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Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and Leisure sites in Peter Street

Ma Visual Culture Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Arts and Design August 2013

Following the absence track in Manchester Traces and Leisure sites in Peter Street

GonzĂĄlez MĂ­guez, Carlota

MA Visual Culture Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Arts and Design August 2013

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street


This study is an initial attempt to investigate the idea of absence in the context of the city of Manchester, following the traces left by the buildings that do not exist anymore or have a different function. A group of six buildings, consisting in theatres that were in Peter street have been selected to represent this idea. Observation, archive consultation and photography, shape the methodology used to study and follow the absence tracks, giving an outlook of how absence can be represented. It was concluded that although archives can provide a big amount of information about the past life of the buildings, their structures and architecture traces that are in the current city, are the ones that make the absence weaker, giving visibility to what have already gone, contrast that can be perceived through past and present photographs, in this case, of the theatres chosen. This approach hopes to offer and idea for further investigation in the absence topic, and the visibility and invisibility terms in urban contexts.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

List of contents



List of Illustrations




Chapter I: State of the Art


Chapter II: Reaching the absence.


Absence through the archives traces


Absence through structures traces








Diagram 1: Classification categories


Diagram 2: Buildings that have gone for ever. Categories and past/present


Plans 1: First approach and selection


Plans 2: Google maps and Digimap representation


Plans 3: University of Manchester collection


Chronological Line



Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street


This dissertation would not have been possible without the guidance and the help of several individuals who in one way or another contributed and extended their valuable assistance in the preparation and completion of this work. First, thank my tutor Steven Gartside who help me to go ahead with the topic of this work, in spite of its difficulty, and giving new and interesting ideas to approach it. Also, thank Michael Howard, my master’s teacher, to support me with the first ideas of the dissertation, helping me with their developed, and the possible language issues. The staff of the City Library in Manchester, for helping me with the research of maps and plans of the city of Manchester. Stella Halkyard, responsible of University of Manchester Library Special Collections, for letting me access to their collections and explain everything about them. John Hodgson and Ourania Karapasia, from John Rylands, to help me with the consult of special collections and archives. Thank all the members related to the buildings selected for this study, like Barbara Frost and George Topouzoglou, for letting me access to their facilities. Geoff Senior, collections assistant of North West Film Archive, for helping me with the connection between the objects of study and the film background. Also, the Manchester Modernist society, for devoting part of their time to answer an enquiry. Last but not the least, I would like to give a big thank to my family and friends, that boosted me morally and supported me all the time.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

List of Illustrations Archive Illustrations Group 1. Prince’s Theatre ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Prince’s Theatre exterior Creator: Fischer, W. H. Date: 1866 -Prince's Theatre Glass Negative Date: 1932 -Prince's Theatre, Exterior Date: 1936 -Prince's Theatre, Prior to demolition Creator: City Engineers Department Date 05/08/1940 -Oxford Street, Bomb damage to Prince's Theatre Creator: R.Lumby Date: 1941 -Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Prince’s Theatre Re-opening– 1869 Box 1–p.9 -Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Prince’s Theatre–Antony Cleopatra Box 1–p.11 -Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Prince’s Theatre-Theatre Royal. Pantomimes Box 1– p.28


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Group 2. Midland Hotel Theatre ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Mosley St/Peter St Gentleman's Concert Hall Creator: Coulthurst, S.L. Date: 1900 -A Postcard depicting the Foyer of the Midland Hotel Theatre. Courtesy: Maurice Friedman, British Music Hall Society. -Hotel, Midland Hotel, -Manchester Date: 1910 -Midland Hotel, Manchester, from Central Station Date: 1903


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Group 3. Gaiety Theatre –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Wade, J. W. Date: 1890 -Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 1944 -Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 10/08/1959 -Peter Street, Gaiety Cinema Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 1959 -Gaiety Theatre, Start of demolition. Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 26/09/1959 Reference Number(s): GB 133 GB 133 AEH Held at: The University of Manchester, The John Rylands University Library. Dates of Creation: 1890s-1980s Physical Description: 4 subgroups. Name of Creator: Horniman, Annie Elizabeth Fredericka, 1860-1937 Language of Material: English Location: John Rylands Library, Deansgate. 1. Cuttings Book (18 Apr 1908-8 Feb 1909) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/2. P.22 2. Cuttings Book (9 Jan 1917-30 Nov 1919) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/16. P.108 3.Cuttings Book (2 Dec 1919-30 Apr 1929) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/17. P.49 4.Cuttings Book (2 Dec 1919-30 Apr 1929) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/17. P.98


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Group 4. Theatre Royal ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Theatre Royal, Entrance into the theatre, Peter Street, Manchester Creator: Fischer, W. H. Date: 1866 -Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester Date:1890 -Theatre Royal, 3rd building, Peter Street Manchester Date: 1900 -Theatre Royal, Peter Street, City bingo and social club Date: /06/1973 -Theatre Royal, Peter Street Date: 1987 -Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Theatre Royal Programme–1898 -Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Theatre Royal show–1821

Group 5. Free Trade Hall ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Public Halls, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester Date: 1920 -Public Halls, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester Creator: Baddeley, T. Date: 05/04/1946 -Peter Street, Free Trade Hall Date: 1956


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Group 6. Tivoli Theatre –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


-Folly Theatre, Exterior Creator: Coulthurst, S. L. Date: 1890

Structures and indoor traces Group 7. Prince’s Theatre ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Group 8. Midland Hotel Theatre ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Group 9. Gaiety Theatre –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Group 10. Theatre Royal –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Group 11. Free Trade Hall ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––


Group 12. Tivoli Theatre –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––



Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street


from Old French absence (14c.), from Latin absentia, noun of state from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse ‘be away from, be absent,’ from ab- ‘away’+ esse ‘to be’. 1


Online Etymology Dictionary 9

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

1.Introduction The fascinating presence of absences whose traces were everywhere (De Certeau)

Not a long time ago, I started to be interest in what has gone, disappeared and is part of the past; the absent. Cities, as guardian spaces of the history and time, are a great and useful example of this. The absence of presence is not only reflected by what is no longer, but also through what is present, where are preserved aspects or traces of what once was. There are not only signs on the building structures, but also in the memories that people have about these places and spaces, that often lead to the preservation of small material fragments from the past. Observe this kind of aspects in the cities, require from us to become a poet of the city, avoiding pass through the streets as quickly as possible, traverse them with the nostalgia in favour of lost places, remembering and reinterpreting their meaning and function.

It is impossible to re-live the past at second-hand and is not easy to get closer to the past or the absent, but it is very different to have lived through or to have perceived something, and then after a time, to be only able to feel or know ‘that’ something through the tools that facilitate this approach. Each individual has their own experiences and memories, and these can never be experienced or counted in the same way that the person who has lived them personally. I have always thought that there are three things that grasp you to the past (set it in place, understand it), help you to live the present and to continue towards the future. One of them is ‘the social’, family, friends, contact with one’s surroundings; another is the time, the feeling of progress, the happening of events, and another one is the space, places, placed feeling, located. Therefore, and despite the space is the last aspect in this list, is one of the central themes of this dissertation. All are interconnected, and something really important for the development of this topic is that the three are able to evoke belonging and, at the same time, nostalgia and absence. This work tries to approach this vision of the unknown, the things that no longer exist, or that don’t perform the same function, being these changes, events that we have not been aware of,


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

because we haven’t paid attention to them, we haven’t been in their spaces before, or maybe, how it is in this case, those events belong to a past time that we didn’t live. The curiosity about these aspects, brought me to want to know about what doesn’t have a place as it used to in the past, and find a method to research this. Due to this interest in what is gone and what is left behind, I decided to apply it to a city, specifically Manchester, and follow the traces of past buildings that are in the ones that exist in the present, as a way to show how absence is represented is a specific site of a city (Manchester) through elements (buildings) from a particular category that, in the past, occupied a place and performed a specific function. Concepts such as absence, presence, traces, architecture, history and memory will be points to deal with along the dissertation, apart from building an idea and a visual outlook of the site, object of study, in a city that is ‘new’ for me.

For this, this dissertation present the follow structure: a first chapter will focus on the literature of some authors and their thoughts and understanding about the absence topic, trying to show an outlook of the theme situation from different perspectives. These different views will link with an explanation of which is going to be the methodological process to reach and show the absence in the city context, keeping in mind a main question, an hypothesis and a series of objectives. Chapter two, will centres on the work done with the methodology applied, explaining which was all the absence approach process, as well as the problems and difficulties with the object of study. Also in this chapter there will be explained the results obtained from the study and the practice done, keeping in mind the theoretical support mentioned in the first chapter. A conclusion will shown which are the final thoughts reached with the work, related with the hypothesis set at the beginning.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

2.Chapter I: State of the Art The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its spaces and the events of its past (...) The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lives of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banister of the steps (...) (Calvino, 2002:9)

This chapter focuses on the literature written about the absence theme; even though this is the central subject of this dissertation, this issue is related to others such as space, architecture and traces. Therefore, this chapter will discuss the situation and the study given to the absence concept, then relating it to the type of methodology through which is going to be developed and explored the absence in the city. It is relevant to note that this is a complex and abstract topic, and has taken some importance since the events or disasters, such as the attack in America the 11th September, 2001. Such events have led the concept of absence to become a common theme in society and the ways of thinking.

