Bus Station – Stockport

From the early part of the Twentieth Century trams and then buses stopped and started in Mersey Square, affording limited succour, space or shelter for the weary traveller.

22942

View from the Fire Station Tower.

10891

View from the Plaza Steps.

The land where the bus station currently stands was then owned and used by North Western Buses – a rather large and uncultivated plot.

pd hancock 78

Work began in April 1979 on a brand new bus station, the first stage finally opening on March 2nd 1982.

14406

Slowly emerging from the rough ground – a series of glass and steel boxes worthy of that master of minimalism Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a Neue Nationalgalerie in miniature.

79

1979 copy

81

Photographs from Stockport Image Archive

It has stood and withstood the winds of change and perfidious public transport policy, the privatisation of the service, snatched greedily from local authority control.

Passengers have met and parted, whilst buses of every hue and stripe have departed from these draughty boxes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 17.13.54

Photograph from Victory Guy

There are now plans for imminent demolition and rebuilding – shaping a transport hub fit for the Twenty First Century – Space Age forms for a brave new world.

A new £42m transport interchange in Stockport town centre has taken a step forward after the local council agreed key measures to back the project.

Screen-Shot-2017-09-19-at-07.02.03

Untitled-1

April 9th 2017 here is my photographic record of the Bus Station, I’ve been, gone and come back again countless times through the years.

P1240953 copy

P1240954 copy

P1240456

P1240429

P1240431

P1240441

P1240445

P1240446

P1240447

P1240457

P1250012

P1250013

P1240459

P1240460

P1240462

P1240470

P1240472

P1240473

P1240474

P1240475

P1240476

P1240478

P1240479

P1240484

P1240485

P1240487

P1240488

P1240490

P1240507

P1240512

P1240514

P1240515

 

 

Merseyway – Stockport

Once there was a river there, formed by the thunder of Irish Sea ice gouging a great glacial valley, bowling along boulders and millstone grit through phyllosilicate clays and sedimentary sandstone.

27983074_10215926263608490_3556820789336334741_o

Then there wasn’t.

The Mersey, formed in Stockport as the Tame and Goyt conjoined, inconveniently filled with industrial grime and mire, then conveniently covered over in 1936.

16066

Creating the thoroughly modern thoroughfare Merseyway.

43094

The giant concrete culvert and bridge leaving the river cowering cautiously below.

11889

Of time and a river – little stands still and the town is whisked briskly into the late Twentieth Century with plans for a pedestrianised precinct.

15162

Completed and opened in 1965 the shopping precinct was concrete poetry in motion, incorporating the surrounding topography and extant architecture with grace and aplomb. Combining retail, restaurants and car parking facilities in a manner that critic Iain Nairn considered to be amongst the finest in the land.

4906

We had travelators, integrated paving, street furniture, and lighting across several levels. A carefully considered whole, combining all that was best in modern design with style, élan and panache – along with Freeman, Hardy and Willis.

16347

34942

44282

A clock tower, an Alan Boyson concrete car park screen and public art.

17379

19366

Would that it was still so, a variety of additions and subtractions have left Merseyway in architectural limbo, concrete legs akimbo across the river below, striding towards the future in a more than somewhat bewildered manner.

Yet we still continue cast our eyes upwards towards a clock that isn’t there, ride a non-existent walkway to the sky, try on an imaginary crop-top in C&A’s Clockhouse.

11408

17376

25379

17594

Photographs Stockport Image Archive

 

 

 

Lansbury Tower – London

Neither wrought from purest ivory, nor containing some woe begotten, long gone, misplaced Rapunzel, but conceived as a democratic symbol of a new age of concrete, brick and steel.

Frederick Gibberd’s almost triumphal tower interlocks zig-zag diamonds of cast concrete upwards towards a silently clicking clock, at the head of the Chrisp Street Market.

Lewis Mumford wrote of the adjoining Lansbury Estate:  

Its design has been based not solely on abstract aesthetic principles, or on the economics of commercial construction, or on the techniques of mass production, but on the social constitution of the community itself, with its diversity of human interests and human needs.

15631.1.434.434.FFFFFF

I was privileged to ascend the internal staircase, once open to the public – now reserved for high days, holidays and nosey northern interlopers. Having mildly vertiginous inclinations when so inclined, I gingerly went up in the world and leaned out to take the air and the view.

And this is what I saw.

P1130755 copy

P1130757 copy

P1130758 copy

P1130759 copy

P1130760 copy

P1130761 copy

P1130762 copy

P1130763 copy

P1130765 copy

P1130766 copy

P1130768 copy

P1130770 copy

P1130771 copy

P1130773 copy

P1130775 copy

P1130777 copy

P1130778 copy

P1130825 copy