Macclesfield Railway Station

Where the Victorians modelled their stations on cathedrals, temples and palaces.

Modern Man models his on shopping centre and office blocks.

Richards and MacKenzie – The Railway Station

Though it seems to me that Macclesfield Station, in its earlier and current states, refuses to dovetail neatly into either of these sloppy binary paradigms.

macclesfield_central_1900.s

The former – single storey buildings, fitting unostentatiously into the topographic and practical constraints of the site. A neat, tightly packed rhythm of brick arches with a compact and bijou porch welcoming the expectant traveller.

P1250546

The latter a functionalist block, fully utilitarian crossings with lift access columns, embodying a particularly industrial demeanour.

From the golden age of steam to the moribund years of diesel, Macclesfield sits comfortably somewhere, betwixt and between ugly duckling and fully fledged swan.

Nestled in the lea of the East Cheshire Highlands, offering practical everyday transport solutions to the beleaguered commuter.

No frills, no thrills.

macclesfield(harden4.1954)centrall_old4

c964acf720e0b759fda2f4788256c528

The London and North Western Railway opened the line between Manchester and Macclesfield on 19 June 1849 – Macclesfield Central was born. Later it would become a key station on the Stafford branch of the West Coast Main Line, remodelled in 1960 and rebranded as the much snappier Macclesfield Station.

Which it proudly announces topically and typographically to the world.

P1250547

Welcome to Macclesfield a town that is clearly going places, and so are you.

The station won the Best Kept Station in Cheshire Award for 2007, but was reported in summer 2011 to be distinctly shabby, with peeling paintwork.

And yet there is something in the constituent Platonic steel, glass and concrete forms that never ceases to amuse and amaze me, this is Brutalism on a human and provincial scale.

The raw concrete softened with three or four shades of grey, as a concession to the delicate suburban sensibilities of this once silk-fuelled town.

Take a trip with me – join the Cheshire train set.

P1250548

P1250549

P1250550

P1250551

P1250552

P1250553

P1250554

P1250555

P1250557

P1250558

P1250560

P1250564

P1250565

P1250566

 

 

Heaton Mersey Vale – Stockport

A mighty river valley was formed in the second Ice Age, as the glaciers receded and rushed seaward.

The mighty River Mersey was formed on the eastern edge of Stockport, at the confluence of the Tame and Goyt/Etherow rivers.

Thousands of years in the making, as the water-powered mills of the adjacent Pennine Hills migrate to the lower reaches of the towns, in search of water, workers and steam, the full force of the Industrial Revolution takes shape in the west.

The mixed farming of the alluvial valley, which opens up onto the Lancashire and Cheshire Plains, meets and greets the incursion of dye and brick works, mills and manufacturing.

31891

Fred Schofield’s farm 1930

1963

View towards Stockport from Heaton Mersey Park

Serviced by a complex and competing rail system based around Heaton Mersey Shed.

edgeley2016-11

Opened in 1889 and served until May 1968 operating steam locomotives to the end -Coded 9F.

Heaton_Mersey rail map

Here we were at the centre of a rail hub spreading out in all directions, to and from the ports, cities and resources of the country and beyond.

Great movements of steel, cotton, coal, people and manufactured goods.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 19.27.37

38106

Fireman Eddy “Ned” Kelly

heaton(nigel_bruce7.1965)mersey_old7

Heaton Mersey railway station was opened on 1 January 1880 by the Midland Railway and lay on the newly opened line which ran from Heaton Mersey East Junction to Chorlton Junction and on to Manchester Central station.

The station was situated at the southern end of Station Road which still exists. The station was later operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway and was closed by the London Midland Region of British Railways on 3 July 1961.

The area was criss-crossed by railways – its bridges traversing the roads, fields and river, dominating the landscape in a wild flurry of steam and smoke.

