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LIVESEY STREET, 7.28AM

Back towards Manchester City Centre

Livesey Street, 7.28AM

The previous day marked 12 months since my first post on Not Quite Light. In that time I’ve become very familiar with the area stretching from Old Mill Street in New Islington to Empire Street in Cheetham Hill. And, like a parent noticing the subtle changes in their child’s development, I’ve seen a steady revision of the streets and wasteland that form the area in which I’ve photographed. There are few roads and alleyways that I haven’t visited in my pursuit to record the transition of this part of Manchester. It’s not always beautiful, but the more time I’ve spent under stygian skies or the heartening glow of a fine dawn, the more I’ve loved my city.

This particular morning there was a constant spattering of rain blowing into the lens. I made my way firstly to Livesey Street, which I’ve set as one of the perimeters, and then to Rochdale Road. Very quickly, the current ambitions of the city centre fall away, and to the residents of Ancoats and Collyhurst, as they pull back their curtains each morning, the only clue as to the existence of this new Manchester is the high lights of the Co-op building and other fledgling skyscrapers.

rochdale road at dawn

I’m nearly at the end of this set of pictures. I have to guard against familiarity tainting my view of the evolution before me. I’ve noticed in recent weeks my heart hardening towards the new Manchester, and nostalgia has entered my veins, meaning I could become guilty of proclaiming a lost Golden Age, when in fact the past contained deep poverty and terrible living conditions. However, that doesn’t mean that what has been taken away has been replaced with something better. As I’ve said before, change is inevitable but progress isn’t.

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