Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Views from a tram window ........... Manchester ..... June 2017

Now the coming of the railways brought many new things.

And a list would include faster, easier and in time cheaper travel, summed up best by John Ruskin in 1856 when he said "Your railroad, when you come to understand it, is only a device for making the world smaller"*

A world then made even smaller by the introduction of standard railway time, based on Greenwich Mean Time.

But it also allowed people to look across at the level of the skyline and down on to the streets and rooftops below.

For many this was a new experience and would have occupied many passengers as their railway train pulled out of the main line railway stations through the densely packed inner city streets.

So with that in mind here are three of a short series based on the photographs of Andy Robertson, who last week set himself the task of recording what he could see from the window of the tram as it passed through Deansgate Castlefield on its way to St Peter’s Square.

And with the speed of change along the line, some of what he saw on that June day will be gone within six months while those tall cranes will deliver even more high rise blocks which dot the approach from Cornbrook.

At which point I shall fall back on the writer Edwin Muir who in the winter of 1857, travelled from the heart of the city to Stretford by train along a railway which was just eight years old.  It was a journey of contrasts.

Leaving “the huge manufacturies, and the miserable chimney tops of Little Ireland, down by the dirty Medlock; we ran over a web of dingy streets, swarming with dingy people............  left the black stagnant canal, coiled in the hollow, stretching its dark length into the distance , like some slimy  snake.”**

And that is all for now.  Andy has entitled his series, “Dodging the Trams”.

Location; Deansgate Castlefield

Pictures; Deansgate Castlefield, 2017 from the series, Dodging the Trams by Andy Robertson

*John Ruskin, Landscape, Mimesis and Morality,   1856

** Muir, Edwin, Lancashire Sketches, Alexander Ireland & Co  Manchester, 1869, pages 74 & 75 

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