2633

32822

32625936_2079214925657568_2140863625928114176_o

HeatonMerseyHLBridge3

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.04.03

Further photographs from Grip 99

Crossing the Mersey – the link between Gorsey Bank and the Shed

10220

Surviving until 2007

screen-shot-2018-05-16-at-10-17-14.png

B&W photographs Stockport Image Archive

The end of steam – as drivers, fireman and staff were transferred to Newton Heath, was followed by the slow demise of the rail network, freight moved to road and passengers purchasing their first cars and a passport to illusory freedom.

The mighty Mersey is now flanked by newer neighbours, a shiny blue administrative pyramid, business park, car showrooms and nature reserve, the only certainty is change.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.19.19

P1220916 copy

P1220917 copy

Great volumes of earth are moved to from a new topography a topography of leisure – the gentle stroll, jog and cycle replaces the clank of fire doors and shovel on coal.

NEW-GWEB

But take a look around you and you will see the remnants of the industrial age, shrouded in fresh hawthorn and enshrined in birch and beech.

P1250163

P1250164

P1250169

P1250178

P1250179

P1250180

P1250182

P1250185

P1250186

P1250187

To walk this landscape is to traverse geological, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial time – they all coexist and coalesce. Have an eye, ear and heart open to their resonance and presence, transcend time and space in the Mersey Valley today, you’re part of the leisured generation.

 

ICL Tower – Gorton Manchester

Designed by architects Cruikshank and Seward in the Sixties, to house the cutting-edge computing power of the time, the ICT later ICL Tower, towered over Wenlock Way, Gorton in East Manchester.

A landmark for many from bus, train, car, Shanks’s pony or low flying VC10.

A place of work for thousands.

7500908638_b289e691ec_b

At a time when modern technology looked a little like this:

res49d

resi

Sadly ending like this:

S1031451

Two weeks into the demolition process the east elevation is no more, revealing a concrete honeycomb of torn steel and fresh air.

A few weeks time and it will be little more than so much dust and memories.

P1240074

P1240078

P1240079

P1240080

P1240084

P1240088

P1240089

P1240091

P1240092

P1240093

P1240099

P1240102

P1240105

P1240107

P1240108

P1240110

P1240113

Strangeways #3 – Black and White World

I’ve been here for the last fifteen years on and off, snapping away, capturing something of the area’s ever changing moods, the old, the new, the borrowed and the blue.

Wading through the archives, or searching for the remains of modernity.

On this occasion I have chosen to work on black and white film – the medium conveying something timeless, at a time when things are forever changing.

Let’s take a contradictory look and walk around those familiar, unfamiliar streets of Strangeways – where colourfully clad industrial barn, collides with blackened brick and stone behemoth.

Scan 2

Scan 3

Scan 4

Scan 5

Scan 6

Scan 7

Scan 10

Scan 11

Scan 12

Scan 13

Scan 14

Scan 15

Scan 17

Scan 8

Scan 18

Scan 20

Scan 21

Scan 22

Scan 23

Scan 24

Scan 25

Strangeways Manchester #2

Way back in the Twentieth Century – Cheetwood Industrial Estate was built.

The future was functionalist flat-roofed, concrete, steel and brick boxes.

Adorned with the flowing scripts and signage of the multi-nationals, nationals and local companies, intent upon rendering corporeal the post-war optimism, attendant full-employment and the buoyant business of business.

Fast forward to the future – the roofs have been pitched up, the windows bricked up or shuttered or both, walls encased in sad cladding.

The semi-permanent signage replaced with terminally temporary vinyl.

Joe Sunlight’s neo-classical pediments have been painted a funny colour.

P1000135 copy

P1000157 copy

P1000217 copy

P1000218 copy

P1000223 copy

P1000229 copy

P1000231 copy

P1000234 copy

P1000235 copy

P1000252 copy

P1000255 copy

P1190103 copy

P1190104 copy

P1190106 copy

P1190111 copy

P1190112 copy

P1190114 copy

P1190117 copy

P1190385 copy

P1190387 copy

P1190388 copy

P1190391 copy

P1190398 copy

 

Strangeways Manchester #1

Strangeways?

– How strange.

The Strangeways family themselves are certainly recorded in antiquity at the site, although the name appears differently over time; Strongways in 1306, Strangewayes in 1349 and Strangwishe in 1473. In the late 1500s in records at Manchester Cathedral the surname is spelt Strangwaies.

