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IT'S A RAINY NIGHT IN 1987 and we are crossing Trafford Road Bridge, looking towards Salford. Two silhouetted figures are walking ahead of us, and a car is approaching us on its way to Old Trafford - watch out for the splash!

This scene later changed when a fixed bridge was built next to Trafford Swing Bridge, allowing multi-lane traffic in both directions, but preventing the old bridge from swinging ever again!

EWM says: This image for me captures the feel of a cold, drizzly night in Manchester and Salford! Makes you want to get on the first plane back from the Bahamas!

Tech: Fujica STX 1 with Ilford HP5 black and white film

WE ARE LOOKING FROM TRAFFORD ROAD BRIDGE down the Manchester Ship Canal, with Trafford Wharf on the left and Salford Quays on the right. The year is 1987. The disused Detroit rail bridge bridge is still in its original location and in the open position. The bridge was built in 1924 to allow trains to cross between Trafford Park and the main part of the Docks on the Salford side.

EWM says: I wish I could go back and photograph the former Docks as they were before redevelopment.

Tech: Fujica STX 1 with Ilford HP5 black and white film

LOOKING FROM TRAFFORD ROAD BRIDGE down the Manchester Ship Canal in 1999, many changes are visible from the 1987 view. The Detroit swing bridge was floated round to a new location in the former Dock number 9. Buildings have appeared along Trafford Wharf to the left and on the Salford side to the right, including The Old Pumphouse pub. The Lowry is under construction straight ahead.

EWM says: I wonder if the view will have changed radically in another 12 years. I don't think so.

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE RED AND WHITE PAINTED METAL STRUCTURE OF Trafford Road Bridge acts as a gateway into the City of Salford for traffic coming from Old Trafford. Visible about a mile away are the Salford City Council blocks of flats in Pendleton, built during the 1960's.

EWM says: I lived in Thorn Court - the red brick block on the right - from October 1985 to December 1986. I crossed Trafford Road Bridge countless times in my VW Beetle or on my bike on my way to and from work in Chorlton.

Tech: Nikon F50 film camera with negative film

ONE OF THE TWO SKYHOOK SCULPTURES, designed by Brian Fell, which mark the entrance to Trafford Park. This giant size representation of a chain and hook recalls the former Docks and the industrial heritage of Trafford Park, the first industrial estate in the world.

Visible behind on the left is Trafford Road Bridge, and on the right, Exchange Quay.

EWM says: The gravity-defying chain extending up into the sky has great visual impact at first, but the effect wears off when you see it over and over again!

Tech: Nikon F50 film camera with negative film

THE MANCHESTER FUELS TERMINAL is a major distribution point for petrol and other products. Here were looking from the Eccles side of the canal at the giant cylindrical fuel containers just below Mode Wheel Locks.

EWM says: I often find industrial structures just as visually fascinating as architecture. With the forms and techniques of some of the more innovative modern architects, the dividing line between the two is blurred.

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE LOWRY arts centre was opened on the 28th of April 1999. Here we are looking down from the new multi-storey car park, which provides a great view over the new building and the Ship Canal and Trafford Park beyond. There is a dull blue cloudy sky and the scene looks spectacular with the floodlighting and twinkling street lights all around.

EWM says: With its shiny aluminium exterior and cylindrical latticework tower, The Lowry looks like some alien space ship which has just landed in the former docks.

Tech: Ricoh digital camera

THE LOWRY interior colour scheme with its shades of grey, blue, purple and orange, attracted some criticism. Here we are looking down from the gallery area towards the main entrance lobby, with the escalators in the bottom part of the picture.

EWM says: I love the eye-popping colour scheme and geometric eccentricity of the Lowry. Well done Michael Wilford and colleagues!

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE LOWRY FOOTBRIDGE AND THE LOWRY arts centre are silhouetted against an orange dusk sky on the 2nd of May 2000. We are looking from the end of Clippers Quay, near South Bay. The distinctive outline of the Lowry makes interesting shape on the skyline.

EWM says: I knew this scene wasn't going to stay like this. That's why I photographed it. Soon the view would change dramatically, and not necessarily for the better.

Tech: Ricoh digital camera

LOOKING ACROSS THE WATER AT THE SETTING SUN from near Clippers Quay, the chain railings and tree branches are silhouetted against the pink sky and water. Some original dockside features have been left, including the cleat on the lower right, once used to moor ocean-going ships weighing thousands of tons. In the distance, the Lowry stands well clear of the multi-storey car park, currently under construction.

EWM says: The Quays look a bit like Dubai, but what's lacking is the buzzing activity of people and boats. Often when I visit, whether by day or by night, I find the place eerily deserted. Also, the vacant buildings along Clippers Quay urgently need to be redeveloped.

Tech: Nikon F50 film camera and negative film

All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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