Posts Tagged ‘offices’

Manchester Revisited

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Manchester Revisited – May 5th & 7th 2017

Manchester Revisited
Two canals (Bridgewater and Rochdale) and four railways exemplify Manchester’s contribution to the industrial revolution

Pictures here are from walks in Manchester on Friday 5th May 2017 and the following Sunday while passing through the city. It was a short visit to a city I had hardly returned to for around 45 years.

Manchester Revisited
A magic bus crosses the canal

Although I grew up on the western edge of London, I spent most of the years between when I was eighteen and twenty-five in Manchester, at first studying for a degree at Manchester University and later after a short break returning to work for my doctorate at the Institute of Science and Technology.

My school had recommended Manchester for my university course, and I made my first visit there as a day trip for interviews – a very long day as the journey each way took over five hours. I didn’t see a great deal of the city that day, but I was made two unconditional offers of places and my headmaster when told advised me to stop preparing for Oxbridge entrance exams and accept Manchester, which I did. It was a decision that changed my life in various ways.

Castlefield

My course was disappointing – long hours in the lab and largely tedious lectures by staff with no training and little idea of how to teach, keen to get back to their researches. Sitting at a bench with a small plaque informing me that ‘Rutherford first split the atom here’ in 1917 was little compensation for a physics lecturer who seemed unable to explain even the simplest of concepts, though fortunately I’d studied enough of the subject at school to get a decent grade – and the same was true of my other subsidiary, Maths where I passed a rather curious end-of-year exam with 108%.

Knott Mill

But my real study was in the University Union and in the city itself, though I did enough work in my final year to get a decent grade – and to turn down offers of employment from big pharma who I found far too interested in profit rather than human good and also from the government’s explosives research lab from where I got a very long handwritten letter from one of the scientists working there about the exciting research they were doing – but I decided I really didn’t want to spend my life making better bombs.

The old canal dock area became a conservation area in 1980 and an Urban Heritage Park in 1982

I did get turned down for one job I would really have liked, working in the labs at Kodak in Harrow. I was really not sufficiently middle-class for them – and not interested enough in photography – I’d had an interest but never really been able to afford to pursue it, and dropping my camera in a lake in 1966 hadn’t helped – it never really worked properly again. I ended up getting a job in a lab ten minutes walk from my old home, but it disappointed in almost every way but the salary – at least 50% more than my father had ever earned. It didn’t last, and six months later I was back in Manchester.

River Irwell

Two years later I got married, not in Manchester but in Hull. We were both students still and had little or no money and spent our honeymoon in Manchester, with a day out on the Derbyshire hills and a day coach trip to the Lake District. We lived for the next two years on the two first-floor rooms of a small terraced house in Rusholme, close to Manchester CIty’s Maine Road ground.

New Quay St Bridge – Salford coat of arms

We moved away for me to do a course in Leicester. I’d taught for a couple of terms before just to the north of Manchester, and tried at the end of the year to get another teaching job in Manchester, but failed, ending up moving to Bracknell, where I was offered housing in a new flat on one of the new estates.

After we moved away from Manchester I think I went back once for a conference there and a weekend in Didsbury in the 1990s but not really again until 2017. We were on our way to a weekend conference a few miles to the north, and took an early train to have a few hours to look around the city. Our train came into Piccadilly, and we took a walk along the Rochdale canal and the Bridgewater canal before walking back close to the River Irwell to the city centre to catch our bus.

Doves of Peace sculpture by Michael Lyons, Manchester Civil Justice Centre

Back in 1970, the canals were still largely working areas, or mainly disused but still largely closed to the public; you could walk along some towpaths, but they were rather lonely and forbidding places. Now things are very different.

Mechanics Institute – where the TUC, CIS and UMIST began

We had time for a shorter walk on our way home, but mainly spent that in the People’s History Museum. The following year, 2018 we made a similar journey, but with less time for a walk, and then came back to stay for several days at the start of August as a part of a couple of weeks in various places celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary – including a celebration with family and friends in Hull.

