn and Manchester: Home of Metrohm UK
Metrohm UK’s office and labs are located in Runcorn, between Liverpool and Manchester. The team shares an open-plan office, which they make sure never gets too quiet, as the very communicative team enjoys getting involved in some office chitchat. When James Downs, sales account manager northwest England, and Becki Catterall, marketing manager, wanted to show me around Runcorn, their question what nice places there are to see provoked some laughter among the team. We did find a nice place to see anyway: the medieval Norton Priory, or rather its remains and the beautiful gardens surrounding it—a nice, quiet place to take a walk in the shade of blooming trees. However, that’s about it when it comes to sights in Runcorn.
Runcorn may not be the most interesting or picturesque place in the UK, but the industrial town is a perfect location for Metrohm UK, as many Metrohm customers are located close by. James and I visited one of them, Exova Jones Environmental in Deeside, the contract lab that sent the winning team to Metrohm UK’s soccer tournament. Deeside is in Wales, a fact that I only found out while writing this blog post—so I was in Wales without even knowing it (as it’s all part of the UK, there are no visible borders).
Clare Llowarch, Inorganics Manager, showed us around the lab, large parts of which are Metrohm green. In the lab, you can see Metrohm Autosamplers loaded with muddy soil samples everywhere. Exova Jones Environmental is the UK market leader in contaminated land analysis and specializes in environmental forensics. «Our customers trust our results. People know that we are not the cheapest, but the best», Clare explained to us and, before I could speak the thought out loud, added: «Kind of like Metrohm.»
Vibrant Manchester at a Stone’s Throw
Lucky for me, Runcorn is near Manchester, which has a lot more to offer. Manchester used to be a working-class city and was one of the centers of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. At this time, the worker bee has been adopted as the symbol for Manchester. After the Manchester Arena bombing of last year, the worker bee has become popular as a symbol for the Mancunians’ unity against terrorism. Bees can be found everywhere throughout the city in the form of sculptures and street art, for example. Even the breakfast eggs served in my hotel each had little bees drawn on them.
When you’re in Manchester, you can feel that you’re far away from the government and the monarchy. Instead, the city is all about the people. Streets are lined with small red brick houses. Independent shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés can be found everywhere. While English cuisine might not be world-renowned, migrants from India and the Middle East, among others, have enriched it with a wide range of new flavors that have been fused with the traditional local cuisine.
A short way outside the city center at Manchester Docks is the new district MediaCityUK, which is crowded with modern glass and metal buildings. Various English media have moved part of their activities here, close to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium (home of Manchester United, as many soccer fans will know), following the BBC. Ever since, cafés, bars, and restaurants have opened in the area and it has become a great place to have a drink by the water when the weather is nice.