Absence or what is absent has gained some importance in not only a type of discourse, but in different perspectives. At the time of approaching this in a literary way, it will be presented various viewpoints that have addressed it, as well as the treatment that it has in relation to space, architecture and the traces in/of this last one. Firstly, starting with an approach to the absence from a philosophical perspective, it is useful highlight the work of Robert Sokolowski, an american philosophy teacher, and his book ‘Introduction to Phenomenology’ (Sokolowski, 2000). The author explains that classical philosophers have not focused on the distinction between the absent and the present, and their explanation of the absence or what is absent is in relation with the so-called empty and filled


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

intentions 2. The first chase something that is not there, something missing, something not present to the one who seeks; on the other hand, the filled intentions are the opposite. The empty intentions become filled intentions when that, which is still absent for us and that we pursue, becomes present and we are witnesses of it. The same thing is at one time absent and present in another, having identity behind and in the presence and absence.

Sokolowski emphasises that presence is a topic more treated in philosophy, however, the absence or what is absent is not addressed too much. Perhaps, the author thinks, there is a tendency to think that all the things that we do not realise of, must be present even to us. 'It is something we feel every day in the course of our daily lives: We shy away from absence even though it is all around us and preoccupies us all the time' (Sokolowski, 2000:36). We can talk about what is not present, we tend to say that we deal with an image or concept of that thing that is present, and through which we approach the absent. However, this is not entirely correct, the author adds, because how we know that the or our representation is equivalent to that thing that is absent.

It is necessary to have the support of words and mental images to think about the absent. The author says that there are different types of absence around the individual: what is absent because it is part of the future; what is contemporary but it is far from us; what is forgotten and therefore absent; other absences are secret, and finally, others are beyond our comprehension, so they are absent for us. Therefore, what is present is seen as more familiar, closer and easier to think. The author relates

The perception of any object in space, such as a building, is always partial, incomplete (we cannot see the whole building, just some parts of it). Leaving out of view some of the sides of it, and although they are not present, there is the awareness that they could be seen if we could turn the building or enter inside. The building as a whole has full and empty intentions. Those experiences that connect us with something are intuitions. Intuition is the act that has an object, and therefore, is characterized by its fullness. Intuitions are perception, empathy... It is the contrary to the empty intention; we are aware of something, but we go to an object that is not there, it's there in the past, occupying a place in time. An example of an empty intention would be a word, when we do not pronounce it in front of the object to which it refers. Say 'chair' looking where there are no chairs, is an empty expression that is orientated to a full one, which will occurs with the perception of the chair, but in the absence of perception is an empty intention. Intuition brings us into contact with objects, and the perception is that intuition that reaches the object in person. 2


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

the absent like living the situation with a lost object, the object present is what we have been looking for and that we have found. As Sokolowski states that there are different types of absence, the philosopher E. Husserl as well, getting closer to the reflections of the first one. The absence of that side that we do not 'see' of the things we perceive; the absence of what is expressed through the words; the absence of those who are far away; the absence of which is remembered; the absence of what is only represented, and the absence of the past and the future.

Another philosopher that addresses the issue of the absent and present is Jacques Derrida 3, but from a different vision, the language perspective. For Derrida language should be conceived as a structure of signs where each sign is both presence and absence, the trace of other signs. The concepts do not have a single order nor univocal meaning, they only born from chains of meanings; from traces that historically have become invisible or hidden. This conception implies a new view of the reading and writing that does not expect to find the universal or unique meanings, but a deconstructive strategy to make visible the traces and the chains of meanings4 . Derrida, the same as he pays a great attention to language, he also does it to the space and architecture. Sokolowski introduces the derridian conception in contrast with M. Heidegger visions. The architecture to be has to be absent; for Heidegger the process of construction and inhabiting a place, builds a place charging it with sense and meaning, nevertheless, for Derrida is not like this.

The architecture shows always the other, and shows in each time her trace, the trail of what is barely intuited and that vanishes. Sokolowski speaks about the trace, as that which moves the


Derrida, J. (1998) Of Grammatology, JHU Press.

A word spoken verbally, to be meaningful and identifiable, depends on the rest of sounds. These other sounds are present in a certain way, not being so. The word carries them as a trace. Each of the language elements have identity by their difference with others. Each is marked by the other elements that are not him. This mark is the trace. Each element is formed on the trace base that is on it of the other elements of the system. The trace notes the 'presence' (absent) of the other. 4


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

space of what is or was in the past, becoming in the abstract that is architecture, an infinite chain of strokes and traces. Something that lives without being present. The author retakes his reflection with Derrida's vision, adding that the trace is not a presence, but a simulacrum of a moving and repeated presence. They do not have a proper place, and be deleted is part of their structure. Thus, favouring the presence over the absence is not other thing than an attempt to think the trace: ‘Trace, that which does not let itself be summed up in the simplicity of a present' (Derrida, 1998: 66)

Besides the theme of absence can be treated from this philosophical perspective, it is also explained in relation to memory, history and space. The passage of time sets its rules and among them we can find that everything that happen in time will pass through different periods of time: the past, present and future. There are various authors addressing the absence in relation to history and memory; what is absent, what is and not at the same time, as a vague memory. Hornstein and Jacobowitz, in their book about the representation of memories or past events, like the Holocaust ('Image and Remembrance: Representation and the Holocaust'), they express the absence that evoke all Jewish lives during and after the Nazi Holocaust and their trace left in space: 'Jewish maps (...) it is a map of the absence of the lost object of Jewish life, a map of places that are no longer there but at the same time are "there" as they are marked by the absence. (Hornstein, Jacobowitz, 2003:288.) These authors have not been the only ones of thinking and writing about the absence in relation with history; the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud in ‘Civilization and its discontents' (Freud, S. 2004) uses the city of Rome to exemplify this, the presence of traces of past presences: ‘Now let us make the fantastic supposition that Rome were not a human dwelling-place, but a mental entity with just as long and varied a past history: that is, in which nothing once constructed had perished, and all the earlier stages of development had survived alongside the latest’ (Hendrix, 2006:6). What Freud expresses is seeing a space that once is built is forgotten, seeing the space not as something physical but mental, where what survives or it is 15

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

remembered, is thanks to a connection of the present with past events, as a game between the memory and what is remembered.

In the manner of some authors have established a relation between the absent and history5 , as something part of the past and that has been left behind, it is possible to establish a connection with the structure and functionality that the space has. The cemeteries reflect, for example, the ‘total’ absence, that which no longer exists, however, they are loaded with traces of history that give temporality to space. Eleni Bastea in a chapter of her book 'Memory and Architecture', focus her attention on Tel Avi's cementeries, seeing these spaces as centres of memory and to build environments. ‘We might say that the Old Cemetery thus functions as a site of memory only in potentia, as a kind of structuring absence, whose boundaries may define and enclose an important part of Israeli history, but whose actual presence and significance have yet to be addressed’ (Basteá, 2004:148).

With these places and what we feel when we visit them, I think it is interesting what Timothy Walsh explains in his study 'An aesthetics of absence'. From an artistic vision, the author addresses the issue of the absence, illustrating it with photographs and sculptures that suggest a certain mutilation or are not complete. He takes examples from sculpture and music, and especially focuses on the latter, to highlight the role that the absence and silence play in the textual and musical expression of oneself. ‘Silence is experienced as an absence, but since silence itself is something perceived, this absence also becomes palpably present to our consciousness (...) we register absence as a felt quality that engages a definitive response.' (Walsh,1998:6) Therefore, what we experience and feel in these places, come to us as absence: 'The perception of any undefined or hidden presence can strike us as an absence' (Walsh, 1998:9). Apart from what we perceive or feel in these spaces, these sensations are influenced by the structure or 5Memory

is life. It is in permanent evolution, with the changes produced by the dialectic of memories and amnesia, establishing a link with the present. History is an incomplete reconstruction of what is not anymore; a representation of the past. 16

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

architecture of the space, something essential for memory and history. 'If it is accepted in contemporary life the ‘materiality of the trace’ has become crucial to history and memory, this may, in part, go towards explaining why the targeting of architecture (a material reminder sine qua non) has become an ever more prevalent phenomenon.' (Bevan, 2007: 16).

As it was stated at the beginning, the architecture plays an important role in the study of absence. John Hendrix explains that if you want to see an architectural element as something more than a mere structure, it is necessary to reduce the usual features that define it, and see beyond what is present, being able to see the development of the structure, what has been its evolution, what is in the past and that has left behind: ‘If we want to make a wall more of a sign– that is more rhetorical–we have to reduce its traditional opacity, that is, its traditional element, structural and aesthetic content. This requires the introduction of an absence in the is of architecture, and absence in its presence.' (Hendrix, 2006:54).

