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Wednesday 15 September 2010

Bygone Manchester: the Grand Theatre, Peter Street

The former Grand Theatre, Peter StreetThe lower building nearest the camera was once the Grand Theatre.

Built for Edward Garcia, and designed by a Mr Weldon, it opened as a circus on 29 September 1883 and then became a theatre. From 1916 until 1924 the building operated as a cinema, known firstly as the Palladium and then the Futurist. After which it became home to the Christian Science Church and by the 1980’s was a quite stylish car showroom. Currently it’s closed, having been a bar.

The Manchester Libraries Local Image Collection has a photograph from 1956 which shows the building and another from 1960. It seems there were shops at the front at ground level.

At some point after that the upper part of the theatre frontage was taken down and replaced by the unexciting red brick wall that we see today.

The caption on this photograph, from 1973, suggests at that time the site (and probably the Albert Hall next door) faced a compulsory purchase order and was destined to be a new police headquarters. But it never happened and the police are still based just a few yards away at the old HQ in Bootle Street, which runs along the back of the building.

The rear of the former Grand Theatre, Peter Street, Manchester

The rear is a bit of a mystery. The building seems quite small and has a low roof. How would a theatre fit into this building? Let alone a circus (don’t send any giraffes!). The site is approximately 30m x 22m. I suppose it was just a very small music hall?


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Here’s an archive view that gives a glimpse of the back in 1908 — two years before the Albert Hall was built. It looks rather run-down and a sign on the roof advertises shows ‘twice nightly’. This is how it looked in 1973.

This website has more information about the history of this building and many other theatres in Manchester and around the UK, past and present.


Filed under: Buildings,Bygone Manc,History,Manchester — GS @ 2:43 am
Monday 30 August 2010

Canal Street — August Bank Holiday Monday 1990

I shot these photographs exactly twenty years ago today, on August Bank Holiday Monday 1990. This is how the Manchester Pride that we either love or loathe started off (although the word ‘pride’ wasn’t used in the name until 2003). (more…)


Filed under: Gay,History,Manchester — GS @ 2:06 am
Monday 16 August 2010

Manchester Local Image Collection

I’m a huge fan of the Manchester Libraries Local Image Collection which puts 80,000 archive photographs at our fingertips online.

A week I ago I discovered some changes had been made which meant the hundreds of links that I have from my website to theirs didn’t work anymore. But I’m glad to say that after I alerted them to the problem they fixed it.

The Image Collection has been integrated with the site’s shopping cart system, making it easier to buy a high-quality print. An 10″x8″ print costs £7.


Filed under: Buildings,History,Manchester,Photography — GS @ 3:55 pm
Thursday 12 August 2010

Robert Stephenson — buried in a churchyard in Eccles

I was in Eccles today. The trains back to Manchester only run every hour so I had some time on my hands before the return journey. I ended up looking around the churchyard of The Parish Church of St.Mary the Virgin in Eccles town centre. (more…)


Filed under: History,Manchester — GS @ 12:30 am
Wednesday 4 November 2009

Right-wingers stoke Islamophobia in Longsight churchyard planning mystery

Latest (25 March 2010): a video of my visit to the site today. This shows the current situation and casts further doubt on the claims of ‘desecration’.

As church attendance figures have plummeted over the decades many buildings have been saved by being converted to a different use.

One old church on Dickenson Road in Rusholme became the Mancunian Film Studios from 1947-1953. After that it was sold to the BBC which used it for Grandstand and the first editions of Top of the Pops. (more…)


Filed under: Buildings,History,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 3:47 am
Sunday 1 November 2009

Halloween Special: why the University of Manchester at Whitworth Street may be haunted

Halloween pumpkin with carved face

Just over one hundred years ago the Manchester College of Technology had a lovely new building on the corner of Whitworth Street and Sackville Street. (more…)


Filed under: Buildings,History,Manchester — GS @ 12:27 am
Friday 23 October 2009

The Independent newspaper premieres Alan Turing radio drama

This weekend The Independent will premiere a new radio play about scientist Alan Turing on its website. More details can be found in this LGF news article.


Filed under: Gay,History,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:18 am
 
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