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.

king street then king street  now

King Street, Manchester

This image shows people trudging down a snowy King Street in the 1970s, probably seeking cover in one of the many shops.

Modern King Street is now home to some of Manchester’s smartest outlets, boasting well-known designer names. A few can be glimpsed in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s 2019 picture.

But back in Manchester’s Victorian heyday, the street featured the grand Town Hall, which in turn became the Central Library. The original Town Hall was replaced by a new building in Albert Square.

The Central Library was then relocated to St Peter’s Square and the neo-classical columns of the original building were moved to Heaton Park in 1912. The site on King Street is now occupied by the Lloyds Bank building.

Big brands have replaced the barber’s shop and hair studio in our original image, but the handsome Victorian buildings and shop fronts remain much the same. Gone, however, are the distinctive cast-iron street lamps.

There are no less than 11 Grade II listed buildings in King Street as well as the Grade I listed former Bank of England building at No. 82. It was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell and opened in 1846.

King Street is now widely regarded as one of the most exciting retail areas of the UK, earning it the title of the Bond Street of the north.

rodney street then rodney street  now

Rodney Street, Liverpool

This is Liverpool’s Rodney Street in February 1976, where a new model agency had just opened alongside the stately houses and offices of architects, doctors and professors.

To celebrate, five models from the Faces agency strode down the street past the parked Minis and Ford Anglias. They are, from left, Lyn Farington, Julia Higgins, Carole Fiddies, Anne Boyland and Hilary Mawer.

The Faces Model Agency were certainly in good company on Rodney Street. They shared a house with the offices of the High Commissioner of India.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the Harley Street of the North’, Rodney Street is well known today for the number of doctors and cosmetic surgeons practising there.

Along with Gambier Terrace and Hope Street, it forms the Rodney Street conservation street area, which boasts more than 60 Grade II listed buildings.

The street was designed primarily by Liverpool historian and abolitionist William Roscoe and built in 1784. It was named after George Brydges Rodney, who secured a memorable naval victory against the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782.

Additions to Rodney Street were made up to the 1820s as the area proved increasingly popular as a refuge for the affluent wanting to live away from the city centre.

Most of the houses have three bays, but some have five.

Some famous people were born in Rodney Street. British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone was born at No. 62 in 1809 and poet Arthur Clough was born at No. 9 in 1819.

Gaumont Cinema then Gaumont Cinema  now

Gaumont Cinema

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s certainly true of these two images of Bernard Manning’s Embassy Club in North Manchester. The entrance is almost exactly as it was in 1985.

But the club couldn’t be more different. Stand-up comedy and cabaret stopped when Manning retired in 1999 and his son Bernard Junior took over. The latter’s forte was functions and events.

Manning Senior opened the club on Rochdale Road in 1959. In its heyday it was one of the most popular venues in the North West, with Manning delivering his own brand of humour at the microphone.

After becoming a household name on the Granada TV show The Comedians, Manning brought his own touch of flamboyance to the place. This included the Rolls Royce and limousine with their personalised number plates parked outside.

When Manning died in 2007, his son added a mosaic of his father to the front of the club. The grouting contained the comic’s ashes as a memorial.

The mosaic is still in place, but a lamppost now stands where Manning parked his flashy motors. The saplings in the background have grown into full trees in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image.

There is a belief that the Embassy Club was the inspiration for Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. Kay certainly performed there in 1999, the last time Manning took the stage before retiring.

The Embassy Club - Then The Embassy Club - Now

The Embassy Club

This is the Gaumont Cinema in Oxford Street, a popular venue for moviegoers from its opening in 1935 until its closure in 1974.

The 2,300 seater cinema was built in the Italian Renaissance style by the Granada Group on the site of the former Hippodrome Theatre. It included one of the longest licensed bars in the north of England.

The first film shown at the Gaumont on its opening night on October 21st 1935 was Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, starring Manchester-born actor Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.

The opening ceremony was conducted by movie stars Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale, with Stanley Tudor playing the Wurlitzer organ.

In the 1950s and 60s, the Gaumont hosted long runs of popular films. These included the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals South Pacific, which ran there for two years from 1958, and the Sound of Music from 1965 to 1967.

After its closure in January 1974, the ground floor and basement of the Gaumont became Rotters Nightclub. The building was demolished after Rotters shut down in 1990.

Standing in its place, as can be seen from photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image, is a multi-storey car park. The neighbouring three-storey Victorian building remains intact and is now partially occupied by a fast-food restaurant.

Church Street - Then Church Street - Now

Merseyside streets, Church Street

Our main image this week shows Church Street in January 1962, with shoppers hunting for a bargain outside Marks and Spencers. On the corner are well-known furriers Swears and Wells.

People are queuing for buses as cars mill down the busy street, carefully avoiding pedestrians who cross between them.

There are far fewer vehicles now, but Church Street remains as bustling as ever. It is still the city’s prime shopping area.