The structures that make up the buildings are full of meaning and history, not only concerning their current and past situation, also the one that has been left behind. ‘Buildings gather meaning to them by their everyday function, by their presence in the townscape and by their form. They can have meaning attached to them as structures or, sometimes, simply act as containers of meaning and history’ (Bevan, 2007:21). It is what is called genius loci, the history behind the buildings and their materiality architecture: ‘There is somehow an ahistorical genius loci attached to sites. A city’s own memory of its historical development embodied in its material’ (Bevan, 2007:23). It is through the architecture, its location in space, its development, retention and disappearance over time, and the traces that the material leave behind, that allow to establish a bridge between past and present. Because, which possible material expression has the absence, to which we can access in the present, when it is exactly defined as what is not present? In the material reality of urban space, the absence appears as traces that correspond to a previous state of the city, but for now they are not enrolled in her current dynamics. They are spaces, 17

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

places and objects, although they have a concrete physical presence, at the same time they refer us to another time, like the outdated image of something that has ceased to be, remaining today in a state of neglect. It is this condition which distinguishes them from other places, spaces or objects that, being able to correspond in origin to a past time, are integrated into the present domain of the city, in the material construction of her history. These traces in the space allow to bring to the present something that is in the past, they facilitate the act of anamnesis. The anamnesis suggests a recovery through a representation or bringing to the memory something from the past (like a reminiscence). ‘It is this tenuous fissure between past and present that constitutes memory, making it powerfully alive and distinct from the archive or any other mere system of storage and retrieval’ (Huyssen, 2012:3) The act of remembrance in the present can bring what is in the past, being the traces an element that allows to establish a link or connection between past-present. ‘Memory of the past is caused by present remembering which relies upon the motion that traces guarantee a bond between past and present’ (Trigg, 2006:59)

The philosopher and anthropologist Paul Ricoeur is well-known because of his reflections about memory and the act of remembrance. Talking about the absence traces, the author establishes a classification. They are responsible for keeping stories, and Ricoeur explains that traces can be written (documentary trace in a historiographical level), physical (which it might be recorded or be marked in our minds due to a certain event, causing some influence or impact), and there are also cerebral traces, related to the neuroscience subject. What is absent is everywhere, distributed through various materialities in the space, and it is needed to introduce it and proliferate the different ways in which the city can be narrated, because behind every absence there is a story. The buildings are like open books, if we stop to read them we can know what they keep behind their covers.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Walter Benjamin and Asja Lacis speak about buildings as they were animated theatres, which is an interesting relation (because, as it will be explained later, the object of study of this dissertation are the theatres in Manchester): ‘Buildings are used as a popular stage. They are all divide into innumerable, simultaneously animated theatres. Balcony, courtyard, window, gateway, staircase, roof are at the same time stage and boxes’(Burgin, 1996:140)

The study of the absence in the city, involve going through various stages of the transformation or metamorphosis of places6 , (the) before and (the) after, past and present. It is necessary perceiving the material presence of the place; built and storage, in an intangible way, its memory, after it has been physically erased; and finally, represent the essence of the place, once the object (buildings) has been moved to absence, by rebuilding its atmosphere. Moreover, the absence will become more violent in these eroded or erased places, when instead of collecting or treating this absence, there are new interventions in the construction, which often deny or conceal the actual meaning or significance of the place, limiting its development and importance.

When we think about absence, we realised that is something we can think about, but can never see or fully posses. This project will attempt to reach what lies behind what can be and not be seen, that allows imagining, representing, and interpreting. Conceiving what is not there or here. An approach, a representation of absence, because what has been lost or is absent, matters. This project will be based on the hypothesis that places are remembered by reactivating a certain element or embodiment that once took place or took up a space, proving the existence of absence and presence in certain spaces, like the buildings of a city, and social tools, like

All the buildings that form a city and that were there in the past, but that we can’t see them anymore, constitute the memory of this cities. For example the BBC building that once occupy the Oxford Road in Manchester, or one cinema in my city, that I used to go in my childhood, now is a court. However, all of us that we used to go there, we will remember it along our lives. 6


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

memories. This remembrance can come directly to the person or also through the memories that connect people (collective memory 7).

Being this dissertation an approach to the absence of presence in the city of Manchester, it has been chosen that the buildings that make it, are a good choice of approach to this idea. We understand the buildings through the architecture 8 that define them; it records a place allowing it to be remembered, and the most important, can exist or be found beyond the physical place itself, as in our memory of it. To deal with this topic, I have chosen to study the city of Manchester and its composite elements, such as buildings, to try to understand and reflect on the concept of absence in the city. The past is remembered in different ways and despite the physical non-presence of what has ceased to occupy a physical space in the present, they still have a place in our own memory and in other people’s memories. The same occurs with the buildings that made or formed the structure and the urban routes of the city. Why we don’t look back, and see what the city is hiding? Observe if what is occupying that space, is still retaining an absence that belongs to the past.

Wondering if the demolition of a building finishes with the memory and if its conservation preserves it, one could say that the buildings are always present, but at the same time lost, recovered in the minds and on the trail or traces of what is preserved in the material that occupies the space in the present. From this, one might say that the general point of this dissertation is to find, through traces, the emotional memory of a place, in this case the city and its buildings, after their absence. Once a building is finished being built, his life begins, and like all There is not only an individual memory, but also a group memory that is outside and beyond the individual. This memory depends on the framework within which a group is situated in a society. The understanding of the past by the individual is linked to this group consciousness. 7

In deconstructivist philosophy, the architectural theory proceeds through the influence of J. Derrida on Peter Eisenman. Both Derrida and Eisenman were concerned about the metaphysic of the presence. The assumption made is that architecture is a language capable of communicating the sense and be treated by the methods of the philosophy of language. The dialectic of presence and absence, appears in many Eisenman’s projects. Him and Derrida believed that the place of presence is the architecture. The material and immaterial traces show an index of presence that refers to a previous whole that doesn’t exist anymore. Like an incision or inscription, traces are also absent; evidences that are part of the game between the visible and the invisible. 8


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

lives, the end process begins as well. Buildings have lives and any sense of permanence is illusory, because buildings are not forever. So, what happens with them after their disappearance? Therefore, besides being the study of the absence in the city one of the major aspects of this project, the traces of what have been left behind, are one of the main elements in connection with the absence, by enabling us to establish a connection with what existed in the past. It could be said that these traces allow us to develop a symbolic construction of our idea or image of a place, with its physicality. After this reflection, it can be introduce the following question: How the absence is represented in the city and which are its different forms of ‘appearance’ in the structures and elements that make up the city? From this main question, it have been set a series of objectives that cover the different ‘elements’ tackled along the absence topic: an approximation and representation of the absence through the presence in the city of existing buildings and the past traces, studying present places that encapsulate a strong quality of presence and ‘absence’, and see how absence is shown. Relate this absence with the ideas of memory, the places that have now slipped into the past, and the histories and structures that once occupied that space have gone or have changed over the years. Wanting to see how the past and present overlap, and the link between present and past through a specific building category. This will allow us bringing to the present the absence that certain buildings and sites represented once they have disappeared/or are out of the place they used to occupy. This approaching to the absence is a way of being more sensitive with the city. The use of photography as a powerful resource, will help us to show how buildings change through time and bring to the present those that are part of the absence.

Given these objectives and the main question of this project, it's time to make way for the explanation of what kind of methodology is going to be employed in the process of achieving these objectives, and the study of the central theme of this dissertation. Despite having carried out various techniques, all encompassed within qualitative methodology.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

The qualitative methodology is ideographic, focuses on textual detailed and descriptive data. It finds and shares ideas that give meaning to social behaviour, or certain situations of the elements that make up the social. It works with the word, arguments, assumptions, visual images, representations, traces of material culture and presents its compressions in written texts, visual or audiovisual. These methods, as well as they are responsible for establishing a connection between the data and what people actually say, they allow extracting interpretations of the relationship between certain data and their situation in a moment in the past and in the present. Qualitative techniques are characterized by giving the researcher a very important role when it comes to produce and interpret results. This is an important factor in this project, since the researcher is like a craftsworker, both to resort to art as an expression of (the) social, of what surround us (whether through literature, architecture, photography...) and presenting the results of that way (visual techniques, audiovisuals, drawings, photography...).

One of the first methods is the one referred to the theoretical framework, already done before in this chapter. Basically, the methodology used in this project derive from a main one that is the observation. I think that it can be followed what it is said in the book ‘Researching the Visual: Images, Objects, Contexts and Interactions in Social and Cultural Inquiry’ about non-reactive techniques used in the development of some projects: ‘Webb and his colleagues discuss three broad categories of non-reactive measures: physical traces, archival records and simple observation.’ (Emminson, 2000:44) One of the main tasks in this project is to observe and see the elements that form the city, something really important when this city is not one’s place of origin. Observation9 as a way to register the city and her elements, and how these are distributed in the space, knowing that sometimes the observation of some places is limited by the human presence (when a building is ‘that reference to very detail visual documents, and the information they contain, allows for a closer link between the abstractive process of conceptualizing and experimentally derived observations’ Suchar, S., C. (1997) Grounding Visual Sociology Research In Shooting Scripts, Qualitative Sociology, Vol. 20, nº1, p.35 9


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

closed or someone is looking after it, and not everyone can get inside), what makes sometimes, that this observation has to be lead by someone. Buildings and their traces are the main elements that are going to be observed and study, and as well as these traces establish a connection between past and present, the observation process sometimes requires the approval of someone, that is the connection between the building and the ‘outside.' Apart from doing this observation of the different places of study, it is necessary to know about the context of these spaces. For this, to consult archives is really important, and they are really helpful to know about the past situation of an area and its changes throughout time. The archives that are going to be used belong to special collections or we can find them in a special record of a particular place, in this case, Manchester. The interest in this archives is above all, visual, because even these are really helpful to have a historical outlook, this is not the main purpose that we want from these archives. We can divide this archives in two types: - Photographic archives: that provide a unique photographic record of a special subject. The one that is going to be used is the Manchester Local Image Collection, focusing on photographs of Peter Street and the theatres that were in the past that, most of them nowadays, do not exist anymore. - Special collections archives: Here we have some information about the two we are interested in: - Alfred Darbyshire Collection (1857–1907). He was a Manchester architect and he ha a personal and professional interest in drama and theatres. He designed The Comedy Theatre, that later was called The Gaiety, and it is one of the buildings that is part of the study in this dissertation. This collection is important for this project for its architecture view. It contains historical photographs of Manchester, photographs of theatres and other buildings that this architecture designed. - The Annie Horniman Archive:


