Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look now.

Withy Grove Then Kingsway Now

Withy Grove

This shows Withy Grove in 1901 looking towards Corporation Street with Milner Street on the left.

Horse-drawn carts are still the main means of transport across the cobblestones although a trolleybus can be glimpsed in the distance.

Withy Grove was once the centre of newspaper publishing in Manchester. The Printworks entertainment venue now occupies the site of Edward Hulton’s original business established in 1873.

Kemsley House, at the corner of Withy Grove and Corporation Street, grew into the largest newspaper printing house in Europe from the 1930s onward. There was a press on the site until 1986.

Publisher Robert Maxwell bought the property for £1 and then closed it down. It lay derelict for more than a decade.

Kemsley House was redeveloped as part of the city’s recovery programme after the IRA bomb attack in 1996.

The Printworks leisure and entertainment complex was opened by Sir Alex Ferguson and singer Lionel Richie in 2000.

Withy Grove, or Wythengreave as it was known, takes its name from a grove of willow trees that grew nearby when the busy street was just a country lane.

Kingsway Then Kingsway Now


Here is a view of Kingsway dating from 1935. The photograph shows the junction with Wilmslow Road on the left near the tower with Parrs Wood Lane on the right.

The tower is part of the former bus depot and is in front of the Tesco supermarket. Parrs Wood High School is on the right.

One of the major routes out of Manchester, Kingsway was constructed in stages from 1928 to 1930. The early dual carriageway was named after King George V and was one of the first purpose-built roads for motor vehicles.

The central reservation included a reserved track for trams until 1949 when Manchester Corporation Tramways ceased operation.

Kingsway was extended south across the River Mersea in 1959 to bypass Cheadle.

Parrs Wood High School was opened in 1967 as a co-educational comprehensive. It was completely rebuilt in 2000.

There are now 1,500 pupils at the main school with a further 400 Sixth Form students based at the 18th century Georgian villa Parrs Wood House.

Hyde Road Then Hyde Road Now

Hyde Road

Hyde Road and the Showcase Cinemas complex were built on the site of the former Belle Vue zoo and amusement park.

The Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium is just down the road while Gorton Park is opposite.

It was all very different in our original image taken at the turn of the century when horse-drawn carriages were still a common sight.

Tram tracks are still evident at the centre of the photo, although the cobblestones of Hyde Road clearly saw far less traffic than the tarmac of today.

A sign for Ashbury’s Station can just about be made out next to the horse and carriage. The station was opened in 1855 on the line from Manchester Store Street to Sheffield.

The 14-screen Belle Vue Showcase cinema opened on October 17th 1989. The neighbouring greyhound stadium staged its first race on July 24th 1926. It was the first oval track meeting held in Great Britain.

The stadium was the home of motorcycle speedway team Belle Vue Aces from 1988 to 2015.

Boggart Hole Clough Then Boggart Hole Clough Now

Boggart Hole Clough

This is Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley, as it was in 1910. It’s a postcard view looking down towards the Refreshment Rooms.

The land at Blackley, which now forms an urban country park, was bought by the Manchester Corporation in 1894 for the use of the people of the city.

The lake was created in 1909 at the same time as the lake in Platt Fields. One of the main reasons for carrying out the landscaping work was to provide employment in an economic slump.

Socialist leader Keir Hardie addressed open air meetings at Boggart Hole Clough and 15,000 attended a women’s suffrage demonstration there in July 1906.

The name may have come from the boggart or imp who haunted the family of Thomas Cheetham. He lived in a farmhouse on the Clough near White Moss.

The family decided to move out after a series of disturbances and packed all their possessions on a wagon. When a neighbour asked the farmer where they were going, a tiny voice from the milk churn said ‘We’re moving house.’

The farmer realised the boggart was going to follow them so he stayed put!

Chorlton Road Then Chorlton Road Now

Chorlton Road

This image is taken at the junction of Chorlton Road and Stretford Road in Hulme. The photographer is standing on Chorlton Road looking north towards the Mancunian Way roundabout.

The street on the right is Hyde Street. Today Yew Street stands in roughly the same place.

The area has been transformed since the original photo which dates from after the First World War. Gone are the cobblestones and tram tracks, as well as the Victorian houses and shops.

On the left a boy has just fallen over on the pavement outside the barber’s shop. A little girl is avidly reading a newspaper outside the newsagents.

Theatre bill posters are prominent on the left on Hyde Street. There were two theatres in Hulme – the Hippodrome and the BBC Playhouse.

Electric trams replaced horse bus services in Hulme in the early 20th century. The tram connected Hulme with Moss Side, Whalley Range and Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

The trams were withdrawn in 1949 and replaced by Manchester Corporation motorbuses.

Deane Lane Then Deane Lane Now

Deane Lane

Here’s Dean Lane in Newton Heath. Our original image dates to the turn of the 20th century.

Cobblestones, tram tracks and gas lights are still strongly in evidence, as are the terraced houses and a policeman on the beat.

A handcart, once a familiar sight around shops in Manchester, is propped up outside Parr’s Bank. Next door is the Freize independent furriers and ladies’ fashion shop.

Parr’s were a major clearing bank in the North West and Staffordshire. By 1890 there were 22 branches and 21 sub-branches.

By 1914, Parr’s had grown to almost 400 branches and sub-branches. The bank amalgamated with the London County and Westminster Bank in 1918, to become the forerunner of NatWest.

Dean Lane railway station, opened in May 1880 by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, was one of three stations in the Newton Heath area. The others were Newton Heath and Park. The station was on the Oldham Loop Line.

Dean Lane closed in October 2009 to be re-opened as Newton Heath and Moston Metrolink station in June 2012.

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