More pictures from Manchester in May 2017.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Abbey Rd, South & West Hampstead – 1988

Sunday, November 28th, 2021
Langtry Walk, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-54-positive_2400
Rowley Way, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-54

Camden council bought the Alexandra Road estate, part of the Eyre estate in North London and their architect Neave Browne designed this ziggurat style terrace in 1968, but construction only began in 1972. Browne saw the design, with vehicles restricted to the basement level as a better solution than tower blocks, which had been discredited by the Ronan point collapse and other problems. Family flats with small gardens opened onto the walkway at ground level, with smaller flats stepped back above them, so all got good light and air. The height of the 8 storey block at left gave some protection to the rest of the estate from the noise of the main West Coast railway line from Euston.

I had wrongly titled this Langtry Walk, which runs at the south of this estate a few yards away with a single lower row of flats by Browne built on similar principles. The name Langtry walk refers to royal mistress Lily Langtree, nicknamed “The Jersey Lily”, who, as local historians Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms have shown had no connection with the area but was co-opted by a resident whose house in Alexandra Road was to be demolished for the new estate.

The estate was Grade II* listed in 1993, remarkably early in its life and the first post-Second World War council estate and one of very few public housing schemes to acheive this status.

Snowman House, Casterbridge, Abbey Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-55-positive_2400
Snowman House, Casterbridge, Abbey Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-55

This photograph was made from Abbey Road, with the back of Rowley Way at the right of the picture. Snowman House at left is on Abbey Road and Casterbridge at the corner of this and Belsize Rd and both are in Camden Council’s Abbey Estate. Both were approved in 1965 and building completed in 1967. They have 20 storeys above ground and are 59.4m tall – about 195 feet.

Snowman House, Casterbridge, Abbey Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-42-positive_2400

A bridge across Abbey Road connects the Casterbridge tower with another Abbey estate building, Emminster, which has a parade of shops at ground level. Both the 8 storey Emminster and another block, Hinstock, are scheduled for demolition to make way for new affordable homes to be built, and improvements to the road layout. This bridge was still there in April 2021, but will presumably soon be gone.

Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-35-positive_2400
Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-35

I walked back towards Kilburn Grange Park and then to West End Lane, and then across to FInchley Road. On my contact sheet this row of heraldic figures on the front garden wall of a house is labelled ‘Finchley Rod’, but it may have been a few yards down a side turning.

The Alcove Cafe, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-36-positive_2400
The Alcove Cafe, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-36

The Alcove Cafe was in a part of the former station entrance for the Finchley Road (Midland) station which first opened as Finchley Rd & St John’s Wood in 1868. Around 1905 a row of seven shops and offices named Midland Crescent was added to the entrance on the west side of FInchley Road. The station closed in 1927 but the shops remained, being demolished in the early 1990s for the building of the O2 Centre here. Various planning, finanacial and other problems held up the new building which finally opened in 1998.

Neasden Electronics, Tandoori Cottage, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-21-positive_2400
Neasden Electronics, Tandoori Cottage, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-21

Neasden Electronics was roughly opposite the former station, and these buildings have now been replaced by a hotel.

Broadhurst Gardens, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-22-positive_2400
Broadhurst Gardens, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-22

I walked down towards Swiss Cottage turning briefly into Broadhurst Gardens to make a picture of the rear of the St John’s Court flats on FInchley Rd, built in 1937-8, architect T P Bennett, with the lower three floors for the department store John Barnes, with five floors above housing 96 flats. In 1940 the store became part of the John Lewis Partnership. It closed as a department store in 1981 and the ground floor are now occupied by Waitrose.

Swiss Cottage, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-24-positive_2400
Swiss Cottage, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-24

I made a couple of photographs of new office buildings at Swiss Cottage.

Swiss Cottage, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-25-positive_2400

Swiss Cottage, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-25-positive_2400
Swiss Cottage, South Hampstead, Camden, 1988 88-6d-25

And then went on the photograph Ye Olde Swiss Cottage, a Grade II listed Samuel Smiths pub originally built as an alpine-style chalet and called The Swiss Tavern.