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

This archive contains press cuttings books with the entire history of some theatres like the Gaiety Theatre, its programmes for productions, photographs and papers relating to Annie Horniman (she first established one theatre in the Midland Hotel and then she was the manager of the Gaiety Theatre). - Film archives: Films are not going to be employ to explain a historical context, but as a help in a possible reflection about what we can and we cannot find in general visual archives. On the other hand, photography together with the observation process, is the other method, as a primary source, that is going to be used in the methodology; photography as a register of reality. Normally, the use of photography as a methodology is more related with anthropology techniques, but in this case, it is going to be used as an unobtrusive and non-reactive technique for study a particular topic. Make a register of the traces in the area of Peter Street in Manchester, and the changes that the buildings have suffered throughout time, as well as the space they used to occupy. ‘The photograph is always related to something other that itself... Related to both the future and the past, the photograph constitutes the present by means of this relation to what it is not’ (Hornstein, 2011:71) As well as the photographs from an archive are going to be used, I am going to create another “archive” for the photographs taken by myself. Ones related to the traces left behind from the past buildings, and other centred on the outdoor or facade of the building, using this last ones to make a contrast o game between past-present, absence-presence, what is still in the city and what has gone forever. For this, the archive from the past and my archive from the actual situation will help to show that overlap of time and visibility. ‘We want this image to speak visually for the absence of that place when we talk about where we were.’ (Hornstein, 2011:77).


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Photography allows not showing just a picture, but also the personal view and understanding of the person that takes the shoot. It is a tool that can be both very selective and not at all, moreover, permits having a control of how was the observation process, doing afterwards a comparison of what we have. It can be seen as a photo-documentation of the city; they show a great complexity, and using visual methods can help us to access to certain aspects of them. If we think about it, the pictures taken in the city have a big value because they can express space and places feelings, and allow us to explore the aspects that, to some extent, are visible. We will be dealing with two types of photography, one that fixes the past, and other one that opens to the present but that is in relation with what have been left in the past. ‘The photographs is always related to something other than itself. Sealing the traces of the past within its space-crossed image, it also lets itself be (re)touched by its relation to the future. Related to both the future and the past, the photographs constitutes the p resent by means of this relation to what is not.’ (Cadava, 1998:63)

3. Chapter II: Reaching the absence. The past is everywhere. All around us lie features which, like ourselves and our thoughts, have more or less recognizable antecedents. Relics, histories, memories suffuse human experience. Each particular trace of the past ultimately perishes, but collectively they are immortal. Whether it is celebrated or rejected, attended to or ignored, the past is omnipresent. (Lowenthal, 1985: 15)

To approach the object of study it has been conducted an exploration of the city of Manchester, compiling the buildings that have formed it throughout history and that currently no longer exist, either physically or in terms of the function performed in the past. Manchester presents a wide range of sites and buildings that could be selected and studied as examples of the lack of presence in the city, but for some reasons that will be explained below, Peter Street and the theatres that were there in the past, are the area and buildings selected for this project.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

First, after an intensive investigation and research on those buildings that are gone forever, it has been carried out a classification in different categories (Diagram1), and a diagram that give details about the different buildings in each category, showing their past and actual situation in the space (Diagram2), with the information found in some books10 and specially in this really helpful website, about Manchester’s history. This have allowed us to have a general outlook of all the buildings that constitute each category, showing their most important aspects when thinking about absence.

After this sorting, a site and a number of buildings that showed a greater interest on the absence issue were selected (plan 1). After researching about each of the selected buildings, it was concluded that the categories were very broad and the characteristics shared were diverse and different. After this, two possible options were set: Select multiple categories with a building as a representative of each of them, or focus on one area or category, with various buildings representing them, as an illustrative example of the absence in the cities. Seeing that in the buildings selection, most of them could be classified in the ‘leisure’ category, and the selection started with the two buildings highlighted in Peter Street: the Theatre Royal and what it was the first Natural History Museum in Manchester (now in Oxford Road). Researching about Peter Street, I realised that, in the past, it was together with Oxford Street, one of the areas of Manchester that represented the leisure in the city, with their theatres and cinemas. After this, I decided to start a research on this street, trying to known which buildings there, were gone forever. Inside the ‘leisure category’, the theatres were the buildings that represented this street in the past. Most of them were demolished, others kept their structures, but their function in the present is completely different. Therefore, the Natural History Museum was dismissed from the group of buildings that were going to be objects of study; instead, six are the past theatres chosen in representation of the absence in Manchester. These are the Prince’s Theatre, Midland Hotel Theatre, Gaiety Theatre, Theatre Royal, Free Trade Hall and the Tivoli Theatre. Before 10

Schofield, Jonathan (2009) Manchester: Then and Now, Anova Books 26

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

giving some information about each of these buildings it will be explained which are the methods employed to reach the information or history of this street and the buildings there.

The first steps to get closer to this buildings selection was to focus on the time and space variables; for this, the best were to deal with plans and make chronological lines. The maps consulted and built were not used as a main source in this methodology; instead, they were used to have a general outlook about the space covered by this area and how it changed along time. First, it was important to be located geographically, so first I consulted current plans through applications like Google Earth and Digimap, and marking the places of study in them (Plan 2). Digimap apart from giving access to current plans of the city, it is an online historical map archive, that is really helpful to see how the space have change as well as the functionality of the buildings in there. This is similar to the University of Manchester online map collection, which is a selection of historical maps focusing on central Manchester that date from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th century. In the Plan 3 in the appendix, we can see that some maps can be zoomed into street level to pay attention to details like buildings outlines and functions. Keeping in mind this geographical representation, it helps the observation process at the time of visiting the current physical street, its buildings and their distribution in the space, because it is difficult to orientate in the space something that has completely disappeared and the space distribution, right now, is different11.

As it was said before, time is the other relevant variable to think about in this project. It has been used as an element of approaching the different elements of study, not as a crucial aspect from which develop the methodology and the possible relations between the different buildings. What I have wanted to show in the chronological line (appendix-section 5) is the evolution of each of the buildings, looking to show each one individually and together at the same time, in a visual As it will be seen some pages below, some photographs of the buildings can be confused, like the Gentleman’s Concert Hall photograph perspective. This concert hall occupied the current Midland Hotel space and the perspective of the concert hall photograph is from the back entrance of the actual hotel. 11


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

way. Each of them are represented in a different colour (these same colours were used to highlight the buildings in the current maps), marking the dates and periods when the buildings changed their names or, in reflection about the absence, when these buildings were opened/ reopened (green), closed (blue) and demolished (red). Even, as I said, time in history is not the relevant point to think about, it is an important variable to consider in a future investigation. I wanted to show a first general and visual time outlook that give us an idea in which way this buildings occupy a place in time and when something, in relation with the absence issue, occurs. Going deeply, having this general view allows us to think about which reasons make those events to happen, like in the 1921 year, that makes us to explore possible external elements that caused the closure of three theatres. Although this method to show the evolution of these buildings give us the most relevant information to consider and thinking about absence, further on it will be explained each of the buildings, adding other relevant information more in relation with their built and situation in the site. Therefore, this individual information of each one is complementary to the visual information given in the appendix and related to the time and space variable. But, thinking about these two variable a question arises, and this is why Peter Street is the area or site chosen?

Observing the city as a whole, and at the same time, as a joint formed with different elements and areas that are interconnected, choosing the area occupied by Peter Street, as a symbolic example of a closeness to the absence in the city of Manchester, being also a clear example of the leisure category. This street presents a great connection between the buildings that in the past were the ones that had to entertain the citizens, showing a great diversity of theatrical shows. At the same time, the buildings of this street share certain characteristics, both functional and architectonical, as well as the people that usually went to the theatrical spectacles, establishing links and bonds between the urban and the social.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Peter Street with Oxford Road became one of the main public roads with theatres and music halls. In connection with the absence theme, this street in Manchester takes the name from the demolished St. Peter’s church, due to this, it can be said that from the denomination of this road, this area is symbolically rich in absence. It is not just its name which preserves a memory or a trace of what existed in the past, but the buildings that are/were part of this space, present different visibility traces and visual impact through the pass of time. In Peter Street, we get in a space of adaptation of absence-presence, to progress and change, that in this case is symbolised through the leisure category. Due to this, Peter Street as a site is the perfect example that encapsulates a series of buildings that share the same functional category in their past lives, being able to see this street as a whole that in the past represented a leisure area by itself and also depending on its buildings, independently. Cities have been spaces of leisure, providing culture and entertainment, and in Manchester this became specially diverse and sophisticated. But after 1930, the leisure sector changed and it declined because of the decentralisation of the leisure facilities and the changed of taste in society. After this, leisure activities have been continually adapted to the new industrial cities of the past and, at the same time, this category is characterised because leisure changes as the cities developed. Also the leisure facilities set in a city are the best to reflect the deeper changes; leisure like the city itself is and was in transition, and for example, theatres and concert halls were places created for the high classes. At the same time the city is developed society also does it, and transport plays a really relevant role in their connection, like the Central Station near Peter Street that linked with a whole area, ‘an entertainment triangle’. When this developed is occurring, the new middle classes start to demand an access to music, theatres and to the art in general. In the case of Peter Street 12, it starts to become an

In the past, Peter Street was an area of easy access, south suburbs above all (Rusholme and Fallowfield). This can be one reason why Oxford Street became an entertainment centre in the future years. 12


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

‘entertainment centre’ that involved a limited sector in this central part of the city, a site known because of its respect and prestigious. What exists and have disappeared end establishing a game where what is absent adopts different shapes and takes or acquires visibility throughout what has been preserved, either objects, structures, building facades or visual archives (which represent a higher level of absence, because these are the only method of approach to what were in the past). In the early 1890s, five music halls theatres were in the city and most of them were along Peter Street (and also Oxford Street), highlighting the first one because, in some way, leisure roots started there at first; in fact, in the XIX century Peter Street became to reach the denomination of ‘Theatre Street’, having all the theatres of the city the wish of having a place in there.