The street gets its name from the former St Peter’s church which was consecrated in June 1704 and demolished in 1922. A bronze Maltese cross now marks its location.

The church, to the south of Church Street, was designed by John Moffat. Its single tower, octagonal at the top, was 108 feet high and housed a peal of eight bells.

Church Street was not paved until 1760 and was once the site of a weekly cattle market.

On the south side of Church Street is the Liverpool One complex – a combination of leisure and retail outlets as well as residential areas. Opened in October 2008, it takes its name from the district’s L1 postcode.

Also to the south is Church Alley which includes the Bluecoat Chambers, the oldest surviving building in central Liverpool. It was originally built as a charity school in 1717.

On the north side of Church Street is Williamson Square.

The Edwardia boutique - Then The Edwardia boutique - Now

The Edwardia boutique , Manchester

This week our main image shows Manchester United and Northern Ireland winger George Best outside the Edwardia boutique he opened with his great pal Mike Summerbee in March 1967.

Best is snappily dressed – as befits a fashion icon. Dubbed ‘El Beatle’ by the press, he was always seen in the smartest places in the latest styles.

To complete the image of 60s’ chic, a Fiat 500 is parked a little precariously on the kerb.

Little did the footballing friends know that the opening of the shop would cause uproar as hundreds of fans flocked to the event.

The opening was only announced in a small newspaper advert, but traffic on the A56 was brought to a standstill as cars slowed to catch a glimpse. They couldn’t see much though as a crowd of teenagers and press jostled excitedly outside the shop!

The area around Motor Street looks very different in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image. A pizza parlour occupies the spot where Edwardia once stood with the Manchester bee strongly in evidence.

When he wasn’t opening boutiques, Best made 361 league appearances for United from 1963 to 1974, scoring 137 goals. He was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland, netting nine goals for his country.

Summerbee, also a winger, played 357 league matches for Manchester City from 1965 to 1975, scoring 47 goals. He was capped eight times for England, scoring once.

St Ann's Square - Then St Ann's Square - Now

St Ann’s Square , Manchester

This week we feature St Ann’s Square, the open space at the centre of Manchester’s shopping heartland and home to St Ann’s Church and the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Cars are banished from the square nowadays, but there were none around at all when our original photograph was taken in 1878. Horse-drawn carts and carriages were the main threat to pedestrians then!

The origins of St Ann’s Square date back to 1227 when Henry II granted Robert Greslet, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the right to hold a fair on St Matthew’s Day.

In 1708, an Act of Parliament granted that St Ann’s Church could be built and that a space 30 yards wide should be reserved for the fair. The church was consecrated four years later in 1712 – and still stands proudly in the square today.

The area was renamed St Ann’s Square as a tribute to the reigning monarch, Queen Anne, and Lady Ann Bland who was a patron of the church. She wanted to see the church built as a protest against the High Church teaching of the city’s cathedral.

St Ann’s Church was fortunate to escape damage in the Manchester Blitz of December 1940 and still has a burnt-out incendiary bomb that fell on to the roof.

Like many parts of the city, St Ann’s Square suffered from the IRA bomb of 1996, but has now been restored. The upstairs windows were blown in on both sides of the church.

Liverpool Central Station - Then Liverpool Central Station - Now

Central Station , Liverpool

Our main image this week shows the approach to Liverpool Central Station, photographed 60 years ago in February 1960.

Women chat nonchalantly on the cobblestones as a double-decker bus passes by on Ranelagh Street.

The bus carries an advert for the well-known Threlfall’s Brewery, which operated in Liverpool from 1888 until it was bought out by Whitbread in 1967.

Behind the pedestrians is the impressive three-storey entrance building that fronted the 65ft high iron and glass train shed.

Central Station was opened in March 1874 at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee railway to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick Station in Toxteth as the committee’s Liverpool terminus.

As well as Manchester, trains to London St Pancras, Hull and Harwich ran from the station’s six platforms.

The ground-level station was demolished in 1973 – a victim of the Beeching Report into rail modernisation – but some buildings remained as work went ahead on the Merseyrail underground station.

The site occupied by the train shed is now part of the Central Village development.

The Merseyrail station, on the Northern Line and Wirral Line, is now the busiest station in Liverpool – and the seventh busiest outside London.

Empire Theatre, Liverpool - Then Empire Theatre, Liverpool - Now

Empire Theatre , Liverpool

Our main image this week shows the approach to Liverpool Central Station, photographed 60 years ago in February 1960.

Women chat nonchalantly on the cobblestones as a double-decker bus passes by on Ranelagh Street.

The bus carries an advert for the well-known Threlfall’s Brewery, which operated in Liverpool from 1888 until it was bought out by Whitbread in 1967.

Behind the pedestrians is the impressive three-storey entrance building that fronted the 65ft high iron and glass train shed.

