"What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow"
The remarkable rise of Manchester began around the end of the 19th Century, when what was then a small market town began to grow at an astonishing rate, quickly expanding to become the world's leading industrial centre and a pioneer in science and technology.
400 years ago Manchester was a small but bustling market town where traders from all over Lancashire brought their wool for trading. It was in the 1720s when canals linking Manchester to the port of Liverpool opened Manchester and her wool up to the world. These canals forged the famous partnership between the two cities that sling-shotted northwest England to global industrial dominance.
Symbolic of the changes in the transportation system over the last century, the Rochdale Canal by Bloom Street has since been filled in and turned into a parking lot. Cheap transport along Manchester's extensive canal network helped propel the city to the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Since then trucks and freight trains have supplanted the canal barges as the chief means of commercial transport, leaving many canals to be filled in or merely used by pleasure craft.
Little about the buildings has changed at the intersection of Portland and Princess Street, save the products being advertised on the wall.
Sunday school pupils fill the streets for the uniquely Manchester tradition of Whitwalk. On Whitfriday, the first Friday after Pentecost, children from Sunday schools of all denominations would put on their best new dresses and trousers and walk to Albert Square to sing "God Save the King." I'm not entirely confident I got the exact right spot, but I am close as the original photo was taken on Portland Street.
Timber framing goes up as buildings are replaced on Back Turner Street near the former site of the Shudehill Market.
Another shot of construction, this time workers are repairing damage from ground subsidence on Birchin Lane near High Street.
Saint Paul's Church once stood at this spot on Turner Street, near the junction with Tibb Street. Built in the 1870s, it was considered architecturally significant for the way it fused Victorian styles with those of the 14th Century. It was demolished in the 1960s (or 80s, depending on the source) to make way for a car park.
An engraving by Edward Finden of Blackfriars Bridge. The bridge was built in 1820, replacing an older footbridge built by a company of comedians who wanted people to be able to walk to their shows in Salford. In the 1870s the open balustrade (railings) were replaced with iron ones to hide the extremely polluted river from the view of the pedestrians on the bridge. In the last decade concrete and stone balustrades were put in, giving the bridge its current appearance.
Manchester Cathedral and Victoria Bridge as seen from Blackfriar's Bridge. At this early period in Manchester's development slums can clearly be seen on both sides of the river. The Gothic style cathedral was largely built around the end of the 15th Century. The cathedral was damaged by bombing during the Blitz and by the massive IRA truck bomb that detonated in the city centre in 1996. The bridge in the now photo is the Old Salford Bridge which dated back to the 14th Century, while the modern bridge was completed in 1840, shortly after this engraving was made.
A building on Dutton Street off New Bridge Road in Cheetham.
A view up Fennel Street from Corporation Street. The buildings on the right have been demolished and is now the site of the National Football Museum.
The Corn Exchange on Corporation Street, home to a very lively trading floor after the building's construction in 1897. Today Corporation Street has been blocked off for extensive reconstruction work.
Looking up Thomas Street. At the far right old buildings have been removed to make way for the massive new Arndale Shopping Centre.
A group of men carefully appraise a horse on the corner of High Street and Thomas Street. Pictures like these are a reminder that streets were once public places where people could walk, congregate and conduct business. Since the proliferation of cars only the most foolhardy loiter in the middle of a street.
Bagshaw's Court on Shudehill. Assuming I've got the position exactly right (which I'm reasonably confident I did) the court and all the buildings in the photo have been replaced with an empty lot and a billboard.
Dramatic changes are also visible just up Shudehill at the intersection of Swan Street.
Looking up Hanover Street from Shudehill. Today the skyline is dominanted by the ultra-modern CIS Tower.
And just a block up Hanover Street, this time looking down Riga Street. You can see this building in the last photo. A lot of buildings have been removed and the roads straightened out.
Men outside the Rising Sun Hotel and Concert Room.
A mounted policeman observes traffic at the corner of Oldham and Ancoats. The small windshield on the car is a reminder of how uncomfortable an experience driving once was, especially in inclement weather. Shortly after this photo was taken fully enclosed cabs on cars became the standard.
A postcard of Oldham Street shows the degree to which many buildings have been preserved. And of course we can see how dramatically women's fashions have changed over the course of a century.
People cross the street along Oldham Street, a shot taken a few metres back from where the previous postcard image was taken. Though both this image and the previous postcard are dated to 1900, it is clear that this photograph is older as the rather plain buildings on the left have been demolished and replaced with the more ornate Victorian style building.
Heavily laden carts roll into Shudehill Market on a busy day. After the Second World War, bomb damage and declining interest led the market eventually to close and much of it was demolished. Today the area has been redeveloped as a high-end condo and shopping district, and only part of the market's facade on the left remains.