Due to all of this, Peter Street is a space that represents, in Manchester, an absence flux, where the variable time plays a relevant role, linking the leisure category with the change and the visual and social transformation of the elements (theatres, in this case) that transform a specify area. Thus, the main aim of this project is an approach to the absence throughout the study, in Peter Street, of the traces from what have been left behind, being the theatres the object of study. There are a total of six buildings that share similarities throughout their historical development, as well as they are marked by different types of absence, due to different events that have made them to disappeared or be remained in the present performing another role. Below it is explained each of the theatres, mentioning other complementary information as I said before: Prince’s Theatre: This theatre was between the end of Oxford Street and the beginning of Peter Street, and this is why has been one of the selected theatres along this street. It was built in 1864 and its interior was rebuilt in 1869 by Alfred Darbyshire. The lucky the theatres we having dropped in the subsequent years to the I World War , and by the 1930s the increased of cinema’s competition threatened the viability of the theatres. The last performance took place in April 1940 and this theatre was intended to be replaced by a large cinema complex.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

The theatre was demolished shortly afterwards and the intervention of the II World War and the cinema was never built. In 1958 was completed the office complex construction called 'Peter House', which currently occupies the theatre’s space. Midland Hotel Theatre: The current Midland Hotel located on Peter Street was formerly occupied by a theatre, the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall. It was demolished to make room for a new hotel, which included a small theatre inside, with entrance at the rear of the building, in front of the Central Station. The last uses of this theatre were as a cinema and a ballroom. Finally, in 1914, the theatre was dismantled. Currently, the Midland Hotel occupies the entire space. Gaiety Theatre: This theatre was called before ‘The Comedy’ and it was designed

by A.

Derbyshire and opened in 1884 as a decision between the ‘managers’ of the Theatre Royal and St. George House. In 1908 the theatre was sold to Annie Horniman, and reopened in 1912 as the Gaiety Theatre, which operated as live theatre until 1922; later on it became a cinema. In 1959 The Gaiety was demolished and today the only building that remains is the Lancashire House. Alongside this, it is 49 Peter Street. The corner of Peter St. and Mount St. is occupied by The Lexicon, an office block which originally had the name of Television House. Theatre Royal: This theatre was built in 1845 and quickly represented a cultural icon of Manchester. However, the growing presence of the cinemas was a threat to the theatrical world. In 1921 the Theatre Royal finished his activity, and soon it opened as a cinema, a business that ran through many hands. Finally, in the 1960s it was decided to be replaced by an office block. In 1972 the theatre closed its doors and the building started to carry out another functions, from a bingo hall to a nightclub. Free Trade Hall: Manchester has had three Free Trade Halls, and this one in particular is the most famous. It opened its doors in 1856 and was used as a meeting room, for concerts and other kind of activities, being the home of the Hallé Orchestra two years later. In 1940, the hall was damaged by an enemy bombing. After the war, the hall was rebuilt and it reopened in 1951. In 1996 the Hallé orchestra moved to the Bridgewater Hall, and in 1997 the building was sold. In 2004 a hotel opened, the actual Radisson Hotel. 31

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Tivoli Theatre: This building was full of changes throughout its existence. It was originally a methodist chapel and in 1865 it turned into the Alexandra Theatre. The upper gallery had the name of 'Royal Twopenny' and the one below was a fashionable resort. In 1879 changed its name to 'Folly' and finally in 1897 was renamed as the 'Tivoli'. The theatre ceased its activity in 1921 and was later reopened as 'The Winter Gardens Cinema'. In 1936, due to a fire, the building was demolished. The representative absence of these buildings in Peter Street, that were theatres a long time ago, is going to be approached in two ways: from the traces obtained from the use of visual archives, and from the structures and architectural traces, using photography as an approach method. Using this, is a way to read the material culture and its records, because mute evidence or the absence endures physically and leaves its traces on the material past or in another sources like the archives. The difficulties of using this kind of material is that all depend of interpretation, because we cannot talk with and to these materials. We have to see how absence and the past is reconstructed and interpreted.

a.Absence through the archives traces From the visual sources found for each of the buildings, it has been made the table below, as a collection that encompass the visual traces of the past theatres. This collection is composed of photographs of each of the buildings, obtained from the Manchester Local Image Collection, and photographs taken of the Alfred Darbyshire Papers and Annie Horniman’s cutting books. As it can be seen in the table, not all the buildings present the same amount of archives showing how they were in the past. Starting from the beginning of Peter Street, the Prince’s Theatre has a photographic register of the XIX and XX century, where we can see the building exterior, before its demolition, and specifically the building totally demolished just keeping the entrance arcs of the facade. The architect Alfred Darbyshire archive also kept some documentation of the theatre, like the announcements of its re-opened, some of its shows programmes (as it can be seen in


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Cleopatra play) and a register, in comparison with the Theatre Royal, of their plays since they opened. The current Midland Hotel, was in the past the Gentleman’s Concert Hall, and then the hotel had a smaller theatre at the rear for a small period of time, as it can be seen in the second picture, which shows the theatre interior. Apart from the pictures found in the Manchester Local Collection, Barbara Frost, a historian and author of the book ‘Memories of the Midland’, has made a recompilation of the history of the building, stories that tell since 1987, to the people that she takes around the place. The Gaiety Theatre presents a great amount of archives that show its transformations throughout time: photographs of its exterior, its changes that made it to become a cinema, and images of its demolition in 1959. Although Annie Horniman established the theatre in the Midland Hotel and she was the one that later took control of the Gaiety Theatre, we can find more documents and visual sources about the second one. A. Horniman donated so much materials to archive centres, keeping all the news related with the theatre, like its sale or closure, plays programmes or even bank cheques. Photography archives of the Theatre Royal show its facade evolution, till the time when the theatre stopped being a theatre and became a bingo hall and later a social night club. A. Darbyshire designed the Gaiety Theatre, but in his archives we can find information about the Theatre Royal like its plays posters and programmes. The Free Trade Hall has hardly change its exterior throughout time, as we can see in the photographs. Visual information about this building cannot only be found in this archive, but also in the North West Film Archive, when the queen visit Manchester for the Free Trade Hall inauguration13. Finally, the Tivoli Theatre is lacking in photographs, finding just one from 1890. As we can see, absence cannot only be felt when a building is demolished or when it is replaced with another one; the absence is stronger when we turn to archives and the traces left or recorder of that building are limited or; should we say the opposite? Archives exist to preserve the existence of what is part of the past or still of the present, but is preserved because is part of the 13

British Pathé, (1951) The Queen In Manchester. 33

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

history. Nevertheless, not all the things or events that have been part of life, have been ‘recorded’, having the possibility, nowadays, to access them in the present. All depend on the situation and characteristics that form those ‘things’ to be preserved. These buildings that were theatres gained their importance depending on their role in society and how their images were motivated. From the archives it can be appreciated that is really relevant the person that was in charge of the progress of the buildings ensuring their futures. Architects like A. Darbyshire or managers as Annie Horniman, made their buildings famous in society, doing also a great job, preserving and keeping a record of their evolution and history.

However, it is needed to emphasise that at the time to employ archives as a method to prove or show certain information, what it is consulted is selected and it will represent a part of the whole that we can find. With the archives explained before, it was wanted to be showed an outlook of the most relevant elements or aspects of theatre’s life, being important those archives kept along time by those people (like Annie Horniman), that wanted to give them some kind of presence in the private field of archives. These archives or this type of information allow us the access to certain aspects that cannot be reached by the mere observation of the physical place. In the moment, we access to a great variety of information, and being able to be interpretative and imaginative are the next steps that we should take. The absence issue keeps a great relation with the archives, because these till the moment they are consulted do not express that what they are keeping. These archives are in a certain ‘absence atmosphere’ till we go to look up those old photographs, theatrical programs and newspaper cuttings. This consult of the absent will become present in our sight, and it also requires certain rules and treatment care, like if we were dealing to preserve and not damage what we are consulting, and at the same moment, its time. We approach the official form of the archive and the documentation of a site and certain elements, like the theatres, together with what is left behind, leaving aside the personal vision.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

If we think about it, deal with the unknown and with what do not exist anymore, but knowing that a time ago it occupied a space, is difficult; however, it is easier that interpretation task when at first, we get in touch, in this case, through what currently exist. Due to this, the next section will focus on what is more present because is represented through the buildings structures and their architecture, that we receive more directly its presence, although behind all of this, there is the absence of past buildings.

