There has been a big drama lately about the area of land on the corner of Princess Street and Whitworth Street, which is just across the canal from the New Union pub in the gay village.
The land has been ear-marked for another much-needed (cough) skyscraper. But campaigners say this will have a negative impact on the gay village. I would question whether anything can possibly ‘spoil’ the gay village.
The car-park used to be the site of this rather impressive building (this picture is from 1973). Here’s another photo and one here that shows huge windows at the side on every floor. Here’s one more photo from 1972 and I can’t resist linking to this shot, which shows a veritable horse-drawn traffic-jam at the same junction in 1914 and seems to have been snapped from the building itself.
As as is so often the case in Manchester, the ideal thing would have been if this buiding had never been demolished in the first place. It seems that happened soon after these images were made in the seventies and the corner has been an unloved wasteland ever since.
Buildings that are far more historic and significant than this one continue to disappear in Manchester every year. The grade-two-listed Empress Cinema on Oldham Road burnt down last year. The Odeon cinema on Oxford Street in the city centre is probably going to go.
At the end of 2005, the former Welsh Baptist Chapel on Upper Brook Street had its roof removed and is now a ruin that is open to the elements. It was designed by Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, and its owners had allowed this beautiful building to fall into a dangerous state. Who are the owners? Why, our friends at Manchester City Council… English Heritage doesn’t seem to have been able to do anything so far.
Here’s a 19th century mill in Ancoats that seems to be under demolition. Walking around last week, I spotted that another industrial building near Brock Street has gone. It was across the road from the place where the first transatlantic cable was manufactured. That building went a few years ago. And so on…
But today I was more annoyed to see that a couple of dozen trees have been chopped down around the car-park. Not only have they felled those that were growing in the ground, but they have also destroyed a large number that were growing in tubs. Obviously it was too much bother to move these somewhere else.
This is madness when there are such problems getting young trees established in some areas of the city due to vandalism etc. They can clamp a car, lift it onto a lorry and move it somewhere else, but can’t do that with some trees?
And here’s how they looked two weeks ago.