in Manchester
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This chapter explores the way that railway arches have traditionally been perceived and represented as commonplace elements of the British urban built environment, and how the post-industrial transformation of Manchester can be read through the gradual changes of use occurring within these spaces. The arches, long associated with working-class industrial labour, criminality, and spatial marginality, have gradually been transformed from light industrial commercial units to spaces of leisure and consumption, such as cafe-bars and microbreweries. Since the 1980s, and especially since the sale of the publicly owned railway property estate, the arches have been central to property-led development and commercial gentrification in Manchester and beyond.


Something rich and strange


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