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RENAISSANCE IS A WORD OFTEN USED to describe what's been happening in the Manchester area over recent years, and nowhere better exemplifies this trend than The Quays, the new name for Salford Quays and Trafford Wharf, formerly the Manchester Docks. In the mid-1960s the Docks were entering their eighth decade of operation, and few doubted the success would continue. Ten years later they had died a death. Giant container ships, shifting trade patterns and the rise of the motorway had rendered the Docks and Ship Canal almost obsolete. The question was what to do with a derelict area of wharfs, rusting railway tracks and empty basins? The answer? Turn it into an ultra-modern business, cultural and residential district. The plan sounded far- fetched at the time, but today the vision is turning into reality.

TRAFFORD WHARF AND SALFORD QUAYS are pictured as they looked at sunset on 30th of April 2000. Almost exactly three years later, as the sun is about to go down on 5th of May 2003, and things have changed a great deal. The Imperial War Museum North, still in the planning stage in 2000, has appeared in the lower picture between the office building Quay West, headquarters of Peel Holdings, and the Lowry footbridge. Across the water on the Salford side, the Lowry arts centre, whose outline was still visible in May 2000, has been obscured by the new apartment building Victoria Point and the Lowry Galleria.

EWM says: It's a shame that the distinctive outline of the Lowry arts centre has been hidden by neighbouring buildings.

Tech: Upper image 3-image panorama negative film Nikon F50; Lower image Nikon D100

THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM NORTH is a geometrically intriguing structure based on the concept of a globe shattered into three pieces by war. The shapes and shades of the exterior change depending on angle of view. Here we are looking from three viewoints in the car park, and in the lower right we looking up at onw of the museum signs. The building was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.

EWM says: Some have criticised the confusing layout, but as I see it that's part of the concept. My only criticism would be that it is not big enough.

Tech: Equipment Nikon D100

WE ARE STANDING ON THE 95 FOOT HIGH OBSERVATION PLATFORM at the top of the Air Shard at the Imperial War Museum North. We have a superb view over Salford Quays and the Salford-Manchester conurbation beyond. On the left is the Lowry arts centre, and directly in front of us, the Victoria Point apartment building. On the far right is Quay West, home of Peel Holdings, owners of the Ship Canal. On the lower right is the curved reflective surface of the roof of the museum. Moored near the bridge is the theatre ship 'Walk The Plank'.

EWM says: The view from here is marvellous, it's a pity we can't see in all directions! Click the larger picture to zoom in on the city centre!

Tech: Three image composite, equipment Nikon D100

LOOKING FROM TRAFFORD WHARF in front of the Imperial War Museum North, the Walk The Plank theatre ship is on the right, with the Lowry and neighbouring buildings across the water. This side is the Borough of Trafford, the other side is the City of Salford. The border runs along the middle of the canal in front of us.

EWM says: This is how things looked on 28th of July 2002 during the Commonwealth Games.

Tech: Two image composite, equipment Nikon Coolpix 990

STANDING ON TRAFFORD WHARF by the Imperial War Museum North,we see part of the Lowry on the left, Victoria Point in the centre and the Lowry footbridge on the right. The bridge can be raised to allow ships to pass underneath.

EWM says: I climbed through the railings, silhouetted on the right, to take this shot, being careful not to fall in!

Tech: Two image composite, equipment Nikon Coolpix 990

HMS BRONINGTON is a retired Royal Navy minesweeper, which occupied a mooring next to the as yet unbuilt Imperial War Museum. By the time the museum opened in 2002, HMS Bronington had vacated Salford Quays to move to a new home with the historic warships in Birkenhead, across the Mersey from Liverpool.

EWM says: HMS Bronington would have been the ideal complement to the War Museum, and might have added to its pulling power.

Tech: Three image composite, equipment Nikon Coolpix 990

THE LOWRY BRIDGE, Lowry arts centre, Victoria Point apartment building and the Lowry Plaza, are here seen from Trafford Wharf on 17th of May 2003.

EWM says: Victoria Point has a restrained contemporary design, quite different from the Lowry. The top floors have echoes of an airport control tower and a ship's bridge.

Tech: Nikon D100 digital SLR camera

STANDING ON TRAFFORD WHARF, looking north west along the waterfront towards the footbridge. On the left there is a public art work recreating the goods which were once loaded on and off the ships that once moored here. Made in 1996 it's called 'Silent Cargoes' and was developed by SITE New York .Objects represented include barrels, horseshoes, planks, oil drums, sacks and boxes.

EWM says: 'Silent Cargoes' is a tangible reminder of what Trafford Wharf was like up till not so long ago, has great educational potential.

Tech: Two image composite, Nikon Coolpix 990 camera.


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