DANTZIC STREET, 7.10AM
I keep coming back to Dantzic Street. The bridges fascinate me, with the their dark, blue brick and tarnished tiles. I can find myself staring for quite some minutes at the silhouettes of people picked out by car headlights, as they pass under the rumbling ceilings which support the trains and trams.
Sometimes, in the damp aftermath of Manchester rain I want to touch the walls, as if I’m earthing myself to the old city, and imagine that dust from another century will somehow have endured. Shadows constantly flick at the edge of my vision, and sometimes it seems that I hear footsteps far in abundance of the number of people that now pass along on their way to the rekindled city beaming at the top of a short incline.
Because of the bridges the streetlamps stay on longer here. One particular light at the bottom of Aspin Lane, resolutely retains its orange glow long after the rest of area has given itself over to the new day. I have to guard myself from romanticism as I photograph here. Life in this working community was bitterly tough, and much of the architecture is now frayed beyond repair. Change, like death, is inevitable and sometimes welcome.
Progress, however, is not inevitable. And I suspect that my sentimental view of Irk Town is set by what it is being replaced with. I’ve said before that heritage is a state of mind, not just bricks and mortar. If we are to demolish our past, surely we owe it to our ancestors, who made Manchester great, to build a future that our children can be proud of?
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