The Evolution of Man(chester)
Manchester is one of the UK’s great cities. As well as being a historic trade centre, manufacturing capital, home of the music of the 1990s, and hosting one of Europe’s premier football teams, it’s now the business hub of the north and all round cool place to be.
The Manchester Evening News (my favourite paper!) ran an article recently about a photographer — Stephen Yates — who’s been taking photos of Manchester for almost 50 years. He’s amassed a collection of around 35,000 photos of Manchester, dating from the 1960s to 2010, which is now in the hands of Manchester Metropolitan University.
The university has been kind enough to upload these photos to Flickr for the world to see, and they give a great look into the past.
Here we have Market Street in 1989. As well as most of the shops being gone (the Currys has moved inside now), it looks completely different from today:
Much of the old beige design seen in 1989 has been removed to make way for glass surfaces, although some of it has remained, and can be seen at the far end of the street (to the left of the furthest tree).
This is Piccadilly Gardens in 1964. It’s amazing to see cranes working on the Piccadilly Tower (the building on the right), because frankly it feels like it’s always been there. Refreshingly, much of the grassy areas seen here have remained, although a few new restaurants and offices have appeared in the 47 years since this was taken.
Moving slightly south of the city centre, here we have Grosvenor Square and Oxford Road, taken in 1970 and 1965 respectively. I particularly like the view of the Manchester skyline here, showing just how much the city centre has grown upwards since the photo was taken.
The row of terraces seen on the right of Oxford Road have been demolished to make way for quite the collection of fast food restaurants, although the green area seen in both photos has been preserved, and in fact most of the trees are still standing.
These photos give a great look into how a city can evolve, yet still keep its distinct character. Imagine seeing how these places look in another 40 or so years!
Manchester Metropolitan University adds more photos to this collection daily, so we may revisit this theme in the future. In the meantime feel free to take a look at this fascinating archive on Flickr
- All ‘old style’ photos from [MMU on Flickr]
- Present day city centre photos from [Wikipedia]
- Grosvenor Square and Oxford road photos from [Google Street View]
This post was written by friend of Habitables Shaun, aka @surfitscrollit on twitter. A computer science third year in Manchester, a keen Apple fan, and all round tech savvy gent. He informs us he isn’t famous. shame.