Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks, buildings and events from bygone days with today.

Our main image this week shows ground staff desperately trying to thaw out the frozen pitch at Maine Road, Manchester, using braziers filled with hot coals. The date is January 8th 1953.

Work started in the morning and carried on well into the night. Straw was laid after the ice had melted to prevent the ground re-freezing.

The action was necessary to save the forthcoming FA Cup match between Manchester City and Swindon Town, scheduled to go ahead on Saturday January 10th.

Their hard work paid off as the game went ahead with the Blues romping home 7-0 against their Third Division opponents.

Maine Road braziers 1953
Manchester City verses Leicester City, at Maine Road, Manchester.  25th January 1995
Four of City’s goals came from inside forward Johnny Hart, who was in inspired form – despite the muddy pitch. The other scorers were Johnny Williamson, Bob Cunliffe and Ivor Broadis.

Unfortunately, City did not progress further in the competition as they were knocked out by Luton Town in the next round after a replay.

The first match at Maine Road ended in a 1-1 draw, but Luton won the replay 5-1.

Our second photo shows the Blues again in action on a slushy Maine Road surface, this time against Leicester City in the First Division in January 1995. The visitors won 1-0.

Maine Road was the Blues’ Moss Side home from 1923 to 2003. City then moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in Ardwick, the place where the club originally formed in 1880.

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester published to mark the 150th anniversary of the M.E.N.

It’s on sale at £14.99 including postage and packing. Order your copy online at inostalgia.co.uk or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.