I bought two sets of stereoviews about a year and a half apart from two different photo dealers, who in turn had bought them from different auctions in the UK. I noticed as soon as I saw the second lot that they were by the same unknown amateur stereo photographer, so I was pleased to reunite the collections. If anyone finds any others, I’d be really interested to see what else they photographed, so please get in touch.
The photographer was from Greater Manchester, UK, and they enjoyed documenting the history of the area; I love seeing a place frozen in time in 3-D, stepping back and seeing what was important to the photographer, almost as if you’re looking through their eyes. This amateur also liked the Victorian stereocard format, which is unusual for the 1960s, as you nearly always only find film slides from amateurs at this time.
The stereoviews are from 1964 to 1968, and in total there are 55. They’re are often a bit skew-whiff, so please move your head accordingly for the 3-D! I’ll share a selection so we can step back into Manchester and the surrounding areas together. If you need any help viewing the images in 3-D, please see this post.
- 1. Old Tenter-Posts, Near Delph, 1964.
Tenter posts were used as part of the cloth-manufacturing process during the Industrial Revolution and a tenterfield would have had rows and rows of them, with lengths of cloth stretched out to dry between the posts. The rolls of textile stretched between the posts were held in place by rows of tenterhooks, and this is where the phrase ‘on tenterhooks’ (waiting nervously for something) comes from. I’m unsure if these exist anymore near Delph as I can’t find any mention of them, but there are a few still dotted about the UK.
- 2. Mellor Church, 1965.
Mellor Church stands overlooking the village of Mellor, Greater Manchester. In the churchyard are the remains of a pair of stone shafts of stocks, probably dating from the 19th Century (1st image), and an Anglo-Saxon cross (2nd image – looks flat sorry, I think they pasted the same image twice). There are a few more images of the interior of Mellor Church and if there’s interest I can add them too.
- 3. Old Car Rally, Albert Square, Manchester, 1965.
The first car is a red Ford Model T, first registered in December 1923. The second car is a maroon Morris Cowley 4 seat tourer, first registered in January 1924. Amazingly, both cars are still going strong today!
- 4. Hyde Road, Ardwick, 1965.
In the background, you can see the tower of the former Nicholl’s Hospital, built in 1879, now Nicholl’s Campus of City College. The terraced houses/shops appear to have since been demolished, maybe with the expansion of the A57.
This boundary stone says ‘Township Gorton Ardwick’, also on Hyde Road. I can’t find if it still exists today.
- 5. Coach Terrace of Deansgate, Manchester, 1965.
This terrace also seems to have been a victim of expansion, on what is now the A56.
- 6. Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, 1965.
This area was built between 1959 and 1965, comprising of Piccadilly Hotel, Sunley House and Bernard House. The site was redeveloped in 2000, with Bernard House being demolished. More info is available on Manchester History.Net
- 7. Downing Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, 1965.
You can see redevelopment already busy taking place in the stereoviews; this was part of a slum clearance programme of the 1960s, in the hope of improving the lives of working class families, whilst also modernising Manchester.
- 8. Victoria Arches, Air-Raid Shelters, Feb. 1968.
‘War-time notice in the shelters under the Cathedral flags.’
‘Arches under the pavement outside the Cathedral used as Air-road shelters.’
‘Part of the Sand-stone wall, underground arches.’
These are apparently now bricked up and inaccessible, with the staircase being removed in the latter part of the 20th Century, but you can read about them being photographed in 2009 by our friend Andrew Brooks, with more images on Andrew’s website.
- 9. New One-Man Buses, Feb. 1968.
‘The first two of the new one-man buses. On view to the public.’
These are Mancunian Double Decker Buses, designed by the Manchester Corporation Transport Department. If buses are your passion, the SELNEC Preservation Society website gives the following information: “1001, the first Mancunian, and 1024 the second one to be licensed, went on display together on Saturday, 24th. February 1968, in Manchester, and subsequently entered service.” Please click on the above link for more info.
Thanks to an email and Twitter conversations with SELNEC and MoTGM, the first bus, 1001, can be found today at the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester. Their website describes it as ‘1001 – HVM 901F – Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 – Double deck bus, from 1968’. Paul Wilkinson from the Museum sent the following Flickr images:
With more images on Flickr found here.
- 10. Cleaning the Piccadilly Statues, Feb. 1968.
‘Cleaning Queen Victoria, Piccadilly.’
‘Students cleaning the statues on Piccadilly.’
The second stereoview shows the statue of James Watt, a Scottish inventor, who brought about improvements to the steam engine. His work was seen as vital to Manchester as an emerging industrial area.
- 11. Remains of the Blitzed Victoria Hotel, Deansgate, Manchester, May 1968.
‘Uncovering the kellars of the Blitzed Victoria Hotel.’
‘Cellars of the Blitzed Victoria Hotel, Deansgate.’
‘Shambles, Victoria Street.’
‘Excavations – Victoria Street.’
The Victoria Buildings were destroyed by German bombs on the evening of December 22nd 1940. You can read more on Manchester History. Net. I love to see the old 1960s shops in the background.
- 12. Gateway House, Piccadilly Station, Manchester, May 1968.
Despite these photos being taking in 1968, the building wasn’t apparently opened until 1969.
- 13. ‘The Last Shot’ Boer War Memorial, St. Anne’s Square, Manchester, June 1968.
Created by sculptor Hamo Thornycroft and erected in 1908.
- 14. The Trade Union Congress Centenary Parade, Manchester, 1968.
‘Beginning of the T.U.C. Parade – Manchester’.
This parade took place on the 1st June 1968 in London and Manchester – the site of the first Congress. British Pathé have a film of the event, available here.
- 15. The Wilton Arms, Manchester Road, Denton.
For some reason, the photographer also made sepia copies of these images, maybe it’s because they knew it was about to be demolished. You can read more about the pub here.
There are lots of untitled stereoviews, and when I have more time, I’ll try and research them some more to identify them. Better than that, I’d really like to sit down with someone from the area and go through them to see if they can recognise the locations. Please get in touch if you wouldn’t mind me bugging you with questions!
I’ll finish by sharing my favourite untitled image, a simple but beautiful composition in 3-D:
I promised to write about these photographs back in June as I really love the care that’s gone into making them, and the affection for the area. Unlike most politicians, I kept my word, and I hope to unearth a few more gems of the history of Manchester within this set.
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