Ye Olde Swiss Cottage, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-26-positive_2400
Ye Olde Swiss Cottage, Finchley Rd, Camden, 1988 88-6d-26

Various dates for the building of the chalet can be found on the web, including both 1804 and 1840. Possibly CAMRA may be more reliable given the nature of the building, which they state “was built in 1830 by T Redmond and it stood next to a toll gate; travellers would stop at the tavern while waiting to pay their fees. There had been a gabled building on the site called Lausanne Cottage said to have been used by Charles II as a hunting lodge and their may have been an earlier pub called the Swiss Tavern.”

I didn’t pop in for a pint of ‘Old Brewery Bitter’ (and probably it wasn’t then on tap) but continued my walk – and will do so in a later post.


Click on any of the pictures to go to a larger version on the album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse the whole album. Pictures there are usually in file name order which differs from the order in which they were taken.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Finsbury 1988 (Part 1)

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Ropemaker St, Islington, 1988 88-5m-14-positive_2400
Ropemaker St, Islington, 1988 88-5m-14

At the end of May 1988 I went to Finsbury on the northern edge of the City of London – not to be confused with Finsbury Park a couple of miles further north. I think I might have been visiting an exhibition at the Barbican Gallery which has its main street entrance in Silk Street, just a few yards from the border with Finsbury, part of the London Borough of Islington.

Ropemaker St, Islington, 198888-5n-61-positive_2400
Ropemaker St, Islington, 1988 88-5n-61
Ropemaker St, Islington, 1988 88-5n-62-positive_2400
Ropemaker St, Islington, 1988 88-5n-62
Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-64-positive_2400
Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-64

Or it could be that I was simply visiting some of my favourite new buildings in London, in Ropemaker St, some now demolished and replaced. Those balconies – perhaps from the 1950s – are still there but the more recent building on the other side of Chiswell Street has been replaced by something bigger and blander.

Honourable Artillery Company, Gates, Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-63-positive_2400

Honourable Artillery Company, Gates, Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-63

I simply had to turn around to find my next subject, the gates of the Honourable Artillery Company, established by Royal Charter on 25th August 1537 and said to be the second-oldest military corps in the world. It actually traces its history back rather further to 21 years after the Norman invasion. The ‘Artillery’ for much of its history was the long bow and it originally had a field in Spitalfields where it could practice shooting arrows, and it only moved permanently here to the Artillery Garden in in 1658. As well as military practice the ground has also often been used for sporting and other events; cricket is said to have been played here as early as 1725 and the first balloon flight in England began was here by Vincenzo Lunardi in September 1784. THe HAC is still a part of the Army Reserve, the oldest regiment in the British Army.

Diana, sculpture, Chiswell St,  Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-52-positive_2400
Diana, sculpture, Chiswell St, Finsbury St, Islington,1988 88-5n-52

In front of one of the buildings on Chiswell St was a narrow garden with a few bushes and a sculpture of Diana the Huntress with two dogs. I don’t know what has happened to this.

Whitecross St,  Finsbury, Islington,198888-5n-55-positive_2400
Whitecross St, Finsbury, Islington,198888-5n-55

A tall warehouse on the corner of Errol St and Whitecross St has a sign for A J Brown Brough & Co Ltd, Paper and Packaging. The building is still there, now I think converted largely to residential use, with its main entrances in Dufferin St. But of more interest to many – and perhaps to me when I made the image – is the vintage Citroen in the foreground.

I’ll continue my walk around Finsbury in later posts. You can click on any of the pictures here to go to larger versions in my album 1988 London Photos.


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1987 – Around Fleet St

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Dorset Rise, City, 1987 87-10m-66-positive_2400
Dorset Rise, City, 1987

Dorset Rise runs up from Tudor St towards Fleet Street, changing its name further up to Salisbury Court and lies at what was the heart of the newspaper industry in ‘Fleet St’. This building at 1-2 Dorset Rise dates from the 1930s and was reclad around 1985. In 2012-3 it was converted into a Premier Inn hotel.

Dorset Rise, City, 1987 87-10m-56-positive_2400
Dorset Rise, City, 1987

3 Dorset Rise is a high quality 10 storey office building, sometimes said to have been built in 1985 but probably dating from the 1930s and like the hotel at 1-2 given a new shiny pink brown granite facing in that year. I am unsure if the deco touches at the top of these blocks date from the 1930s or were added in 1985.