My thanks to Thomas McGrath for his – Long Lost Histories: Strangeways Hall, Manchester

Before panopticon prisons entered the public imagination, and incarceration was the order of the day for the disorderly, it was all fields around here – with the odd house or baronial hall.

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 15.08.30

Swire’s map of 1824

Strange days, over time the prison is built, the assizes appears and disappears and tight groups of tired houses cluster around the incipient industry. The fiefdom’s of old become tie and tithe to successions of industrial plutocrats.

webmedia.php copy

webmedia.php

Broughton Street 1910Photograph J Jackson

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 15.10.54

Kelly’s map of 1920

The area becomes the centre of the city’s rag trade, a large Jewish Community, the largest outside of London, grows up around Strangeways, Cheetwood and Cheetham Hill – houses, mills, wholesale, retail, warehouse, ice palace, beer-house, brewery. The area is home to several of Joe Sunlight’s inter-war industrial developments – his Jewish family were named Schimschlavitch, his father a cotton merchant. The family emigrated to England in 1890 and settled in Manchester.

So much for Joe Soap – the area was also the location for local lads, Karl Marx, and Marks & Spencer.

v0_medium

Derby Street 1901 – 1924

Further developments took place with the building of the Cheetwood Industrial Estate – a postwar group of flat-rooved, blocky brick and concrete utilitarian units.

So let’s take a look at the ever so strange streets of Strangeways, in that period of change during the latter part of the Twentieth Century, when manufacturing, retail, repair and distribution were almost, just about to disappear in a puff of globalisation, economic depression and Thatcherism. Where Jack and Jill the lads and lasses, traded, ducked, dived, wheeler dealed from Cortinas, Transits and low milage, one owner, luxuriously leather-seated and walnut-dashed Jags. A vanishing or vanished world, where however briefly – Manchester went architecturally mod.

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-7.php

webmedia.php

Bent Street

webmedia-4.php

webmedia-6.php

webmedia-7.php

webmedia-9.php

webmedia-13.php

Broughton Street

webmedia-1.php

webmedia.php

Carnarvon Street

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-2.php

webmedia.php

Chatley Street

webmedia-5.php

webmedia-9.php

webmedia-10.php

webmedia-4.php

Cheetwood Street

webmedia-3.php

webmedia-5.php

webmedia-8.php

webmedia-9.php copy

webmedia-11.php

webmedia-12.php

webmedia-18.php

Derby Street

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-2.php

webmedia.php

Julia Street

webmedia-1.php

webmedia-2.php

webmedia-3.php

webmedia-5.php

webmedia-6.php

webmedia-8.php

webmedia.php

Knowsely Street

webmedia.php

webmedia-8.php

webmedia-5.php

webmedia-3.php

Sherbourne Street

webmedia.php

Stocks Street

All archival photographs from the Manchester Local Images Collection

 

 

Gorsey Bank – Stockport #3

Once there were homes – 200 homes tucked between the M60, River Mersey and A560 Stockport Road.

2253

 

I’ve been here before, many times, seen those homes demolished and the site returning  to nature, brambled and overgrown, as the long standing lampposts disappeared for scrap, the kerbs covered in thick grass and moss.

DSC_0011 copy

Then the diggers arrived, the trees felled and the site cleared – no longer any trace remained of the lost homes of Gorsey Bank.

P1100079 copy

Building commences, steel erected, fences, roads and paths instated.

P1110236 copy

Welcome to the Aurora Industrial Park – open for business.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 15.38.37

Emerging from the houses, the undergrowth, the Mersey clay and sandstone – a shiny new assemblage of state of the art industrial sheds. I’ll  wander by from time to time, listen to the ghostly chatter of busy neighbours, going about their business.

Wait for the trees and brambles to take over again.

P1220877

P1220878

P1220882

P1220884

P1220885

P1220887

P1220889

P1220892

P1220893

P1220894

P1220899

P1220901

P1220905

P1220906

P1220908

P1220909

P1220911