Central Station was opened in March 1874 at the end of the Cheshire Lines Committee railway to Manchester Central. It replaced Brunswick Station in Toxteth as the committee’s Liverpool terminus.

As well as Manchester, trains to London St Pancras, Hull and Harwich ran from the station’s six platforms.

The ground-level station was demolished in 1973 – a victim of the Beeching Report into rail modernisation – but some buildings remained as work went ahead on the Merseyrail underground station.

The site occupied by the train shed is now part of the Central Village development.

The Merseyrail station, on the Northern Line and Wirral Line, is now the busiest station in Liverpool – and the seventh busiest outside London.

St George’s Hall, Lime Street - Then St George’s Hall, Lime Street - Now

St George’s Hall, Lime Street

Our main image this week shows the majestic St George’s Hall rising above a heap of collapsed scaffolding in Lime Street in July 1964.

Spectators have gathered to get a closer look at the debris and scaffolding poles strewn across the road, while buses are parked up at the hall’s portico.

Although blackened by soot and pre-restoration pollution, St George’s Hall exhibits its full neo-classical grandeur. It remains, to this day, one of the biggest public buildings in the country.

Plans for the hall were drawn up in the early 19th century when the expanding city of Liverpool desperately needed an imposing civic setting for festivals, meetings and concerts.

Designs were submitted by architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes before it was decided to include the assize courts in the same building.

So Elmes went back to the drawing board and the foundation stone for the grand project was laid in 1838 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria a year earlier.

Elmes supervised the building work until 1847 when he left England for Jamaica where he died of consumption. The baton then passed to Corporation Surveyor John Weightman and structural engineer Robert Rawlinson.

Designer Charles Cockerell took charge in 1851 and laid out most of the building’s impressive interiors. The hall was officially opened in 1854.

As imposing now as it was 160 years ago, St George’s Hall has rightly been described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the finest neo-Grecian buildings in the world.

Upper Lloyd Street, Moss Side - Then Upper Lloyd Street, Moss Side - Now

Upper Lloyd Street, Moss Side 

This week our classic main image shows Stockport tram No. 35B travelling down Upper Lloyd Street in Moss Side. The date is March 1934.

Tram No. 15 is close by and a hardy cyclist is braving the rain that glistens off the pavements and cobbles. Red-brick Victorian terraces line either side of the street and gas lamps are still in evidence.

The modern picture, taken by photographer Nicola Mazzuia, is very different. The terraces have long since been demolished and tarmac and speed-humps have replaced the cobbles. Trees have grown where tall iron tram poles once stood.

Trams have operated in Manchester since 1877 and were originally drawn by horses.  There were 515 tramcars by the 1890s, each requiring six pairs of horses per day.

The first electric tramcars were seen on Manchester streets in 1901 – and had replaced all horse-drawn vehicles by 1904.

The Tramway Corporation continued to build more lines until it reached its peak in 1928. At that time, more than 1,000 tramcars carried 350 million passengers a year over 292 miles of track.

Tram services were gradually run down as the conversion to buses gathered pace. The Second World War slowed down the process, but the final tram ran on January 10th 1949.

Manchester Metrolink became the UK’s first modern street-running rail system in April 1992. The only first generation tram system still in operation was the Blackpool tramway.

Walton Hall Park, Liverpool - Then Walton Hall Park, Liverpool - Now

Walton Hall Park, Liverpool 

Our main image this week shows the newly laid-out 130-acre Walton Hall Park in all its splendour in February 1934.

There is a stillness about the place, whose pristine paths and lakes lay undisturbed and ready to receive visitors.

Trees that are now full grown were only saplings 86 years ago – and much more of the park was visible from the photographer’s vantage point.

A popular attraction for the people of Walton for decades, the park was officially opened to the public by King George V on July 18th 1934. He was visiting Liverpool to open the Queensway Tunnel.

The origins of the park date back to the 12th century and Henry de Walton, who was steward of the West Derby hundred.

The hundred covered the Merseyside region north of the River Mersey as well as parts of the modern boroughs of West Lancashire, Warrington and Wigan.

Walton Manor was held by the Walton family until the 15th century and was subsequently owned by the Breres and Atherton families before being sold to Liverpool banker Thomas Leyland in 1804. It became part of Liverpool Borough Council in 1895.

Particular features of Walton Hall Park are the two lakes which are popular with anglers due to the number of carp, bream and tench.

The perimeter path is an ideal place for fishermen to set up for the day, expectantly perched on their seat-boxes.

There is also a 3.25km fitness trail for the more energetic, with a range of keep fit stations and suggested exercises. Children can enjoy swings, roundabouts and a games area.

Picadilly, Manchester - Then Albert Square, Manchester - Now

Alberts Square, Manchester

This week our main image from October 1961 shows popular American entertainer Sammy Davis Junior jumping for joy en route to St Peter’s Square after arriving at Manchester Piccadilly rail station.

