Mapped: The whole of underground Manchester

I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden tunnels and chambers beneath our streets and Manchester has more than its fair share. I bought the book Underground Manchester a few years ago and thought it pretty comprehensively covered this secret world most of us know nothing about. However, a recent article in the Manchester Evening News shows that the city has many more stories to tell.

Mancunian enthusiast Mark Crossfield has spent the last few years putting together Hidden Manchester – a site dedicated to his love of the Manchester Underground. The MEN article contains a few good examples, but I thoroughly recommend a look at the site as it is packed with information.

Cartographically, it is not very exciting – just a push-pin overlay on a satellite basemap – but all the features have popup information with links for further reading. There isn’t any attribution on the basemap (I think it’s Google) and it doesn’t seem to be possible to switch to a vector map instead of imagery or turn on a street labelling layer either, but this map is definitely more about content than presentation. The sources page is full of interesting links and is probably worth the price of admission alone. There is certainly enough here to keep me quiet for some time.


Konichiwa Manchester!

I was passing through the Japanese department of Manchester University at the weekend (don’t ask why, it’s a long story), when I saw this entertaining poster on someone’s office door. It shows the city centre and selected landmarks, with a lot of cartographic licence in play – whole streets and junctions are missing and the trams have just been dumped randomly between buildings. I don’t think it is intended for navigation though…

Manchester Japanese

Now, I don’t speak any Japanese, but a few minutes on Google translate told me that the word in blue is ‘Manchester’. The second word is probably ‘music’, as it matches the first word below Music Box and Rockworld. Any suggestions as to the last word of the title, please feel free to comment below.

Even if I don’t know the full title of the map, there’s no mistaking the theme – the legend lists twenty music venues around the city and many Mancunian musicians can be seen wandering the streets. The monobrowed Gallagher brothers loom out of the lower left corner, a bequiffed Morrissey is to the right, and the sainted Anthony H. Wilson stands next to the old Granada Studios. Yes, I know that he and many of the people shown here are actually from Salford, but they’re on the other side of the river today.

Looking a bit closer, there are plenty more characters, though I don’t recognise them all. Perhaps some are just random bystanders – let me know if I’ve missed anyone.

Manchester Mondays

Doing some freaky dancing on the roof of GMEX is Bez from the Happy Mondays, while Shaun Ryder gets up to no good with some pigeons nearby. Ian Curtis stands on Deansgate, a very simian-looking Ian Brown is coming round the corner, and I think that’s John Robb outside the Hacienda.

Manchester BeeGees

Further south, the Bee Gees are dancing down Oxford Road, while the Cornerhouse is showing (what else?) 24 Hour Party People. I’m not sure about the guy on the corner – is he a lost raver? Answers on a postcard.

Manchester Smith Hucknall

Over near Canal Street (where Pride seems to be in full swing), Mark E. Smith is having a good shout at a taxi, and Mick Hucknall is standing in Piccadilly Gardens.

Manchester Small Evans

Waiting for a bus at the top of Deansgate is Heather Small, and that might be Chris Evans behind triangle, though it could be anyone to be honest.

Manchester Badly Drawn Hook

Lurking near Piccadilly Records is Badly Drawn Boy, and that must be Peter Hook outside the Dry Bar. It doesn’t look anything like him, but that’s his stance alright.

It’s hard to put a date on this map, but there a plenty of clues. The copyright notice on the right hand side names Creative Lynx, which ceased to exist in June 2012, GMEX was renamed in 2007, and the Hacienda was demolished in 2002. Granada Studios and the BBC only closed this year, as they moved to Media City, and lastly Tony Wilson became the late Tony Wilson in 2007.

I think the best guess is closer to 2002, when 24 Hour Party People was likely to be on in the cinema, though given how much popular culture Manchester has to celebrate, it’s probably on there all the time.

Linguistic Geographies

Just a quick post about something interesting I saw earlier today.

If you search Manuscripts Online for ‘map’, there are 1320 results to wade through, but the resources section also contains a link to the Gough Map – apparently one of the earliest maps to show Britain in a geographically-recognizable form. There is plenty of background reading about the origin and purpose of the map and also a section on the digitisation process (spoiler – they used ArcGIS).