Archive sources Illustration Group 1: Prince’s Theatre

Prince’s Theatre exterior Creator: Fischer, W. H. Date: 1866

Prince's Theatre Glass Negative Date: 1932

Prince's Theatre, Exterior Date: 1936

Prince's Theatre, Prior to demolition Creator: City Engineers Department Date 05/08/1940

Oxford Street, Bomb damage to Alfred Darbyshire Papers Prince's Theatre Creator: R.Lumby Date range: 1857–1907. Date: 1941 Prince’s Theatre Re-opening– 1869 Box 1–p.9


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907.

Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907.

Prince’s Theatre–Antony Cleopatra Box 1–p.11

Prince’s Theatre-Theatre Royal. Pantomimes Box 1– p.28

Illustration Group 2: Midland Hotel Theatre

Mosley St/Peter St Gentleman's Concert Hall Creator: Coulthurst, S.L. Date: 1900

A Postcard depicting the Foyer of the Midland Hotel Theatre. Courtesy: Maurice Friedman, British Music Hall Society.

Hotel, Midland Hotel, Manchester Date: 1910

Midland Hotel, Manchester, from Central Station Date: 1903


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Illustration Group 3: Gaiety Theatre

Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Wade, J. W. Date: 1890

Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 1944

Gaiety Theatre, Exterior Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 10/08/1959

1. Peter Street, Gaiety Cinema Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 1959


Gaiety Theatre, Start of demolition. Creator: Milligan, H. Date: 26/09/1959

3. 4.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Reference Number(s): GB 133 GB 133 AEH Held at: The University of Manchester, The John Rylands University Library Contact Details Dates of Creation: 1890s-1980s Physical Description: 4 subgroups. Name of Creator: Horniman, Annie Elizabeth Fredericka, 1860-1937 Language of Material: English Location: John Rylands Library, Deansgate.

1. Cuttings Book (18 Apr 1908-8 Feb 1909) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/2. P.22 2. Cuttings Book (9 Jan 1917-30 Nov 1919) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/16. P.108 3.Cuttings Book (2 Dec 1919-30 Apr 1929) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/17. P.49 4.Cuttings Book (2 Dec 1919-30 Apr 1929) Reference GB 133 AEH/2/17. P.98

Illustration Group 4: Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal, Entrance into the theatre, Peter Street, Manchester Creator: Fischer, W. H. Date: 1866

Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester Date:1890

Theatre Royal, 3rd building, Peter Street Manchester Date: 1900


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Theatre Royal, Peter Street City bingo and social club Date: 1987 Date: /06/1973

Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Theatre Royal Programme–1898

Alfred Darbyshire Papers Date range: 1857–1907. Theatre Royal show–1821


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Illustration Group 5: Free Trade Hall

Public Halls, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester Date: 1920

Public Halls, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester Creator: Baddeley, T. Date: 05/04/1946

Peter Street, Free Trade Hall Date: 1956

Illustration 6: Tivoli Theatre

Folly Theatre, Exterior Creator: Coulthurst, S. L. Date: 1890 Source: All the archive photographs are from the Manchester Local Image Collection.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

b.Absence through structures traces As well as what the archive has done with the collection of photographs, I have made an archive with photographs taken of those buildings that were theatres. The offices that occupy now the Prince’s Theatre space have no signs of what was the past life of that place. The theatre was completely demolished and now a big and high concrete structure with so many windows form the Peter House, which is at the beginning of Peter Street. The absence has taken control of that theatre that existed in the past and that nowadays just some archives are helpful to remember what was in that space. The Midland Hotel had a small theatre inside; the actual facade of the building and the distribution of the spaces have kept part of the spirit of it, like in some areas such as the actual banquet hall, where there was the Alexandra ballroom, space near the rear entrance of the building, where so many people, used to arrived in the station to go to the theatre that were in the hotel. It is a building that, both through its exterior as what we found inside, make us imagine the past life of it. The Gaiety Theatre makes us to face something completely opposite, because office blocks have substitute what was the theatre space. On the right side of what was the theatre, now we can find The Lexicon, an office block that shows us high structure of glass, steel and concrete, that was called Television House. After visiting each of the buildings to know which one corresponded with the theatre, a person in the Lexicon building told me that he had some kind of connection with The Gaiety, because the people there kept the plaques that stood in the theatre facade a long time ago; at least, something more that archives, had been kept from the past of this building.

‘The Theatre Royal is still there’, that is the first thought that comes to one’s mind when we observe the facade of this building, nevertheless when we centre our gaze to the middle of the building we can see some of the doors boarded up and the windows with nets. At the same time, despite the presence of the letters engraved on the stone, from which we can read the year when


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

the building was erected, a sign marks its latest newest feature, a nightclub. Unable to see the inside of it, one realises the strength that architecture14, able to keep the essence of something that does not exist anymore. We cannot see the inside, but even if it is empty, the facade still contains part of the life that had this building15 . This situation is similar to the one of Free Trade Hall, being the presence stronger, because of the traces found in what is now a hotel. The facade is practically the same, and inside we can find different artefacts that have been kept from the old building: some commemorative plaques near the main entrance from Peter Street; a series of coats of arms that now we can see above the reception desk; eight white stone sculptures that were in the Wildmill Street side of the old building, have been placed in a kind of skylight (they express activities associated with the hall); in a framed wall plaster autograph we can see the signatures of old performers; a large painting of the Peterloo Massacre commemorates de event in St. Peter’s Field in 1819... All of these elements as a whole, allow to bring to the present traces that belong to something that is part of the past and to give shape to what was a theatre. To make this happen, photography is a really helpful tool that opens perception to different perspectives. ‘While the photograph may not be able to tell us much more about the subject it makes visible without textual interpretation, it undeniable testifies–that has been’ (Long, J.J., Noble, A.,Welch, E., 2013:102). In comparison, we have the Tivoli Theatre, with an only archive photograph, and even the building was completely demolished, the actual roof structure has kind of similarity with the one from the past.

Apart from this, photography lets us to make a register of what we are seeing, that maybe will change or disappear with the passage of time. In the past, local authorities employed photographers to portray areas of the city that were to be demolished or rebuilt. Today, this barely occurs and many buildings disappear not being photographed, documented and As John Hendrix said, we can see more than what is architecture, seeing beyond what is present. The genius loci of places, being the buildings, containers of meaning, as it was mentioned before. 14

Taking the Heidegger’s idea, some spaces, even not carrying out their past functions, they still keep the structures and pillars where they performed them, making these places to take over meaning, despite some of them are uninhabited (like the Theatre Royal). 15


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

recognised. The use of photography as a tool for conservation of what has physically disappeared or is likely to do so, can reunite or join the mind with the past. Aidan O’Rourke is a photographer16 of the city and he says, approximately, that once a building is demolished, one of the pieces that make up the city disappears; the city quickly adapts to his absence. Most of the time their traces are deleted and you would have never known that there was something. Most of the times, says O'Rourke, the only definitive proof of the existence of a demolished building is the photograph. The photographer adds that, buildings, like people, have no power once they have disappeared and are easily forgotten. ‘Things are dismantled, cast aside, destroyed and disposed of but countless material and immaterial forms, traces, remnants, fragments and memories’ (Crewe, 2011:27) The memory of the past inevitably means that the past is expressed through language and images, and because of this, it comes to us in a mediated and indirect way. Photography records the time at which the image was taken, while time goes by. The result visible in the photograph may be regarded as the past time, seeing a photograph as a form of time travel. Photography can look back in time and connect, for a moment, a place and a time that once took place. It establishes a bridge throughout the distance that the past evokes, because the viewer can form an image of that which is absent with the use of photography, associating after a context and meaning17 .

The use of photography18 has allowed to recapture Peter Street, seeing the conception of the past and what has been left behind, through the language of photography. ‘Like the photographic negative that can only be developed later, it traces the imprint of what is to come. At the same time, it is written in order to be left behind.’ (Cadava 1998:17). The act of observing is interpretive and involves choosing a point of view. Therefore, in this second part of the project, 16

Schofield, J. (2009) Manchester: Then and Now, Anova Batsford.


Like Freud Said, seeing and perceiving the space as something mental, as well as physical.

Sartre’s mental image in ‘L’imaginaire’, the punctum is ‘a certain way an object has of being absent within its very presence’ or perhaps ‘present within this absence’. Nelson, R., Olin, M. (2004) Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade, University Chicago Press, p.144 18


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

the use of old and more recent photographs allow to adopt a certain perspective of the city, seeing how the selected buildings have changed or what has been kept from them. The traces, as we have seen, can study alternative perspectives where, for us, memory plays an important role.

