Manchester has come a long way since its humble beginnings back in 79 AD. From Roman fort to ‘Cottonopolis’, the king of the industrial revolution. It was ravaged by unemployment under Thatcher’s government. Its centre was rebuilt from scratch following the IRA bombing of 1996. The city’s long and turbulent history has left it in a permanent state of flux, constantly remodelling itself. It has undergone a series of regenerations that have left their mark on the architecture, people and local culture.
Check out the 6 photos below to see how Manchester has changed over the last 50 years. Just drag your cursor across the picture to slide from old to new.
Halle Square, Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre
The Manchester Arndale was built in the 1970s at a cost of around £100 million. Today it boasts over 200 stores and is the third-largest city centre shopping mall in Europe.
On Saturday 15th June 1996, the IRA detonated a bomb on Corporation Street, in the heart of the city. It was the largest bomb detonated in Britain since World War II and consequently it caused extensive damage. The whole area was more or less destroyed as a result of the bombing. Therefore it has since undergone extensive renovations. It is now home to some of the city’s most important buildings. These include the Manchester Arndale, Exchange Square and the Wheel of Manchester. It also includes The Printworks and Urbis. The new footbridge that can be seen in the photo was completed in 1999.
Lively Market Street is a pedestrianised shopping area in the city centre. It is known for its eclectic variety of street performers. George Sampson, the 2008 winner of TV talent show Britain’s Got Talent, used to street dance here.
One of the Manchester’s busiest hubs, Piccadilly Gardens remains one of the city’s more controversial areas. It’s taken on many faces over its history. It has been home to a ‘lunatic asylum’ as well as the pretty Victorian gardens seen in the picture below. Its current incarnation is the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. He erected a concrete wall to shield pedestrians from the transport interchange. The design was heavily criticized. There has been a recent petition to return the square to its former glory.
Indoor Market, Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre
The Arndale Centre Indoor Market provides a great antidote to the fast food chains and high street shops surrounding it. It offers an eclectic range of food stalls. As a result, here you will find everything from Jamaican jerk chicken to freshly squeezed juices. There is also an excellent fish market, fresh fruit, veg and meat stalls, clothes shops and even hairdressers and tattoo parlours.
This little nook beside Oxford Road Train Station is located beside Oxford Street. This was a major 18th century road leading from Manchester to Oxford and eventually Southampton. It is home to the Palace Theatre, Manchester History Museum, two universities, and the Whitworth Art Gallery. Eventually it turns into Wilmslow Road, the location of Curry Mile. Consequently, here you will find the highest concentration of Asian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent!
Historic images kindly supplied by the Slide Library at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Cover photo Flickr © Stacey MacNaught