The map itself is searchable by modern name, medieval name, or appearance, so here is an example shot of where I live. The place marker is on Skipton – symbolised with a largish castle and labelled skiptou(n) – the hamlet of Manchester (labelled manch..) is to the right, and Bradford – a single building marked bra[dford] – above. There isn’t much other detail in this area, but a number of rivers originate nearby, suggesting it is high ground. At the top left of the image is the vast metropolis of York (Eborienc), clearly one of the most important cities in the country at that time.

Gough Map

Gough Map © 2011 King’s College London

The birthplace of co-operation

Last week I took the kids to Touchstones museum in Rochdale, where amongst the exhibits on crossing the Pennines by foot/horse/canal/train/car, sending children to work in the mines, and famous Rochdalians (Gracie Fields, John Bright, err.. and some others), I saw these maps, taken from a Co-operative Wholesale Society booklet. Rochdale is, after all, the birthplace of the international Co-operative movement (although not according to some).

Apologies for picture quality, by the way. I was hoping I could buy these as postcards in the museum shop, but they weren’t there. Phonecam images will have to do.

Co-op Manchester

The first map shows Manchester, which, as we all know, is the centre of the universe, or it seems to be here at least. That great symbol of Mancunian stubbornness, the Manchester Ship Canal is shown, and I like how the label is written on the warehouses along the south bank of the canal, rather than trying to squeeze it onto the water. You can also see a steam train leaving the city, probably to symbolise the oldest passenger railway in the world.

I wasn’t sure whether the goods and services pictured around the edge of the map are particular to the towns they are connected to, or just a way to add a bit of interest to the design, but it turns out that Crumpsall is famous for its biscuits, people travel from miles around to see the famous Patricroft rope and twine, and Longsight appears to be the centre of CWS’s printing operation. I don’t think textiles and cotton weaving are restricted to Radcliffe though, they were prevalent throughout the whole area – Manchester wasn’t called Cottonopolis for nothing.

Co-op Liverpool

The next map shows the port of Liverpool and The Wirral, though the latter is notable only for a lighthouse and a tunnel leading to the big city (nowadays, it’s all golf courses and Premier League footballers). The sea has been painstakingly filled with a nice wave pattern – distinguishing it from the freshwater rivers and canals. There is not much else of interest shown here, apart from the Liver Building, some warehouses and goods, and the mouth of the ship canal. Perhaps, given the Co-op’s Lancastrian roots, and the long-running antipathy between Manchester and Liverpool, this area was deemed less important.

Co-op London

London: I remember when it was all fields around here. I couldn’t find a date on any of these pictures, but the cars in the Birkenhead tunnel look mid-20th century – late enough, certainly, for London to be more than a small cluster of buildings around St. Paul’s. Enfield, Lea Bridge, and Acton are marked as separate towns, though they are well within the Greater London conurbation nowadays. I consider everything within the M25 as “London” (though my parents, in Epsom, don’t get to vote for the mayor, so this isn’t strictly true), and these three places are all about half way out. Silvertown, a short distance down the Thames, is home to the Tate & Lyle sugar works, the City of London airport, and the Thames barrier. It is also well within the M25, so definitely counts.

Also shown are the CWS Reading print shop, boots from Bedford, chocolate from Luton, and non-Co-op-related tourist destinations Oxford (represented by Christ Church college, the Radcliffe Camera library, and A.N. Other dreaming spire), Windsor (whence came the less German-sounding name of our royal family) and the Chiltern Hills.

Co-op Newcastle

Finally, on to Newcastle, or, to be more precise, Pelaw, as most of the Co-op’s business seems to take place there. Also in the region: coal mining, North Shields fish market, cranemaking, and estates at Hetton & Holburn (not a vineyard as it looks like in the picture, but a farm estate). Local landmarks include the Tyne Bridge, and Hadrian’s Wall, which is shown passing through the city to its starting point at Wallsend.

I couldn’t tell how old these images were – they seem to belong in the heart of the industrial revolution, with all the steam trains, smoking chimneys, and warehouses, although the newfangled automobiles suggest they are more modern. Maybe they are supposed to be somewhat timeless, covering the entire history of an international organisation on the move.