The showbiz legend was in the city as part of a nationwide UK concert tour. He’d just made the film Oceans 11 with the famous ‘Rat Pack’ of Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford.

The group got their name from actress Angie Dickinson, who approached them once and said ‘You all look like a pack of rats!’

Just below Sammy’s shoulder is the familiar classical rotunda of the Central Library. The circular building, which resembles the Pantheon in Rome with its domed design and portico, was officially opened by King George V on July 17th 1934.

According to singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl, the reference library or ‘Ref’ became an important meeting place for ‘students, lovers and unemployed youths’ with its enormous reading room and small theatre.

Parking meters are prominent in the 1961 image – and it looks like a traffic warden is making his rounds on the right of the picture!

The meters have disappeared in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image along with most of the traffic.  Trees are a welcome addition to the street scene.

St Ann's Square, Manchester - Then St Ann's Square,, Manchester - Now

St Ann’s Square, Manchester

This week our main image from October 1961 shows popular American entertainer Sammy Davis Junior jumping for joy en route to St Peter’s Square after arriving at Manchester Piccadilly rail station.

The showbiz legend was in the city as part of a nationwide UK concert tour. He’d just made the film Oceans 11 with the famous ‘Rat Pack’ of Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford.

The group got their name from actress Angie Dickinson, who approached them once and said ‘You all look like a pack of rats!’

Just below Sammy’s shoulder is the familiar classical rotunda of the Central Library. The circular building, which resembles the Pantheon in Rome with its domed design and portico, was officially opened by King George V on July 17th 1934.

According to singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl, the reference library or ‘Ref’ became an important meeting place for ‘students, lovers and unemployed youths’ with its enormous reading room and small theatre.

Parking meters are prominent in the 1961 image – and it looks like a traffic warden is making his rounds on the right of the picture!

The meters have disappeared in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image along with most of the traffic.  Trees are a welcome addition to the street scene.

Shrewsbury Hotel, Manchester - Then Shrewsbury Hotel, Manchester - Now

Shrewsbury Hotel, Manchester

This week our main image shows pensioners outside the Shrewsbury Hotel in Clifton Street, Old Trafford, looking forward to their coach trip to Blackpool.

The date is Wednesday 28th September 1966 and the weather appears dry, if a little overcast. Coats and cardigans are the order of the day.

A former Bass house, the Shrewsbury Hotel was a focal point for the community who lived round Clifton Street. It also used to be a regular meeting place for teams who competed on the playing fields behind the building.

By 2005, the hotel was in a derelict state. But it was restored at a cost of £450,000 to become part of the Afifah School in 2006. The school is still there today.

Terraced houses behind the hotel on Clifton Street have been replaced by residential blocks in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image, but the round-arched windows of the former hotel are instantly recognisable.

The urban area of Old Trafford grew massively after the building of the Manchester Ship Canal in the 1890s and the development of the Trafford Park Industrial Estate, providing jobs for thousands of workers.

More than 75,000 people were employed at Trafford Park at its peak in 1945, when the area had geared up to support the war effort. Rolls-Royce Merlin engines for the Spitfire and Lancaster bomber were manufactured there.

London road, Manchester - Then London Road, Manchester - Now

London Road, Manchester

This week our main image shows soldiers marching along London Road in 1919 after returning from Belgium at the end of the First World War.

The men are from the Manchester Regiment 8th Battalion. Crowds have gathered to welcome them home.

The regiment fought on the front line during the conflict, seeing action in the battles of the Marne, Aisne and Ypres.

Nine battalions were involved in the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916. They included the Manchester Pals – local men who enlisted together as part of Lord Kitchener’s New Armies.

More than 57,000 men were killed, wounded or went missing that day – the deadliest in British Army history.

The war poet Wilfred Owen served with the Manchester Regiment, winning the Military Cross for his leadership at Joncourt. He was killed in action at the Sambre-Oise Canal one week before the Armistice was signed in November 1918.

The roots of the Manchester Regiment date back to 1685 when its forerunner, the Lancashire Militia, was raised by the Earl of Derby.

The regiment came into existence in its own right in 1881 when the Lancashire Militia amalgamated with the 63rd and 96th Regiment of Foot to form the Manchester Regiment.

London Road is much quieter today as photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s image shows. The busy street is almost empty as people stay at home due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Piccadilly Station Platform, Manchester - Then Piccadilly Station Platform, Manchester - Now

Piccadilly Station Platform, Manchester

This week our main image shows Brazilian footballer Pele on the platform at Manchester’s Piccadilly station after his team were eliminated from the 1966 World Cup.

Brazil were world champions at the time, but went out at the group stage after playing their matches at Everton’s home ground Goodison Park.

Things looked like they were going to plan when Brazil won their first match against Bulgaria 2-0 on July 12, with Pele scoring in the 15th minute.

