We’re big fans of Flickr here at Manchester Transport blog: it’s a great place to explore photos that other people have taken. And whilst I can’t speak for Martin, I’m certainly a big fan of local history. So imagine my delight when the two combine in the form of Manchester Archive+ – a project by Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives) to open up their collection to a wider audience using social media.
Manchester already has an incredibly useful and interesting online image archive, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the sheer volume of results. By making the photographs available on Flickr, it’s possible to arrange photos into sets and allow the public to comment and tag images. Over 600 images have been uploaded already, and we hope there will be more to come.
As far as Manchester’s transport heritage is concerned, we enjoyed browsing through the sets relating to the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal and the days when Manchester Central trainshed thronged to steam engines rather than business conferences. There’s also a set dedicated to the changing face of Piccadilly Gardens – alas we’re too young and “foreign” to remember the old bus station, but here it is in 1995 complete with Metrolink in the background. It isn’t just about the infrastructure: there’s a social aspect as well, the days when the community would take their holidays together leading to photos such as Salford Lad’s Club awaiting departure in a charabanc and Bury Felt trooping off a train in Blackpool.
The image accompanying this piece is a period advert extolling the virtues of Manchester Central Library, which is “easily reached by tram and bus” – nice to know that some things don’t change! It’s one of a set of 18 designs for pictorial posters for Manchester Corporation Transport Department trams and buses in the 1930s. The unusual shape was designed to fit in the back of the driver’s cab, with the corporation paying the Manchester Municipal School of Art two guineas to use the designs which resulted from a competition organised by the school.
[Image credit: “Central Library tram poster” by Manchester Archive+ on Flickr, copyright Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives), ref GB127.M29 File 71J, used with permission]