TOWN & CITY SCENES

By CRAIG THORNBER

In the 1950s, even modest sized towns took pride in their civic buildings - the parish church, chapels, town hall, railway station, library, public baths, hospital, maternity home, police station, ambulance station, fire station, general post-office and perhaps an historic grammar school. These were the facilities by which we measured civilised life. The civic buildings and chapels often dated from the late Victorian or Edwardian period, and can now be seen as a product of an age before mass car ownership when services had to be provided locally. In the last 50 years, many of these buildings have fallen into disuse, been demolished or converted for other purposes. In the 1960s, some smaller towns lost their railway station in the Beeching cuts. Local government reorganisation in 1974 eventually led to rationalisation and concentration of police, ambulance and fire services into larger units. The same process was at work in the health service with the loss of small local hospitals and maternity homes. The new unitary authorities did not require all the town halls of the constituent boroughs and new comprehensive schools required larger and more modern premises than provided by some of the old grammar schools. Small local postal sorting offices were replaced by regional centres. Everywhere one sees chapels derelict, for sale, or turned into warehouses or dwellings and larger towns and cities have lost churches in the same way. Bit by bit the urban landscape has changed until now, with the perspective of half a century, we see that the old townscape has passed to be replaced by the supermarket, chain store and out-of-town retail park. Small towns have had their shopping streets badly eroded by supermarkets and the increase of online shopping, particularly during the pandemic of 2020-2022. The butcher, baker and greengrocer have been replaced by the charity shop, cafe, tattoo parlour and hair dressing salon. Now, with changes in the way information is distributed and the pressure on budgets, libraries are under threat too. To the degree that the urban facilities of the 1950s formed part of our culture, community and social cohesion, these have been eroded. Some of these trends are shown in the pages that follow, with surplus town halls, chapels for sale, banks turned into pubs and empty town centre properties but I celebrate our historic buildings, and some new ones too, wherever they are to be found.

MANCHESTER MISCELLANY 1

2003-2010

Picadilly, St. Peter's Square, Bridgewater Hall

 

  Bridgewater Halll
  Bridgewater Hall

MANCHESTER MISCELLANY 2

2011-2014

A selection of images from around the city centre

 

spacer Station
    G-Mex Centre

MANCHESTER MISCELLANY 3

2015-2020

A selection of images from Manchester area
and Salford

  Wythenshawe
     

BOLTON TOWN HALL

28 July 2011

A tour of the town hall with the Alston Hall College
course on Civic Pride given by David Brazendale

  Bolton Town Hall
    Bolton Town Hall

BURY

19 August 2009

A walk around the town centre

  Bury Museum
    Library, Museum & Art Gallery

LEEDS TOWN HALL

27 July 2011

A tour of the town hall with the Alston Hall College
course on Civic Pride given by David Brazendale

  Leeds Town Hall
    Leeds Town Hall

LIVERPOOL, ST. GEORGE'S HALL

26 July 2011

A tour of St. George's Hall with the Alston Hall College
course on Civic Pride
given by David Brazendale

  St. George's Hall
   

St. George's Hall, Liverpool

LIVERPOOL TOWN HALL

26 July 2011

A tour of Liverpool Town Hall with the Alston Hall College
course on Civic Pride
given by David Brazendale

  Liverpool town hall
   

Liverpool Town Hall

LYTHAM

4 October 2010

Some close-up shots of the town

  Lytham
    Market Hall at Lytham

OLDHAM

8 February 2010

A short walk around the town centre starting in Union Street

  Oldham
    St. Mary's, Oldham

PRESCOT, MERSEYSIDE

8 March 2010

A walk round the town centre taking in the church,
Vicarage Place, Derby Street & High Street.

  Prescot
    Deanes House, Church Street

ROCHDALE TOWN HALL

28 July 2011

A tour of the town hall with the Alston Hall College
course on Civic Pride given by David Brazendale

  Rochdale Town Hall
    Rochdale Town Hall

SALE, TRAFFORD, GREATER MANCHESTER

24 February 2010

A short walk from Northenden Road along School Road
to Washway Road and Cross Street

  Sale Town Hall
    Sale Town Hall

SALFORD QUAYS & MEDIA CITY

11 July 2012

A walk from the Lowry Centre to Media City

  Bridge at Salford Quays
    Salford Quays

ST. ANNES ON SEA

14 April 2010

A short walk around the town

  St. Annes
    The pier at St. Annes

STOCKPORT

28 Nov 2008

Railway Road, Wellington Road South and
Hillgate to the Market Hall

  stockport market
    Stockport Market Hall

THE TRAFFORD CENTRE

2007 to 2021

Architecture and Decorations

  Trafford Centre
    Trafford Centre

WATERLOO, LIVERPOOL

10 February 2010

A walk around the town starting from Beach Lawn

  Waterloo
    Beach Lawn villas

WIDNES

8 March 2010

A walk from Lacey Street to Albert Road via
Victoria Square.

  Widnes
   

St. Paul's, Widnes

WIGAN

1 February 2010

A walk around the town centre starting in King Street

  Market Place, Wigan
    Market Place, Wigan

WHITEHAVEN, CUMBRIA

28 September 2011

A walk round Whitehaven looking at historic buildings

  Whitehaven
    Roper Street, Whitehaven

WREXHAM, NORTH WALES

30 August 2011

A walk round Wrexham looking at the architecture
of the upper storeys in the main shopping streets

  Wrexham
    Hope Street, Wrexham

 

 

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Page updated 26 May, 2022
Links checked 16 Dec 2021.


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