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Natalie Bradbury

This chapter traces Greater Manchester’s long association with media production, from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the city was known as the ‘Fleet Street of the North’, to the BBC’s MediaCity development at Salford Quays. As well as discussing the production of national and regional publications in the city, it highlights Manchester’s history of alternative publications, including socialist newspapers such as The Clarion and special-interest publications associated with the co-operative movement. Exploring buildings such as the Daily Express building and the Printworks complex, it shows how former press buildings have been adapted for new purposes ranging from city-centre living to entertainment.

in Manchester
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Nick Dunn

Nightwalking enables the city to be rediscovered, reimagined and reinvented with each step. Away from the busy, commercially driven aspects of nightlife it is possible to experience a different side of the city: the secret, the hidden, and the unknown. The city at night can be contemplative, fascinating, eerie and enchanting. For in the nocturnal hours urban places feel somehow less fixed and have an otherworldliness that is palpable. This chapter describes nightwalking as a way to engage with darkness and the city, the different atmospheres and ambiances. These multisensory experiences allow us to encounter places very differently. There are numerous and wonderful rewards for doing so.

in Manchester
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Paul Dobraszczyk

This chapter reflects on the hidden spaces of the city, using alleyways between terraced housing as its focus. It outlines the development of alleyways in the city’s history, as well as exploring their varied use and more recent near disappearance. It also examines how these spaces have been represented, particularly in the photographs of Shirley Baker and in official documentation by the city council. It asks about their future – how their contradictory identity might be valued rather than problematised.

in Manchester
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Cassie Britland

This chapter explores the history of Strangeways Prison in Manchester, the writer’s fascination with the place, and how that fascination might be problematic. The writer’s interest stems from her research into her distant ancestor, Mary Ann Britland, a serial poisoner who became the first woman hanged at the prison. The chapter discusses Strangeways’ iconic panopticon design, the 1990 Strangeways riot, and how the violence of that event is still visible in the prison’s external walls. It concludes by calling on researchers and writers to remember the current significance of the places their research takes them and the people living today who might be affected by their work.

in Manchester
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Becky Alexis-Martin

This chapter considers the legacy of nuclear medicine in Manchester, from its origins to the present day. The Cancer Pavilion and Home for Incurables was founded in the city in 1892. As attitudes towards cancer changed, ‘Incurables’ was dropped from its title. By 1901, the Cancer Pavilion had a thirty-bed capacity and became the Christie Hospital. At the Christie, a form of electromagnetic radiation known as Roentgen waves had come into use as an ‘X-ray treatment’ for cancerous growths. Professor Robert Briggs Wild, a pioneer of X-ray treatment in Manchester, became interested in the benefits of a newly discovered element called radium-226. This element had been identified by the Curies in 1898, and then isolated for use by 1902. While the first nuclear medicine treatments have now become redundant, the Christie remains one of Europe’s most important hospitals for nuclear medicine innovation.

in Manchester
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Brian Rosa

This chapter chronicles the transformation of the Castlefield district—the ‘Stonehenge of railway history’ – and the centrality of transport infrastructure in driving the Industrial Revolution in Manchester. It then looks at contemporary debates around the treatment of railway structures in the city as heritage and how this impacts contemporary efforts to further expand Manchester’s railway network. It highlights the public controversy surrounding the construction of the Ordsall Chord – a new railway link passing through Castlefield – and the unprecedented debate that emerged around the required destruction of railway heritage under the proposed route of the Chord.

in Manchester
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Matthew Steele

Bradford, an area to the east of Manchester’s city centre, has undergone, and continues to undergo, significant change. Once open pasture, industrialisation throughout the nineteenth century saw factories and mills joined by workers’ housing and associated amenities, such as public houses and places of worship. However, with the decline of industry in the twentieth century and the displacement of Bradford’s residents as municipal authorities enacted comprehensive redevelopment schemes in the post-1945 period, many of those amenities became redundant. This chapter considers whether the relocation of Manchester City Football Club from Moss Side to Bradford offers hope that some of the area’s remaining historic buildings can be repurposed.

in Manchester
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Joanne Hudson

By looking at two sites close to Manchester city centre – Ordsall Riverside and Middlewood Locks – this chapter highlights the interwoven spatiotemporal stories that shape the modern city. Commenting on both the volatile, often conflicting timescales of contemporary capitalism and the modest everyday cadences that influence urban space, this piece highlights that the city is, in fact, a site of constant flux.

in Manchester
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Nick Dunn

The M60, Manchester’s outer ring road, is a thing of wonder: thirty-six miles that form the UK’s only circular motorway which, were it not for its twenty-seven junctions, could be an infinite loop of Ballardian lust for drivers. The sheer scale and height of the ring road at the Barton High Level Bridge is nothing short of spectacular as its sleek concrete curves take you into the sky. Stretching out at either end of this motorway section is the ceaseless thrum of traffic, audible to many within its circumference and beyond, reminding Mancunians that their circulation system is very much alive.

in Manchester
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Sarah Butler

A mix of extracts from the author’s novel, Before The Fire – set in Manchester during the summer of the UK riots in 2011 – and reflections on their meaning, or lack of meaning. The piece thinks through the narratives assigned to the riots and the deep societal conflicts they revealed.

in Manchester