Friday, 18 May 2018

A little of steam history ....... down at Liverpool Road in 1980

Looking towards Byrom Street, 1980
Now when I took these pictures back in the summer of 1980 I was not aware of the significance of that day.

I was down on Liverpool Road and the old goods yard had been thrown open to the public who piled in to view a collection of steam locomotives in what had once been the Liverpool Road Railway Station which was the first passenger railway station in the world.

It had opened in 1830, connecting Manchester to Liverpool and was an overnight success.  So much so that by 1844 the passenger part of the business was relocated to a new station at Hunts Bank and the Liverpool Road site was given over entirely to goods.

And this is what it remained till it closure and eventual conversion into the museum.
At the time I wasn’t aware of this long history or that I would in the fullness of time come to use the place as part of a series of examination courses stretching from 1986 through into the 2000’s.

Inside the warehouse, 1980
Over those decades the site has been transformed with some sensitive restoration and in places a bit of brutal butchery.  Part of the 1830 warehouse, opposite the station was gutted in the 1980s and many of the features lost forever, while all of the old manual turn tables for turning wagons have now also been lost.

The other end of the 1830 warehouse was carefully restored allowing visitors an opportunity to see what such a building would have looked like.

But in 1980, all of that was in the future.  In the company of hundreds of others I wandered over the site and the pictures I took reveal the place pretty much as British Rail had left it.

So looking up towards Lower Byrom Street at the replica locomotive, you can see the timber gates which once given access to the road, and have now been replaced by the entrance lodge, a set of metal gates and a brick addition to what is now the Power Hall.

The Power House, 2008
And the Power House with its mix of moving and fixed steam machinery was once just a cavernous space with cast iron pillars supporting a timber roof.

In 1980 crowds of enthusiasts along with curious wandered through the building admiring the steam locomotives.

Today, people who were also there have shared their pictures if the site later in the .onth I will preview some of them.

Location; the Liverpool Road Railway Station

Pictures; August 4, 1980, down with the steam, and in 2008, from the collection of Andrew Simpson


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