But the wheels came off against Hungary three days later with a 3-1 defeat.

It was make or break for Brazil when they lined up to play Portugal in front of 58,479 fans on July 19. But defensive errors let them down and the champions again lost 3-1.

Pele and his shell-shocked team drove back to their Lymm hotel and, two days later, caught the London train from Manchester Piccadilly station.

They’d made many friends in the North West – and Pele was still signing autographs from the carriage window as the train pulled away.

Manchester Piccadilly looked very different to its normal bustling self on Wednesday when our current photo was shot.

The effects of the coronavirus meant there were few passengers boarding the London train under the vast glass roofs of the Victorian train shed.

Deansgate, Manchester - Then Deansgate, Manchester - Now

Deansgate, Manchester

This week our main image shows a deserted Deansgate on the morning of Good Friday, April 1953.

Two hikers are setting off to go pot-holing in the Manifold Valley, Derbyshire. There is no traffic apart from a solitary bus in the distance.

We even know the names of the intrepid hikers hidden behind their heavy loads. They are Brian Duckworth and George Evans of Monton, Lancashire. Hopefully they enjoyed a pleasant trip.

The scene is eerily similar to today’s picture where Manchester’s population is in lockdown due to the coronavirus. The usually bustling Deansgate is empty at a peak time of the day – a sight rarely witnessed in our lifetimes.

To the north, Deansgate runs to Victoria Street and Manchester Cathedral. At its southern end it connects with Chester Road and the Bridgewater Viaduct.

One of the most distinctive buildings on Deansgate is the neo-Gothic John Rylands Library. It was opened to the public in 1900 after being founded by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her husband.

The northern part of Deansgate, linking to the Shambles, was badly damaged in the 1996 Manchester bombing. Its redevelopment included the No. 1 Deansgate building and the city branch of Harvey Nichols.

Other notable buildings on Deansgate are the Beetham Tower, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the remodelled Great Northern Warehouse.

Royal Train Piccadilly, Manchester - Then Royal Train Piccadilly, Manchester - Now

Royal Train Piccadilly, Manchester

This week our main image shows Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, alighting from the Royal Train at Manchester Piccadilly station. The date is February 8th 1973.

There is a flurry of activity on the platform as the Lord Mayor of Manchester Alderman Edward Grant and civic dignitaries welcome their royal visitor.

It’s quite a contrast to current scenes at the usually bustling station as only essential journeys are being made due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Prince Philip was in Manchester to visit the University of Salford, where he was Chancellor from 1967 to 1991.

The Royal College of Advanced Technology at Salford became a university in February 1967 when Queen Elizabeth presented the institution with its Royal Charter.

Apparently Prince Philip got a noisy reception when he arrived at the university in 1973 as anti-apartheid demonstrators were gathered outside the gates.

As well as visiting the university, the prince toured the newly opened Eccles College where he chatted to staff and students.

Eccles College provided further education for students aged 16 and over from 1973 until it became part of Salford City College in January 2009. It continues as the Eccles Centre of Salford City College.

Prince Philip made a number of visits to the university in his role as Chancellor. He opened the library in 1971 and toured the chemical engineering department and Newton Building in 1976.

Aycliffe Avenue, Manchester - Then Aycliffe Avenue, Manchester, - Now

Aycliffe Avenue, Manchester

This week our main image shows Manchester United legend George Best enjoying an impromptu game of cricket with youngsters outside his former digs on Aycliffe Avenue. The date is May 1968.

Best stayed at the Chorlton-cum-Hardy home of landlady Mrs Mary Fullaway shortly after he came to Manchester from Belfast in 1961 at the age of 15.

Dreadfully homesick, Best returned to Northern Ireland after only two days in England, but the club persuaded the gifted winger to come back to Manchester.

He had to play as an amateur for two years as English clubs were not allowed to sign Northern Irish players as apprentices at the time. Best was given a job as an errand boy on the Manchester Ship Canal to allow him to train twice a week.

The future Northern Ireland international made his first team debut against West Bromwich Albion in September 1963 at the age of 17, but gained a regular place in the league-winning side the following season.

Best went on to make 361 league appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 137 goals, before leaving the club in 1974.

Chorlton grew as a Manchester suburb after the Midland Railway opened the local station in January 1880. Further development took place after the First World War when the new council housing estate was built at Merseybank.

The houses are still standing today, as shown in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image.

Cavern Club, Liverpool - Then Cavern Club, Liverpool  - Now

Cavern Club, Liverpool

Our main image from February 28th 1966 marks a sad day for Liverpool’s world-renowned Cavern Club as it had been forced to close due to financial difficulties.

Music fans are milling around the pavement outside the entrance at 10 Mathew Street, wondering when they’ll next see their favourite Merseybeat bands.

The Beatles played the cramped cellar stage of the Cavern Club 292 times on their way to stardom. The club also hosted the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Hollies and the Who.

