BEST OF EWM 1996-2002 All photos © Aidan O'Rourke

THE URBIS CENTRE Manchester's Museum of the Modern City, seen at dusk on the 4th of July 2002, the week after its official opening. The wedge-shaped glass building with the sloping roof looks even better when lit up from inside at dusk. It's a drizzly midsummer night in Manchester and the lights are reflected in puddles on the recently-laid paving stones. To the left is the CIS building and to the right, the Printworks.

EWM says: The Urbis Centre is a fantastic addition to Manchester City Centre and has become one of the symbols of the city. Manchester City Council have shown great vision and determination in pushing ahead with this remarkable museum, in which I am represented: I contributed to the exhibit City Voices and am one of the people interviewed.

TOWN HALL MANCHESTER is seen here on a summers evening in 1999. The red post box emphasises the quintessential Britishness of the scene, with Manchester's most magnificent Victorian building looking much as it did when first opened in the 1870's.

EWM says: It's important to remember that Manchester Town Hall is the administrative centre of the City of Manchester, not the wider area we call Manchester. It's ironic that though the building faces west towards the River Irwell, its civic influence ends five minutes walk away at the City of Salford boundary, which runs along the Irwell.

TOWN HALL ALBERT SQUARE is seen in on a sunny day in 2000. The facade is partially hidden by the trees which have been planted on the pedestrianised area of the square. A taxi can just be seen parked on the rank at the left. The time is five past five.

EWM says: Manchester Town Hall is more magnificent than the legislative buildings of many countries. This town hall is the centre of local government for the 450,000 residents of the City of Manchester, around one sixth of the population of the Greater Manchester region.

ALL HALLOWS CHURCH EVERY STREET is a relic of the old Ancoats area, and is now used as by a timber merchant. This is the view in 1998: the gas processing tower behind it will have disappeared by 2001.

EWM says: This church has a remarkable silhouette which recalls Milan cathedral.

THE ROCHDALE CANAL runs parallel to Whitworth Street West and is captured here in black and white on a foggy morning in November 1996. The brick arches supporting the former Central Station, now GMEX, can be seen on the right. The curved piece of cast iron embedded in the stone serves to enable the lock gates to be pushed open and closed in icy weather. This scene, unchanged for over two centuries, is soon to become Deansgate Locks, a new development to be completed by 2000 with cafe bars built into the arches and boardwalks spanning the water.

EWM says: This is one of my first pictures in Eyewitness in Manchester to receive positive appraisal. This scene now looks very different indeed!

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