Look­ing back at way


THEY’RE the Google Street View im­ages of their time.

Men, women, smil­ing chil­dren and lo­cal land­marks cap­tured on cam­era by Ord­nance Sur­vey teams work­ing to map out post-war Mid­dle­ton.

The im­ages of­fer a glimpse into the bor­ough’s com­mu­ni­ties in the mid 1940s to late 1950s and here are just a few.

Many of the streets, homes and views shown have long since gone, vic­tims of so­cial changes and ur­ban­i­sa­tion.

Chil­dren pic­tured in some of the many im­ages are now likely to be aged in their six­ties or seven­ties. But the sights of yes­ter­year have been pre­served in a new on­line ar­chive, with just shy of 50,000 im­ages avail­able from Greater Manch­ester alone.

New his­tor­i­cal photo map­ping app Timepix. uk has been launched in Manch­ester.

It in­cludes im­ages of tem­po­rary post WW2 homes in Mid­dle­ton which were known as pre­fabs, all now long gone.

A de­tailed land and street sur­vey of the area started in the early 1940s, but took off af­ter the war.

Sur­vey­ors would cap­ture mea­sure­ments and take the pho­tos, with field labour­ers hold­ing white ar­rows and in­for­ma­tion boards to dis­play rel­e­vant de­tail.

Street cor­ners were pre­ferred lo­ca­tions as they gave a line of sight in more than one di­rec­tion, hence the high num­ber of cor­ner shops in the col­lec­tion.

In­ad­ver­tently, how­ever, faces, fash­ions and en­vi­ron­ments were cap­tured.

The project’s founder, Elaine Owen, said: “We have a trea­sure-trove of im­ages which il­lus­trate ev­ery­day Mid­dle­ton life. There is such a rich her­itage cap­tured in the col­lec­tion.”

Elaine said hun­dreds of thou­sands of his­toric pho­tos are still tucked away in vaults or in li­brary files. The project aims to re­veal as many as pos­si­ble. The first phase of 21,000 im­ages of sites across Greater Manch­ester is avail­able, with 26,000 more to fol­low.

The project is part funded by Geo­va­tion, OS and HM Land Registry’s in­no­va­tion hub. Visit www.timepix.uk. all

‘We have a trea­suretrove of im­ages which il­lus­trate ev­ery­day Mid­dle­ton life’

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