Fortunately anxious fans did not have long to wait before their favourite venue was reopened. Following a campaign led by resident band the Hideaways and local MP Bessie Braddock, the Cavern was back in business on July 23rd 1966.

Performing the reopening was Prime Minister and Huyton MP Harold Wilson – and the first band on stage were the Hideaways. They made more than 400 appearances at the club.

The Cavern closed in March 1973 and was filled in during the building of the Merseyrail underground rail loop. A new Cavern Club opened at 7 Mathew Street, but was later renamed the Revolution Club and then Erics.

When the warehouse site of 8-12 Mathew Street was redeveloped in the early 1980s, it was hoped that the original cellars housing the Cavern Club could be excavated and reopened.

Unfortunately the damage was too great, but 5,000 original bricks from the archways did go on sale in aid of the Strawberry Field Children’s Home.

Another 15,000 bricks were used in the reconstruction of the Cavern Club in the new development.

Blacklers department store, Liverpool - Then Blacklers department store, Liverpool  - Now

Blacklers department store, Liverpool

This week our main image shows another famous stored gutted by Luftwaffe bombs – Lewis’s in Ranelagh Street.

The building was a burnt-out shell by Saturday May 3rd – the distinctive round arches of the first floor charred and blackened by fire.

The first Lewis’s store in the UK opened in Liverpool when entrepreneur David Lewis started his men’s and boy’s clothing store in 1856. More departments were added over the next 20 years, including an early Christmas grotto in 1879.

Over the years, the Lewis’s grotto – complete with Santa Claus – became an essential part of the festive season for generations of Liverpool children.

Lewis’s expanded beyond Merseyside when stores were opened in Manchester in 1877 and Birmingham in 1885.

The Liverpool store in Ranelagh Street burnt down in 1886 and was rebuilt. It was refurbished again in 1957. The Liverpool Resurgent statue over the corner entrance symbolised the city’s recovery after World War II.

During the 1950s, the Red Rose restaurant and self-service cafeteria on the 5th floor were the places to meet and eat in the city. The lifts were manned by attendants as there were no controls for shoppers to operate.

Liverpool was the last of the Lewis’s chain to carry on trading. It went into liquidation in March 2007 but was sold to Vergo Retail and continued to use the Lewis’s name.

The store closed permanently in May 2010.

Municipal Buildings, Liverpool - Then Municipal Buildings, Liverpool  - Now

Municipal Buildings, Liverpool

Our main image this week shows the Municipal Buildings on Dale Street in December 1947 – a time when Liverpool was recovering from the ravages of World War II.

Liverpool Corporation surveyor John Weightman started work on the Grade II listed buildings in 1862. The project was completed by the architect Edward Robert Robson in 1868.

The buildings were designed to house the growing numbers of civic administrative staff in Victorian Liverpool as trade increased and the city’s population grew.

The design of the Municipal Buildings shows French and Italian influences. It consists of three storeys surrounding a tower with a pyramidal spire, balconies, clocks and five bells.

A particular feature of the buildings are the 16 sandstone figures around the balcony. They represent the arts, sciences and industries of Liverpool, as well as the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America.

The Municipal Buildings were put up for sale in 2016 as they were proving too expensive to maintain. Property developers the Fragrance Group are behind plans to turn the former council offices into a luxury four-star hotel.

One of the street’s more unusual claims to fame is that Alois Hitler, the half-brother of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, once ran a restaurant there.

It is believed that Adolf himself may have stayed in Dale Street in 1913 when he was avoiding military service in his native Austria.

Swan Street, Manchester - Then Swan Street, Manchester - Now

Swan Street, Manchester

Our main image this week shows cars and trucks trundling over the tram tracks and cobblestones of Swan Street, Ancoats, in January 1935.

A lone woman looks into the camera as litter blows around her feet. Across the road, men are going about their daily business.

The scene is much quieter in photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image. The coronavirus lockdown means no cars are on the street – and the area is almost deserted.

The cobblestones have been covered in tarmac and the trams have long since departed. Victorian buildings that were once warehouses and builders’ yards have been converted to flats with shops below.

Smithfield Market is clearly visible in both images. Built in 1858, the market was roofed over with iron trusses in 1865.

By 1897, the market place occupied four and a half acres in the city centre. It stretched from Swan Street in Ancoats to Shudehill to the east and Oak Street to the west.

All kinds of food were available at Smithfield, which started life as a potato market. Fish, meat, fruit and vegetables were all on sale.

The market was also a centre for the Italian community who created an ice-cream manufacturing industry.

Smithfield Market closed in 1972 with stalls being relocated to the New Smithfield Market in Openshaw. The old market building was Grade II listed in 1973.

 Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool - Then  Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool - Now

 Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool

Our main image this week shows the tower of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral rising above the roofs of terraced houses in June 1935.

The steel framework that will carry the cathedral’s 13 bells is being installed – and is just visible at the right top corner of the tower base.

