Saturday, 19 February 2011

A shopping centre and a postbox.

Arndale 1985
The Arndale Centre, October 1985 (I think). 

Before the Arndale centre opened, the regional TV news show Granada Reports (or was it Look North West on the BBC?) ran an April fool, doing a vox-pop outside when it was under construction and the pale yellow tiling was in place on the tower, asking people what they thought of the opening of  "world's biggest public toilet". 

It opened in 1976, when large indoor shopping centres were a novelty. It suffered from a few problems. The underground bus station was good only for those who liked an excess of exhaust fumes, the lighting and walls were dull, and the layout confusing. Reports of gangs of youths terrorising pensioners were mentioned in the newspapers, although the terrorising seemed mostly to be limited to taking up all the seating on a rainy day. A few years later, they let the natural light in through the roof, and made the place a bit more cheerful. 

It's been through a number of  redevelopments and refurbishments, and in June 1996, an IRA bomb exploded on corporation street, destroying part of the building, and causing significant damage to many buildings nearby. 

Famous postbox
One of the few things left intact and standing was a pillar box, near to the passenger bridge between the Arndale and M&S. A plaque commemorates this, stating "This postbox remained standing almost undamaged on June 15 1996 when this area was devastated by a bomb. The box was removed during the rebuilding of the city centre and was returned to its original site on November 22 1999"

Arndale 2011
The Arndale Centre February 2011. All shiny and packed full of shoppers The people of Manchester do love to shop.

The postbox is worthy including on Manculiar, but the Arndale probably doesn't belong. It's hard to miss if you are in the area, and it's not the most photogenic or interesting of subjects. However, as I had 2 photos of the same location 25 years apart, I decided to include it.

Location: Corporation Street, M4 3AQ.

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