Kingscote St, City, 1987 87-10m-44-positive_2400
Kingscote St, City, 1987

I had forgotten where Kingscote St is and had to look for it on Google Maps. Its a short street, around 50 metres long, between Watergate and Tudor St, a short distance west of New Bridge St. One side is occupied by a hotel and the other by a large shared office building. I think this doorway, now slightly altered was at the rear of 100 Victoria Embankment, better known as Unilever House, where Watergate meets Kingscote but if so the sculpture I photographed has gone.

Blackfriars House, New Bridge St,  City, 1987 87-10m-33-positive_2400
Blackfriars House, New Bridge St, City, 1987

Blackfriars House on New Bridge St is a rather dull building with some fine detail and perhaps surprisingly is Grade II listed, the text beginning “1913-16 by F. W. Troup. Steel-framed commercial building with white majolica facing. 7 storeys, the rectilinear structural grid expressed in the facade which is, however, divided in a classically-derived manner.” My picture I think makes it look a far more interesting building than it really is. It is now a hotel.

The Blackfriar, New Bridge St, Queen Victoria St, City, 1987 87-10m-31-positive_2400
The Blackfriar, New Bridge St, Queen Victoria St, City, 1987

The Blackfriar is a fine pub built around 1875 on the corner of Queen Victoria St, part of the site of a former friary. But it only got the decoration which gave rise to its Grade II* listing in the early years of the twentieth century, beginning in 1905, with work by architect Herbert Fuller-Clark and sculptors Frederick T. Callcott & Henry Poole. Sir John Betjeman led a campaign to save it from demolition in the 1960s and CAMRA has published a couple of books about historic pub interiors which feature it.

I think the huge and extremely boring block of the Bank of New York Mellon at 160 Queen Victoria St now blocks this view of St Paul’s Cathedral. It might be possible, but difficult to design a building of less architectural merit.

City Golf Club, Bride Lane, City, 1987 87-10m-25-positive_2400
City Golf Club, Bride Lane, City, 1987

I don’t think any golf was ever played at the City Golf Club and there were never any balls on the fairway in its left-hand window. The two people standing talking in its doorway are I think clearly employees rather than golfers. The Golf Club in Bride Lane a few yards from Fleet St was a members only drinking club much frequented by journalists at a time when pubs closed in the afternoons.

Daily Telegraph, Fleet St, City, 1987 87-10m-13-positive_2400
Daily Telegraph, Fleet St, City, 1987

Perhaps surprisingly the Daily Telegraph building dates from only 4 years before its near neighbour at the Daily Express. The Telegraph building has some Art Deco touches with Egyptian decorations which accord with its date of 1928, designed by Elcock C Sutcliffe with Thomas Tait, but seems rather old-fashioned and staid, with a monumental colonnade perhaps in keeping with its assumed gravitas, but seems to me despite its decorations a decidedly Edwardian building. Pevsner gave it a one of his more scathing reviews, “neo-Greco-Egyptian imitation has turned modernist, with much fluting, fancy iron-work and little to recommend it”. It was Grade II listed in 1983.

Probably my reason for photographing this building was that the Daily Telegraph had just moved out to offices in Victoria – and you can see the boards up in front of its ground floor as it was being made ready for occupation by investment bankers Goldman Sachs on lease until 2021. They moved to Plumtree Court in nearby Shoe Lane and the property, now owned by Qatar, is being again revamped.

Daily Express, Fleet St, City, 1987 87-10m-11-positive_2400
Daily Express, Fleet St, City, 1987

The Daily Express had moved to their new building designed by Ellis and Clarke with Sir Owen Williams, very much in the modern movement of the age in 1931. It was the first London building where the outer wall was a non-structural ‘curtain wall’ and was Grade II* listed in 1972. Like its similar offices in Manchester it was known as the Black Lubyanka. When I made this picture in 1987 the newspaper was still produced here, moving out two years later in 1989 across the Thames to Blackfriars Rd. It came back to the City in Lower Thames St in 2004.

These pictures are from Page 7 of my album 1987 London Photos.