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

This week our main image shows the Christmas crib and seasonal decorations at Strangeways Prison, Manchester, in December 1969.

Normally a Christmas tree would stand in the central hall, but prison staff and inmates opted for a crib instead. The customary tree was pushed up to the second floor balcony.

As well as putting up decorations, our photo shows prisoners rehearsing for the annual carol service due to be held around the crib.

Strangeways Prison, now HM Prison Manchester, was designed in the Victorian Gothic style by architect Alfred Waterhouse and opened in June 1868. It replaced the New Bailey Prison in Salford.

A prominent feature is the 234ft high ventilation tower which has become a local landmark. The walls of the prison are said to be 16ft thick.

HMP Manchester Strangeways Prison
HMP Manchester Strangeways Prison
The prison was rebuilt after the riots of April 1990 which saw 147 staff and 47 inmates injured, one fatally. A prison officer also died from heart failure.

The repair and modernisation programme cost more than £80 million, with rebuilding being completed in 1994.

Strangeways housed male and female prisoners up to 1963 when it became male only. Notable female prisoners included the suffragettes Christabel Pankhurst and Catherine and Helen Tolson.

Another suffragette, Emily Davison, was sentenced to a month’s hard labour in 1909 for throwing rocks at the carriage of Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George.

Our modern image shows the exterior of the prison in 2014.

*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.