A Flowery History – The Big Friday Find

City centre Manchester changes at a frightening speed.  If you don’t visit for a few weeks buildings disappear and new ones shoot up in their place.  Shops move from one place to another, some restaurants and bars open with great fanfare while others slip away quietly.

Mixed in with all this change are some long standing institutions.  Most of you will now be thinking of your favourite buildings that have stood watch over Manchester for many years, but some institutions aren’t bricks and mortar.  This week I found a great picture of one Mancunian institution…

Flower Stall at St Anns Church, Manchester

This picture is from 1898 and is from the early days of the flower stall outside St Ann’s Church in St Ann’s Square.  Roll on 100 (and a bit) years to today.

Flourish florists

We wondered if the stall had originally been to supply flowers to people visiting the nearby graves.  If anyone knows, please let us know.  Big thanks to the current owners for letting two random women take their photo.

By the way, it’s Valentines Day.  We aren’t really a team of old romantics but if you’re buying someone flowers, please support your local florist.

Every Picture Tells a Story – The Big Friday Find

While looking through the photographs of Manchester around 1900 on images.manchester.gov.uk I noticed one name that came up again and again.  Who was this H Entwistle and why was he taking all these photographs?  Some of them show us the realities of life in Victorian Manchester in wonderful detail.  This image of Miles Platting is fascinating.

Corner Shop in Miles Platting

After doing some quick research I discovered that H Entwistle was Harry Entwistle and he worked initially as photographer for Manchester Corporation, mostly for the Surveyors Department.  This explains the nature of the photographs, after all not many people would be keen to photograph outside toilets.

Housing Closets at 2 Stone St, Ancoats

Harry Entwistle

I found this picture of Harry, at his desk.  We believe this was around the time that he set up his own business.

Along with the photograph is an image of the brochure for Harry’s photography business.
Manchester Photographic Tracing cover

If you’re interested in how Victorians really lived, take a look at Harry’s photographs on the local image collection.  They will tell the story better than a thousand words.
Princess Street back of 197 and 199

“Most Interesting” Photographs 1-5 – The Big Friday Find

Last week we showed you the 6th – 10th “most interesting” photographs from our Flickr stream (according to our Flickr stats).  I promised that we’d show you 1-5 this week, so here goes…

5.  The Picc-Vicc Project

These are designs from 1975 for a proposed underground rail link between Victoria and Piccadilly stations.  There are some very interesting comments and links on the Flickr page for this image (click on the photo and it will take you straight there).  I was especially interested to learn that Manchester Arndale was built with space for a station underground.

The Picc-Vicc Project

4.The Apollo in 1950

My first experience of The Apollo was seeing the band A-Ha there in 1987 and, for the record, they were brilliant.  Many other loud and sweaty evenings have been held there since.  Before it’s reinvention as Manchester’s home for medium sizes gig, The Apollo was a cinema.  When this photo was taken in 1950 you could have seen Victor Mature in “Fury at Furnace Creek”.

The Apollo in 1950

3.  LS Lowry in New Cross, 1968

After many years of being snubbed by the London art world, Lowry has finally been given a Tate exhibition.  Here in Manchester he’s always been pretty popular, as his position in our big countdown shows.

LS Lowry in New Cross, 1968

2.  CIS construction workers, c.1962

This is the Mancunian version of that iconic New York construction worker photo.  I can hear Health and Safety Officers screaming “hard hats” and “safety harnesses” from all over.  The view must have been spectacular but these men must have nerves of steel.
CIS construction workers, c.1962

1.  Before the Storm: Piccadilly Gardens 1940

It has never looked so beautiful, which is all the more poignant when you consider the battering that it took later that year.  Our most interesting photo is of Piccadilly Gardens, we’re glad that you love it because we do too!

Before the Storm: Piccadilly Gardens 1940

Please let us know what you think about our top ten.  Did you agree?  Have we missed one of your favourites?  You can browse our full Flickr collection here.

“Most Interesting” Photographs 6-10 – The Big Friday Find

The find this week is an interesting selection rather than an item. While collecting the statistics for our Flickr account, I found an option that shows our photographs ranked by “interestingness”. I’m not sure how the interestingness is judged but I thought you might like to see what they were!

10. Piccadilly Gardens Bomb Shelters 1940

These bomb shelters were constructed not long before the Manchester Blitz. Modern day Piccadilly Gardens has a memorial tree to remember those killed in the long nights of December 22nd and 23rd 1940.

Piccadilly Gardens Bomb shelters 1940

9. Charles Street/Medlock Street, Chorlton On Medlock, 1903

This is one of my favourites. What on earth is going on in this picture? The comments on our Flickr page are very interesting too – clicking on the picture will take you there.

Charles Street/Medlock Street, Chorlton On Medlock, 1903

8. Central Library Tram Poster

By E. Wigglesworth. Manchester Municipal School of Art organised a competition to produce pictorial posters for the Manchester Corporation Transport Department trams and buses between 1933 and 1934. In all, eighteen designs were used; the corporation paid the School of Art two guineas in order to use them. Their unusual shape was designed to fit on the back of the driver’s cab. We love it so much, we’ve made it our avatar!

Central Library tram poster

7. Subsidence, Bridge Street, Ardwick, 29 July 1895

This is a brilliant photograph. If there was a large poster, I would buy it, frame it and gaze at it for hours. Again, the Flickr comments are very interesting.

Subsidence, Bridge Street, Ardwick, 29 July 1895

6. Victoria Bridge, Manchester by James Mudd, c.1864

Victoria Bridge was opened in 1839. It was named after Queen Victoria, but the lady herself didn’t manage to visit it until around 1851 (but we’ll forgive her as being Queen must be very time consuming). It replaced Salford Old Bridge which had been built in the 14th century at the site of a ford and is where the name Salford comes from.

Victoria Bridge, Manchester by James Mudd, c.1864 (GB124.Q38)

I’m feeling naughty this afternoon, so I’m going to make this a cliff hanger and keep you all waiting until next Friday to find out what the top five are. Feel free to tell us which your top five would be!

#YRS2012 Update: Ideas, Potential and Coffee

Last week MadLab hosted Manchester’s Young Rewired State 2012. We provided data  to the Manchester Local Image Collection, details can be found here, the previous post #YRS2012: Open, Is Better serves as an introduction to our Open Data journey and we’ve also created a Storify documenting the highlights. Potential was unearthed, ideas generated and coffee drank. Two young and very talented programmers used our data…

First up we have Imageception, making images out of images. Using the Flickr API it incorporates tagging and creative commons, when you select an image it matches pixels against colour to create a collage, watch the video for more information from Matt;

Next up we have the Manchester Image Archive; using Google Street View users are able to pinpoint the longitude and latitude positions of exactly where the item was taken and rate views on a scale on 1 -5. Interestingly, it identified a flaw in our data; the keywords which accompany the collection vary in strength, the crowdsourcing/user generated aspect to this project is therefore very interesting. Judges at the show and tell in the Custard Factory, Birmingham nominated it for the Best in Show Category and gave it a Special Mention. Watch the video for more information from Jack;

Colleagues from Manchester Libraries, MDDA and ourselves were lucky enough to watch the practice pitches on Thursday. We were all astounded by creativity and complexity of the products developed.

All in all a fantastic, informing and inspiring experience to be a part of. See you in 2013…

Man’s Best Friend

A little Friday afternoon treat for you all (if you like pictures of dogs that is) with much love from the Manchester Archives. Pick a favourite and tell us why in the comment box below or via our twitter page @McrArchives. Captions welcome too!

Images from the Manchester Local Image Collection: http://images.manchester.gov.uk