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.

Oxford Rd Then Oxford Rd Now

Oxford Road

This image, dating from 1930, shows a stretch of Oxford Road that will be well known to Manchester students past and present.

Ackers Street is on the left and the gates of the Holy Name Church are just visible. The spire of Manchester Royal Infirmary can be seen in the distance.

No trace remains of the overhead tram cables, shops or rows of terraced houses. The tram system in 1930 was one of the largest in the UK with more than 160 miles of track crossing the city.

Now the car is king and Oxford Road is one of Manchester’s most traffic-laden thoroughfares. It’s also the busiest bus route in Europe with vehicles heading for Fallowfield and Didsbury and many more destinations besides.

The Oxford Road area is the heart of the Student Quarter. The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Northern Ballet School all have campuses on or around Oxford Road.

As well as the hustle and bustle, there are two more tranquil green spaces on Oxford Road. Whitworth Park dates back to 1890 and Grosvenor Square, once a church, is a favourite place for students to read and relax.

Albert Rd Then Albert Rd Now

Albert Road

This is Levenshulme station in Albert Road in 1909. The photographer is looking under the railway bridge towards Stockport Road.

Rain glistens on the cobblestones and the steam from the horses’ breath is just about visible on the overcast autumn day.

The solitary man standing by his horse-drawn cart is a far cry from the traffic on the busy carriageway of today.

Like many areas of the city, Levenshulme was transformed in the years after the Industrial Revolution. It became home to many of the workers who toiled in the local mills.

Terraced houses were built in the late 19th and 20th centuries to house workers’ families – and some still stand today.

There is now a wide range of traders and businesses near the station, although the area has long been noted for its antique and furniture shops.

The original railway arch, visible in the main image, was replaced in 1950. Before then, only single-deck buses were allowed under the bridge.

The London and North Western Railway operated from 1846 to 1922. In the late 19th century it was the largest joint stock company in the world.

The main A6 Stockport Road dates from 1724 when a turnpike was built between Manchester and Stockport.

Then and Now - Wilmslow Road

This Week's Then & Now looks at the Didsbury Village stretch of Wilmslow Road. Much has changed since the late 1800s with restaurants and bars standing in place of the former railway station. The memorial clock and drinking fountain, built in 1910, is dedicated to Dr J Milson Rhodes.

Posted by iNostalgia on Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Wilmslow Road, Didsbury

This is Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, in the late 1800s. The red-brick Victorian buildings that are now The Stoker’s Arms and Dog and Partridge pubs look almost new!

Offices and shops, including a barber’s, line the street. Traffic consists of horse-drawn carriages and hand-carts plying their way under the prominent gas lamps.

The memorial clock tower and drinking fountain dedicated to Dr J. Milson Rhodes at the centre of Didsbury village would not be built until 1910.

Standing at the edge of the former railway station forecourt, the clock tower is Grade II listed and forms an architectural group with the war memorial and public library on the opposite side of the road.

Wilmslow Road, running through the centres of Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield, is one of Manchester’s major thoroughfares.

Didsbury was largely rural until the mid-19th century. Like many parts of Manchester, it was transformed during the industrial revolution.

The opening of the Midland Railway in 1880 accelerated Didsbury’s development, connecting the area to Manchester Central. The line closed in 1967, but the station survived until its demolition in the 1980s.

London Rd Then London Rd Now

London Road Station Warehouse

Here’s the London Road station warehouse (near Piccadilly Station) in Ducie Street in 1966.

At the time, the station was just completing a major rebuilding programme as part of the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line. It was given its current name – Manchester Piccadilly – in September 1960.

The station was rebuilt at a cost of £1.75 million to host electric train services to London.

The Victorian train sheds remained mostly unaltered, although the two spans built in the 1880s were shortened at the concourse end.

A new entrance replaced the 1860s buildings and the approach to the station was redeveloped.

Piccadilly remained open throughout the rebuilding programme, which saw services diverted to Manchester’s Mayfield and Central stations. These were closed once the work had been completed.

Manchester Piccadilly was opened as Store Street station in 1842 and was renamed Manchester London Road in 1842.

It now hosts intercity services to London, Birmingham, Bristol, Wales and Scotland as well as cross-country services to the north of England.

Man Uni Then Man Uni Now

Manchester University

This is the John Owens building on Oxford Road before the neighbouring Whitworth Hall was opened in 1902.

Horse-drawn carriages line up outside the college buildings which now form an integral part of the University of Manchester. Gas lamps are still in evidence and a trolleybus can be glimpsed in the distance.

The Gothic-style John Owens building, opened in 1873, was the first on the Oxford Road university site. It was designed by Manchester architect Alfred Waterhouse who was also responsible for the city’s Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London.

The Grade II-listed Whitworth Hall was built between 1895 and 1902 to a design by architect Paul Waterhouse. It is named after Mancunian industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth.

The hall was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary) on March 12th, 1902.

Built of sandstone with red-tiled roofs, the hall has two corner towers with octagonal belfries at the south end. Each tower is crowned by a small spire.

The hall holds up to 675 people for meetings and is used for all graduation ceremonies at the university.

Gorton Monastery Then Gorton Monastery  Now

Gorton Monastery

Our image, dating from 1915, shows the imposing Church and Friary of St Francis, known locally as Gorton Monastery. The photograph was taken from Gorton Lane.

The Gothic frontage of the church soars above the two-storey Victorian terraced homes and shops. It still dominates the skyline today.

The Franciscans came to Gorton in December 1861 and built the friary themselves in four years from 1863 to 1867. The church was completed in 1872.

Gorton Monastery is an outstanding example of High Victorian Gothic architecture. It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin, the son of the famous Gothic revivalist Augustus Welby Pugin.

The church was Grade II listed in 1963, but closed for worship 20 years later in 1983.

In 1997, Gorton Monastery joined the likes of the Taj Mahal and Pompeii by being placed on the Monuments Fund Watch List of the 100 most endangered sites in the world.

The church and friary buildings were extensively restored in a £6 million project backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the European Regional Development Fund.

The buildings re-opened as a venue for conferences, meetings and community events in June 2007.

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