The bells are actually the highest and heaviest ringing peal in the world at 220 feet above floor level and weighing a total of 16.8 tonnes. They are named the Bartlett Bells after their Liverpool benefactor Thomas Bartlett who died in 1912.

Twelve bells are hung in a circle round the heaviest bell, Great George, which weighs 16.8 tonnes and is the third most massive bell in the UK. It was cast by Taylors of Loughborough and named in memory of George V.

Construction work on the cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool, began in 1904 based on a design by architect Giles Gilbert Scott. The sandstone was quarried from the South Liverpool suburb of Woolton.

Built in the Gothic Revival style, the cathedral on St James’s Mount is the longest in the world at 207 yards. At a height of 331 feet, it is also one of the world’s tallest church buildings without a spire. It is the third tallest structure in the city of Liverpool.

After many interruptions, including two World Wars and bomb damage in the May Blitz of 1941, the cathedral was completed in 1978.

Lower Mosley Street, Manchester - Then Lower Mosley Street, Manchester - Now

This week it’s the turn of Lower Mosley Street, looking toward the bus station which once occupied the site of the Bridgewater Hall.

Our main image, dating from 1948, shows people queuing outside the omnibus station. It was on the corner of Great Bridgewater Street opposite Central Station.

Opened in 1928, the station was used by long-distance coach operators including the North Western Road Car Company and Ribble Motor Services. It was closed in 1972 and demolished a year later with much of the site being used as a car park.

The Bridgewater Hall, the home of the Halle Orchestra, was built between 1993 and 1996 at a cost of £42 million. It sits on a bed of 280 isolation bearings to reduce external noise. The bearings consist of steel springs between concrete piers.

The hall, which hosts more than 250 concerts a year, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on December 4th 1996.

Dominating the rear of the auditorium is a £1.2 million pipe organ, with 5,500 pipes, built by Marcussen and Sons. It was the largest instrument to be installed in the UK for a century.

In addition to concerts, the hall hosts numerous conferences and events.

Lower Mosley Street, Manchester

Cateaton Street, Manchester - Then Cateaton Street, Manchester  - Now

This week our main picture shows the junction of Cateaton Street and Victoria Street in the centre of Manchester.

Although many of the buildings are still recognisable, much has changed in one of the city’s busiest areas since our first photograph was taken in 1900.

The old gas lamps were still prominent on the streets back then. Horses and carts took the place of cars and everyone was smartly dressed for a promenade in town.

The ornate buildings reflected Manchester’s prosperity. By 1900, the city was the ninth most populous in the world and its economy had diversified from textiles into engineering, chemical and electrical industries.

The Victoria Street area now is an important gateway to the city. Its recent redevelopment was linked to projects for Chethams, the Medieval quarter and Salford’s Greengate.

If any of the photographs in the Then and Now series bring back any memories for you, please share them with iNostalgia on our website inostalgia.co.uk or our Facebook pages. We’d love to hear from you.

Cateaton Street, Manchester

Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester - Then Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester - Now

This week it’s the turn of Cheetham Hill Road, which runs from Corporation Street in the city centre to Crumpsall where it changes its name to Bury Old Road. Today it’s a busy street lined with shops, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples as well as terraced houses.

Our first picture dates from 1902 and is taken at the junction with Woodland Avenue. The original buildings are still intact although the shopfronts have changed dramatically. There were no massive advertising hoardings at the turn of the century either.

The trams have long since departed along with the cobbles – it’s heavy duty tarmac now to deal with the hugely increased traffic. Handcarts were common in 1902. You can see one making deliveries just in front of the old gas lamp.

The road’s original name was York Street, but it was changed around 1900 due to the large number of York Streets in central Manchester.

York Street became an important place for retail and trade in the early 19th century. By 1845 there were 12 Jewish retailers living along York Street or nearby. Two synagogues – the Great Synagogue ad the Reformed Synagogue – were founded in York Street in 1858.

Manchester Jewish Museum occupies the former Spanish and Portugese Synagogue on Cheetham Hill Road and is a Grade II listed building. Opened in March 1984, the museum tells the story of the Jewish settlement in Manchester and its community over the past 200 years.

Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester

Crumpsall Lane, Manchester - Then Crumpsall Lane, Manchester  - Now

This week it’s the turn of Crumpsall Lane at the junction with Delaunays Road. Crumpsall Lane Primary School can be viewed in the middle distance.

Our first picture this week dates back to 1903 with a group of children in uniform crossing the road in a well-disciplined line to reach the school. There’s a solitary gas lamp in the centre of the street, but very little traffic of any kind – quite a contrast with the modern-day road.

The two main red-brick buildings are both still intact and relatively unchanged in more than a century. The trees, however, have grown enormously and now partially shield the school from view.

The name Crumpsall derives from Old English and means ‘a crooked piece of land beside a river’. It was first mentioned in 1291.

