It’s Friday, the rain has almost stopped and I have a job to do.
The putative William Mitchell totem in Eastford Square is being moved.
Having taken a particular interest in this particular piece of public art for some time – I need to go and take a little look.
But what will we see along the way, as we hasten along Rochdale Road?
Which once looked like this, way back when in 1904.
Though some things inevitably come and go, as some things are prone to do.
The city is undergoing yet another reinvention as Manchester becomes – an attractive place to invest and do business.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Once there was a gas works here – adjoining Gould Street, seen here in 1958.
The Gould Street Gas Works was a gas manufacturing plant located in Manchester, England. Originally built in 1824, the plant was operated by the Manchester Corporation Gas Department and was in operation from 1833 to 1969. It was named after the street on which it was located, which was named after John Gould, who was a prominent Manchester businessman in the 19th century.
The Gasworks New Town neighbourhood is one of seven envisioned by the £4bn Victoria North masterplan. It will feature nine buildings ranging from 8 to 34 storeys. The 6.6-acre site has most recently been home to a car park but the green development will overwhelmingly prioritise walking and cycling over driving. It will result in tens of millions of pounds being pumped into the city’s economy over the lifetime of the development.
Plans for a trailblazing city centre regeneration scheme that will create more than 1200 homes has been approved by Manchester City Council.
A total of 85 of the 1200, will be affordable homes available through Shared Ownership.
Though as of March 31st 2023 ground is yet to be broken, no signs of the:
New centre of gravity for central Manchester that will create thousands of jobs and inject tens of millions of pounds into the city’s economy.
So you zig-zag wanderers, make the most of these wide open expanses of affordable car parking, while you can.
The future may yet be here today – or the next.
Let’s duck under the railway, through this sad damp pedestrian tunnel – the domain of the cash strapped daytime drinker, transient tagger and disaffected leaflet distributor.
Next thing you know you have emerged into the daylight on Dalton Street – we have been here before seeking the Collyhurst Cowboy.
Photograph: Dennis Hussey
Onwards to Eastford Square.
The shops and maisonettes are due to be demolished any day now – no longer to gaze open-eyed upon the former quarry of Sandhills.
Around the front the diggers have been a digging – digging up around the base of the totem.
The work is to be re-sited by the nearby tower blocks.
The end is nigh.
Heading now for Collyhurst Road and the Irk Valley – seen here in 1960.
Looking back on the Square and the Dalton Street flats – Humphries, Dalton, Roach, Vauxhall and Moss Brook Courts under construction.
Vauxhall Street now but a shadow of its former self – the last traces of industry long gone.
Reclaimed over time by trees and dense underbrush.
Crossing Collyhurst Road and up and over the railway via Barney’s Steps also known as the Lowry Steps.
By the late 1950’s the whole of this area which we called Barney’s Tip became a refuse tip for Manchester City Council.
The area is in the process of being reconfigured as a delightful country park.
The investment will also help develop an initial phase of the planned City River Park incorporating St Catherine’s Wood as part of a network of public open space, including improvements along the River Irk and works to improve flood resilience, unlocking the potential of the Irk Valley that will characterise the wider Northern Gateway project.
The first phase of the City River Park will begin work to transform former railway architecture to develop the new Viaduct Linear Park north of Victoria Train Station, new stepped public realm space – Red Bank Terraces, along with new green space by the River Irk and the key improvements to St Catherine’s Wood.
The Victoria North Express is coming your way!
Pressing on we pass the Showman’s quarters.
Collingham Street is lined with trucks, trailers, stalls and mobile homes.
But there’s nothing temporary about this Cheetham Hill neighbourhood; most residents have lived here for years and many plan to spend the rest of their lives here.
Founded more than forty years ago, it was created by the Showman’s Guild of Great Britain – and it’s reserved exclusively for fairground workers both retired and current.
Built on Queens Road tip, a former rubbish dump, and rented out by Manchester Council, many of the 52 homes belong to older retired showmen or families for whom an itinerant lifestyle has become more challenging.
It’s a close-knit community with a unique shared history.
Emerging eventually onto Rayburn Way.
Home to the Eden Girls Leadership Academy and Eden Boys Leadership Academy.
And a whole host of delightful light industrial units.
Let’s all go west – along North Street.
On the corner of Derby Street and Honey Street we find Hamnett & Andrew – Insuflex Works
Later transformed into Linen Hire, though I fear that further linen hire may well be in abeyance, on a permanent basis.
What was happening at the Queens Arms back in 1966?
These were the older premises.
Then next door, the newer premises.
Photo: Alison G
The Queens Arms was held in high regard amongst the real ale crowd and had been a regular fixture in the Good Beer Guide.
As recently as 2007 it was named the City Life Pub of the Year,
Empress Brewery Co Ltd – 383 Chester Road, Old Trafford.
Registered as above May 1896 – 236 public houses.
Acquired by Walker Cain Ltd. 1929 and brewing ceased.
The pub was extended in 1987.
Seen here in 2015 closed for the foreseeable.
Recently becoming Flamingo – well strike me pink!
Though not without its own particular issues it would seem, according to the MEN.
The licensing out of hours team has received noise complaints relating to the premises which was found to be open beyond permitted hours when visited. Officers also identified breaches of the Health Act during inspections in which people were seen smoking shisha pipes in an enclosed extension at the back.
We will leave the Flamingo be and head back into town – but not without giving a nod to this confusing collision between this self-made scrapyard-man chic gate and the ever changing skyline of overheated urban regeneration.
The new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Archival photographs – Manchester Local Image Collection