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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
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Tim Edensor

This chapter draws on a visit to a large, sprawling industrial ruin, subsequently demolished. It details the wealthy industrialist who founded the factory, and its evolution as a large production facility for chain making. The discussion draws a contrast between the formerly busy production line and the quiet dereliction of its ruinous state. Description is supplemented by an incident in which fear surged, later to be dispelled, and by an account of some of the enigmatic vestiges that remained. The chapter concludes by contextualising this ruin as part of an economic process of producing abundant ruins across Greater Manchester, and their subsequent erasure and replacement in recent years.

in Manchester
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Natalie Bradbury

Works of art by internationally significant artists can be seen freely and accessibly in Greater Manchester, without even having to step foot inside an art gallery or museum. Visiting key works by artists including the British sculptors Elisabeth Frink and Gertrude Hermes, and the conceptual artists Gustav Metzger and Ryan Gander, this chapter explores the history of public art commissioning in Greater Manchester. It discusses a variety of aims of placing artworks in public places – from public parks to Manchester Airport – showing how these range from decoration and celebration, to interaction and participation, to placemaking and tourism.

in Manchester