Then and Now is a fascinating look back at how things have changed and uses a before-after-slider to compare two images. Instead of displaying them side by side, the before-after slider provides a responsive, touch enabled tool to reveal and hide the after image over the before image.
We are standing in King Street, looking down towards Cross Street, with Cheapside crossing over in the immediate foreground. And what’s that classically-porticoed building on the right-hand side in front of us? That’s Manchester Town Hall, no less. Before the present town hall was built in 1877, the city’s hub was on this site. Built in 1825, it was for some years the home of Mr Hallé’s Classical Chamber Concerts, a series which in its time was the entertainment of choice for Manchester’s social elite, attracting novelist Mrs Gaskell and her husband, the minister of next-door Cross Street Chapel, among others.
The old town hall became a library, and the site today is occupied by a building erected for Lloyd’s Bank. But little of the remaining vista has changed. The columns of the old town hall façade were re-erected in Heaton Park in 1912. (Photo from: Computerised Image Collection. Manchester Archive & Local Studies Unit, Central Library.)
One hundred and five years ago, this busy part of Oxford Road, Manchester was known as All Saints – as it is today. Then, of course, the cobbled road was full of horse-drawn wagons and trams, one of which was making its way to Withington, judging by the picture.
The area to the left of the picture was Grosvenor Square, with the classical portico of Chorlton-on- Medlock town hall in Cavendish Street – now part of Manchester Metropolitan University, as is the building alongside it, the Manchester College of Art, where L S Lowry was a student. Picture courtesy of Computerised Image Collection, Manchester Archive, Local Studies Unit, Central Library.
Here is one of Manchester’s most famous streets before it achieved its iconic status. Canal Street – in 1963, then a nondescript back street alongside the Rochdale Canal. Canal Street today, one of the most vibrant entertainment areas in Manchester – albeit at night – and the heart of the city’s Gay Village.
Not much has physically changed in the 40-odd years between the two pictures. Industry and businesses have moved out of the buildings and bars, clubs and restaurants have moved in, but the street scene remains largely the same. However, note that the tarmac in 1963 has now been ripped up to expose the cobbles which the city father of the 1960s obviously thought were rather old-fashioned.
This area of London Road, in city centre Manchester, has undergone plenty of changes since the photo was taken in 1914. However, as one of the main thoroughfares out of town, it has always been a busy place. Today, of course, the trams that made their way into Piccadilly have been replaced by Metrolink trams, and the horse and cart that can be seen trotting above wouldn’t stand a chance against the buses and cars of Manchester in 2006.
It’s interesting to see that the building just behind the traffic policeman’s head is still standing; today it houses the Rossetti Hotel. The companion building to its right has long gone, replaced by a modern and architecturally inferior row of shops that lead to Piccadilly Station approach. Photo from Computerised Image Collection. Manchester Archive & Local Studies Unit, Central Library.
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