As its name suggests, Crumpsall was rural until the 19th century. It saw a building boom in the Victorian era to house Manchester’s growing population of mill workers.

Do you have any memories of the Crumpsall Lane? If so, Nostalgia would love to hear them. Just check out iNostalgia on Facebook or click on our website inostalgia.co.uk.

 

Crumpsall Lane, Manchester

Farm Side Place, Manchester - Then Farm Side Place, Manchester  - Now

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.

This week we look down Farmside Place, off Stockport Road in Levenshulme – an area located approximately halfway between Stockport and Manchester’s city centre 4 miles away.

Our black and white picture from 1971 shows part of the Palace Nightclub, formerly the Palace Cinema. It was also known locally as The Farmside, because of its location. The building next to it – its signage proclaiming Levenshulme Market was previously Burdett’s Bakery. Hennigans bar on the corner of Farmside Place was a Barbecue business in 1971 – earlier still it had been a ‘high class’ grocers called Burgon’s. 

You can see in our recent photograph that the market building has been demolished. The road now continues through to a large public car park that nestles between Stockport Road, the main London to Manchester railway line, and Levenshulme station. This is where you can find Levenshulme Market every Saturday.

In later years the Palace was an Irish Social Club and used as a live music and comedy venue. In September 1996 comedian Peter Kay won the Grand Final of the North West Comedian of the Year there, beating another now very well known comedian Johnny Vegas to first place. Now the large venue is Al Waalis Restaurant and Banqueting Hall.

Farm Side Place, Manchester

London Road Fire Station, Manchester - Then London Road Fire Station, Manchester  - Now

This week it’s the turn of London Road Fire Station, a Manchester landmark since 1906.

The fire station cost £142,000 to build and was designed in the Edwardian baroque style. As well as the fire station, the building housed a police station, ambulance station, a coroner’s court, bank and a gas-meter testing station.

The Grade II listed building was operational for 80 years. Firemen, their families and horse-drawn appliances were all housed at London Road.

There were flats for 32 firemen and their families and six single firemen. The building also had its own laundry, gym, children’s play areas and even a billiards room.

Responses to fire alerts were speeded up by electric bells and lights, poles to slide down, electric doors and suspended harnesses so the horses could be quickly connected to the appliances.

During World War II, the basement was converted into an air-raid shelter. An extension was built in the yard to provide more space for the station’s busy control room.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the fire station in 1942 in recognition of Greater Manchester Fire Brigade’s war-time contribution. After the war the building became a training centre.

The fire station closed in 1986 and has been largely unused since. It was placed on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register in 2001.

London Road Fire Station, Manchester

Gaumont Cinema, Manchester- Then Gaumont Cinema, Manchester  - Now

This week it’s the turn of Manchester Road in Chorlton-cum-Hardy and the familiar landmarks of the former Gaumont Cinema, now the Co-op Funeral Home, and the former snooker hall, now the Sedge Lynn pub.

Our first picture dates from 1958 when the Gaumont’s feature film was the murder drama The Whole Truth, starring Stewart Granger, Donna Reed and George Sanders.

A policeman helps uniformed schoolchildren cross the road which was much quieter in 1958 – there were far fewer cars then! There’s a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights in the same spot now. And the tree in front of the Gaumont has grown quite a lot in the 59 years that separate our two photos!

The snooker hall, now the JD Wetherspoon pub the Sedge Lynn, started life in 1907 as a very different kind of watering hole – a Temperance Billiard Hall! It was one of a number of similar halls built in Northern England and London. The Temperance movement campaigned for complete abstinence or teetotalism and pressed the government to pass stringent laws on the availability of alcohol.

Chorlton Library is to the right of the Sedge Lynn. It was built in 1914 to a design by Manchester City Council architect Harry Price and was funded by a £5,000 donation from steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.  It was one of about 3,000 Carnegie libraries around the world.

Both the Sedge Lynn and the library are Grade II listed buildings.

Gaumont Cinema, Manchester

Heaton Park, Manchester - Then Heaton Park, Manchester  - Now

This week our main picture shows Heaton Park in 1906. Its previous owner the Earl of Wilton had sold it to Manchester City Council just four years earlier in 1902.

It was obviously a popular spot at that time as the crowds show. Imagine what it must have felt like to have access to a fine house and its grounds for the first time? Visitors are obviously in their ‘Sunday best’ for the occasion.

Seated with their back to the Hall, the crowds would have been looking towards the southern part of the park. Between 1908 and 1912 the area was developed into a boating lake. It had previously been a race track.

Whilst boating, visitors would have seen the entrance façade of their Old Town Hall! Originally situated on the corner of King Street and Cross Street, it had recently been demolished. To save something of its grandeur the front was carefully dismantled and reassembled as a ‘folly’. It can still be seen today, as our smaller image shows.

Heaton Park, Manchester

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