Memory creates a relation or a special connection with space and retains the essence of it, leaving the rest of the details. Therefore, when we have not experienced something or have not been in a place, even though we know about it, it does not occupy an important place in our mind. This is similar to when certain places evoke others, whether familiar or loved; in this case traces evoke the absent, of what in the past held a particular place in space or played a certain role in it. ‘The possibility of history is bound to the survival of the traces of what is past and to our ability to read these traces as traces’. (Cadava, 1998:64) We try to understand the past reading its traces in space, trying to establish a dialogue with it and seeing the city as a place of permanence and change (like Sokolowski’s idea about traces; those that move the space, the trace as something that lives even not being present.) Below we can see different groups of photographs related to each of the buildings selected, both exterior and interior elements guide us through the past and present life of these buildings; and from this we can extract (or deduce) different types of absence, depending on the archive perspective or the personal one. From the first perspective it can be said that those buildings that present a big amount of archives could have a weak absence, nevertheless, it is the opposite. The archives are something private and out of our sight till we consult them. Maybe is in that moment when we realise that those buildings that we thought were absent, have more presence in an official proof of their past existence. Maybe through this thought we see more clear the absence idea expressed in this work (similar to the one of Husserl); the absence of what we cannot see or that we see through what is left behind, like the archives.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

The Gaiety Theatre was completely demolished, and right now we can see a completely different and modern building. At first glance anyone would say that a theatre occupied that space some time ago. The Prince’s Theatre could be in the same situation; there are archives about this building, but not a big number, and there are not traces to track in the current structure; shape, colour, materials, function ... all are completely different. The Free Trade Hall, the Theatre Royal and The Midland Hotel Theatre can be perceived in the opposite situation; there are archives about them that give that absence sense because of the archive privacy, but their structural and architectonic presence make the absence of their past function, weaker. Part of the Free Trade Hall was destroyed during the Blitz of 1940-1941, and it had a reconstruction of the interior and the roof. Having a first sight, some structures like its facade, in this case from a renaissance style, keeps a strong essence of what was a theatre. The other two theatres and their structures and architecture, bring presence of what was inside, as the monumental Portico and the Shakespeare statue in the Theatre Royal, and the back entrance (to what was the theatre) in the current Midland Hotel. The Gaiety Theatre and the Prince’s theatre, on the contrary, do not have any presence through their structures, because completely different buildings occupy the space of the past ones. It is that first feeling and perception that we have through the structures of something that functionally have disappeared, which make their ‘absence’ less strong. As it can be seen, absence becomes weaker, when we can find traces from the architecture, that fight against the oblivion that is behind absence, bringing to the present something that existed in the past, through the perception of that something, in the moment that we make the observation. ‘The more you look for these ideas in the world around you – the sense of what’s missing, what’s impossible to depict – the more you see them everywhere. They appear throughout the history of art in all cultures. Early Chinese communities, for example, used markers to represent the spirits of their absent ancestors. Kings were too sacred, and too special to be shown, so that they were often represented by an empty throne.' (Hung Wu, Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago) 45

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Thinking about the other buildings, I wonder what we should think or interpret of the Tivoli Theatre; should we relate the total absence with this building, due to its scarce of archives and because its structure does not have any remains of the past building? This would be the first reasoning considering the rule followed before, but maybe, should we think about this theatre as the most present in the current site, because of the fact that we think it more, as a result of the non-existence of traces? Structures and indoor traces Illustration Group 7: Prince’s Theatre

Peter House building occupies the space where was the Prince’s Theatre.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Illustration Group 8: Midland Hotel Theatre

The exterior of what is now the Midland Hotel (from Peter Street and from what it was the Central Station) and the interior space of the hotel.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Illustration Group 9: Gaiety Theatre

Exterior of the current buildings where it was the Gaiety Theatre, near to the Central City Library; and the commemorative plaques that were outside the building.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Illustration Group 10: Theatre Royal


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

The Theatre Royal facade from different perspectives that show the last function of the buidling.

Illustration Group 11: Free Trade Hall

Facade and the entrance of the Free Trade Hall

Commemorative tablet of Suffragette Meeting in Free Trade Hall, 1905 50

Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Commemorative tablet of official opening of the new Free Trade Hall by HRH Queen Elizabeth, 1951

Painting of the Peterloo Massacre, 1819. Artist: Arthur Sherwood Edward

Signatures of artists who performed at the Free Trade Hall

Coats of arms of city bodies and neighbouring local authorities (Foyer, Peter St.)

Stone statues depicting activities associated with the Free Trade Hall


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Arc-shaped structure that goes across Peter Street.

Where is now the hotel’s restaurant, there were the entrances to the theatre with the different letters.

A commemorative plaque on the side of the Manchester Free Trade Hall.

Illustration Group 12: Tivoli Theatre

The actual facade where it was the Tivoli Theatre, and now we found offices.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

4. Chapter III: Conclusion (...) through what it has become, one can look back with nostalgia at what it was. (Calvino, 2002: 30)

Getting to this point in the dissertation, it is noteworthy that this work has not tried to reach a conclusion, or some kind of ‘discovery’ if it can be called in that way. I have tried to reflect a possible approach to the idea of absence in the city, combining the written and the visual. I wasn’t dealing to discover the absence, but to know and choose a method to represent it, giving visibility to what could have lost it. This intention has led to an expansion and understanding of the absence, from a personal vision of who observes a city that cannot be described as the native one, but as a possible second temporary home. The "not belonging" it is not an excuse to study concepts such as the absence and presence. The city and its buildings will be open for us if we let them and we have interest, like when the theatre curtains open to start a function. Through exploring and following the traces that someone or something has wanted to preserve, we can appreciate how present and past overlap and connect with each other. It is through these traces, in the form of photographs, artefacts, archives or vague memories, how certain places take visibility and representation in those spaces that they occupied once. The buildings are not forever, as it was already mentioned, but all depends on reviving (or reactivating, as it was said in the hypothesis) those elements and traces that we find, and occupy a place in history and memory, perhaps already forgotten, of those who took care to preserve certain aspects of the past presence. Through the research, it has been reached what lies behind what can or cannot be seen, having this a strong relation with the existence or non-existence of archives. These, and like the architect Beatriz Colomina says, are private (the files), but the history is public, and is outside the first where it is produced the second one (...) The history as a facade (Colomina, 2010:23).


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

There was a time when these theatres existed, however, there are not always evidences of their presence in the past. It has been seen that sometimes the archives are scarce19 and even if one tries it hard, there is no register of the life of certain buildings (as we mentioned, referring to Sokolowski, is like the feeling with a lost object). However, looking for what can prove the existence of something, we should not forget the direct image that we receive of that something, that can contain what we are looking for. Some of the selected buildings were not characterized for being famous, they were just buildings to include in the leisure category. It is in these cases, finding certain archives or details that give presence to part of the past life of those structures, is where it is reflected the essence of absence through what is present. The buildings that we see today are in charge of 'wrapping' what has largely disappeared, because with a simple sample, we give rise to testify and prove the existence of something of the past: 'this was here'. Finally, we should be aware that the city is really big and should not consider Peter Street as a whole inside it. This site or street is a representative piece of the city, through which it has been approach the absence, without dismissing a further research and find other characteristic areas. Perhaps, the final question should be, how is currently Peter Street? The passing of time and the proliferation of cinemas in the 20th century, made the closure of so many theatres, except for the Palace Theatre and the Opera House. These two buildings represent nowadays the presence of the leisure category, limiting the ‘absence area’ of Peter Street (and also Oxford Street). The Theatre Royal is closed, showing its last image as a club night; The Midland Hotel doesn’t have a theatre in the rear; the Hallé Orchestra doesn’t play anymore in the Free Trade Hall, but is doing it in the Bridgewater Hall, and the old Central Station has been converted in the G-Mex Exhibition Centre. In a certain sense, this old entertainment has survived, in some manner, with a

Beatriz Colomina in the fisrt chapter of her book called ‘Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture As Mass Media’, focused on archives, mentions this fact of the scarcity or abundance of files, talking about the information collected from the works of the architects Alfred Loos and Le Corbusier. 'Loos empties into space and destroys all the traces left behind him, and Le Corbusier fills it' (approximate translation from the spanish edition, p.17) 19


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

new shape, offering those kinds of enjoyment that modern tastes demand. Peter Street is and was an attraction point for a particular sector; from the seriousness of the theatre and the concert halls to the current hotels and offices, maintaining that centrality to attract certain social and cultural tastes, both in the present and what it was in the past.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

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Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Halbwachs, M. (2004) La Memoria Colectiva, Prensas Universitarias De Zaragoza. Harris, Stefanie (2001) The Return of the Dead: Memory and Photography in W.G. Sebald's Die Ausgewanderten, The German Quarterly, Wiley, Vol. 74, No. 4, Sites of Memory, pp. 379-391 ( Hendrix, J. (2006) Architecture and Psychoanalysis: Peter Eisenman and Jacques Lacan, Peter Lang Höfer, C., Glenn, C., Heckert, V. And Lombino, M. (2004) Architecture of absence. New York: Aperture. Hornstein, S., Jacobowitz, F. (2003) Image and Remembrance: Representation and the Holocaust, Indiana University Press. Hornstein, S. (2011) Losing site: architecture, memory and place. Farnham: Ashgate. Huyssen, A. (2012) Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia, Routledge. Knowlson, Joyce (1985) Red plush and gilt: the heyday of Manchester theatre during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, Knowlson, Joyce. Kostof, S. and Tobias, R. (1999) The city shaped: urban patterns and meanings through history. London: Thames & Hudson. Kostof, S., Tobias, R. and Castillo, G. (1999) The city assembled: the elements of urban form through history. London: Thames & Hudson. Long, J.J., Noble, A.,Welch, E. (2013) Photography: Theoretical snapshots, Taylor & Francis. Lowenthal, David (1975) Past Time, Present Place: Landscape and Memory, Geographical Review, American Geographical Society, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 1-36 Massey, D. (2005) For space. London: SAGE. Nelson, R.S., And Olin, M.R. (2003) Monuments and memory, made and unmade. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Norberg-Schulz, C. (1991) Genius Loci: towards a phenomenology of architecture, Rizzoli: Milan Pajón Mcloy, E. (2010) Filosofía y ausencia, Antigona. Porch, D. L. (2006) The visible and the invisible: Connecting presence and absence through art, memory and the body, Bribane: Queensland University of Technology. Reilly, C. H (1924) Some Manchester streets and their buildings, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press; London: Hodder & Stoughton.


Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street

Rykwert, J. (2000) The seduction of place: the city in the twentieth-first century. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. S. Casey, Edward (1993) Getting Back Into Place: Toward a Renewed Understanding of the Place-World. Studies in Continental Thought, Indiana University Press. Schofield, Jonathan (2009) Manchester: Then and Now, Anova Books Simonsen, Kirsten (2005) Bodies, Sensations, Space and Time: The Contribution from Henri Lefebvre. Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, Wiley, Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 1-14 (http:// Sokolowski, R. (2000) Introduction to Phenomenology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Suchar, S., C. (1997) Grounding Visual Sociology Research In Shooting Script, Qualitative Sociology, Vol. 20, nยบ1 Treib, Marc (2009) Spatial Recall. Memory in Architecture and Landscape, Routledge. ! (1996) In/different spaces: place and memory in visual culture. Berkeley; London: University of California Press. Trigg, D. (2006) The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia, And the Absence of Reason, New Studies in Aesthetics, vol. 37. Walsh, T. (1998) The Dark Matter of Words: Absence, Unknowing, and Emptiness in Literature, SIU Press. Wigley, Mark (1995) The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida's Haunt. The MIT Press. Wyke, Terry (1994) Manchester theatres, North West Regional Library System. Manchester History. Gone for ever. [Online] [Accessed on 15th April 2013] http:// Manchester Local Image Collection [Online][Accessed on 20th May 2013] http://




Diagram 1: Classification categories



Diagram 2: Buildings that have gone for ever. Categories and past/present situation



–The Cathedral Hotel: - It was in Fennel Street. - Today: Chetham’s School of Music –Royal Hotel: - In 1877 David Lewis, a successful retailer from Liverpool, built his "Emporium" next door on Market Street. - In 1908 the Royal Hotel was demolished to make way for an extension to the Lewis's Store. - Then in 1915 the old Lewis's Emporium was replaced by a new store that enclosed the back street called Mosley Buildings and extended to Meal Street.  - Today: Primark. –Mosley Hotel - Occupied a prominent position on Piccadilly across from the northern end of the Piccadilly Gardens - The hotel building was replaced in 1922 by a "Beaux Arts" building designed by Percy Hothersall.  It was home to "The Piccadilly" cinema and can be seen below next door to the oriental looking Kardoma Cafe. - After the cinema closed, the building was transformed into a Littlewoods store.  - Today it is home to Somerfields, Boots and Bella Italia. –Waterloo and Clarence - Surrounded by Hope St. Picadilly, Circus St. And Chatham St. - Today: Grand NCP Car Park –Deansgate Hotel: - Still in 1960. - Today: Renaissance Hotel –The Railway Hotel (Whitworth St. Deansgate): - 1960s: Demolished - Today: Staircases–Metrolink access to the bridge –The White Bear Hotel 1st.Cardonan Cafe 2nd.Lyon’s Cafe - Today: Superdrug shop


MUSEUMS –National History Museum - Built in 1821. - 34 years later-Theatre Royal next door - Separation made with Museum Street. - 1867: Owens College moved the collection. - Old museum building-demolished - Today: St. George’s house (house of young men’s Christian Association.


–Belle Vue Zoological Gardens - In Belle Vue (Gorton), it opened in 1836 - The zoo closed in 1977 and what remains today is a racing stadium and a snooker hall.

FACTORIES –Boddingston’s Strangways Brewery - Today: Chimney in outdoor carpark –Gaythorn Gas Works - Coverted in Gas Distributors. - 1992: British Council Building - 2010: Manchester City Council –Joseph Higham’s Band (Instrument Factory) - 1842: 127, Great Ducie St. - 1850: 73, Chapel St. - 1863: 2, Vistoria Terrace, Victoria St. - 1883: ownership-Peter Robinson. - 1927: Hulme –Market Place - Today's Marks and Spencer store occupies the site of the block housing, among others, Beaty Bros Tailors. –Mosley Street buildings - Today: All the buildings have gone.Peace Gardens occupies the site.



–The Ardwick Empire Theatre - Then the Gaumont Cinema - Today: Vacant hoardings –The Hippodrome - Westside Oxford Street–Across St. Jamwa Monumental Building - 1935: Demolished –The Gaument– Oxford Street. - 1974: Closed - Rotters Nightclub - 1990: demolished - Today: Multy-Storey NCP Car Park –The Rialto Cinema–Bury Old Road - 1999: Demolished - Today: Fast Food Outlet. –Queen’s Theatre–Bridge St. - A hotel on Bridge St. Was converted into the London music Hall. - 1888: Transformation Queen’s theatre. - 1890:Destroyed by fire. - Royal Ampitheatre and Circus (sold in 1911) - Demolished - 1929: Masonic Hall - now? –York St. And Spring Gardens: Built on the site of an earlier theatre called ‘The Theatre Royal’---destroyed by fire 1789. - New building: ‘The New Theatre Royal’. - 1809: it became the new amphitheatre. - Finally: Queen’s Theatre. - 1869: Demolished. - Replaced by a warehouse (Parr’s Bank)-closed. - Today: Bar called ‘The Athenaeum’. –St. James' Theatre & Exhibition Hall - Oxford Street. - Clock Tower - 1908: reopen as a cinema - The theatre must have been demolished not long after its reopening because in 1912 work began on an even more imposing building which now occupies this site. –The Comedy Theatre/Gaiety Theatre - The Theatre was demolished in 1959.  - The only building remaining on the site is Lancashire House (the red brick building). 


PUB –Tommy Ducks: - East St. Across from Midlans Hotel - Today: Premmier Inn

STREETS/ZONES/AREAS/BLOCK OF BUILDINGS –43–61 Portland St. - Warehouses. Textile industry. - 1950s=demolished. - Manchester Blitz - Today: Portland Tower

PRISONS –Belle Vue prison - Demolished in 1890 –The New Bailey Prison - 1886: New prison in Manchester. All prisioners moved here - Today: Office Building

HOSPITALS –Manchester & Salford Hospital for Skin Diseases - In Quay St. For 94 years. - 1884: began in 2 small houses on Dale St. - 1895: Left Dale St. - 1999: Demolished - Today: Direct Line House COURTS –Assize courts - In Great Duccie Street, designed by Alfred Waterhouse. - It was the first civic building to be constructed in Manchester since the Town Hall on King Street. Following the Manchester Blitz in 1940 and 1941, the building was serverely damaged. - Today: we can find a new building attached to the front of the Victorian Strangeway's Prison. 66

OFFICES –Longridge House - Canon St. And Corporation St. - Opened in 1959. - Bomb detroyed it in 1996. It was demolished after that. - Today: Selfridges. Grey plaque. –Manchester Evening News Office - Today the site is occupied by a new retail building owned by Armani, which was called 2 Spinningfield Square but now seems to be 1 The Avenue.

CHURCHES/CATHEDRAL –Cathedral Chambers: - In Fennel Street. In 1950’s the space was taken by the British Engine Assurance Company. - Today it is subtitute by a Water Feature. Near the Manchester Cathedral. –Christ Church - The Round House - Every Street, Ancoats - Brick circle on a green space beside the road. - 1986: Demolished. - Ashton Old Road: New Roundhouse

GARDEN/BOTANIC GARDENS/PARKS –Manchester Botanic Gardens - In Old Trafford-Chester Road in The White City. Everything ended in 1907. - Today: Retail Park


–The Ardwick Cementery: - Until 1950. - 1960: Sports Field - Today:Nicholls field


WAREHOUSES/COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS –47, Corporation Street - Today: Car park –CWS Offices - Between 1964 and 1990, the former newspaper offices on Withy Grove and the CWS---incorporated in the Printworks –Eagle Star Building - The Eagle Star Building (indicated by the arrow above) occupied a block on Mosley Street, between Spring Gardens and Booth Street, for a very brief time. It was designed by the architectural practice of Cruickshank and Seward for the Royal London Assurance company and erected in 1973. - Today: Cobbetts' Building. –Milne Building-Mosley Street - The most starling warehouse of Manchester. - Built in 1840. - 1970: Demolished-Eagle Star Insurance Building---2005-demolished - Today. Cobbets Law Firm –Elisabeth House - St. Peter's Square - It was built in 1971 and demolished in 2012 - 1840s: site was occupied by a "Scotch Church" and St. Peter's Hotel.  When Elisabeth House was built it took up the whole block to George Street and Back George Street disappeared. - 1880s: the Scotch Church and St. Peter's Hotel were both gone to be replaced by a collection of warehouses with offices and shops and a restaurant on street level. - Today we can find a plaque memorial –Parker St. Warehouses - Today: City Tower. it is part of the Bruntwood fleet of city centre office spaces. –Smithfield Market - Covered market was demolished after 1972. - 1973: New market in Openshaw - The Manchester Retail Fish market-Oak Srt. - Today: Manchester Craft Center.

TRANSPORT/STATIONS/SECURITY –Jackson’s Row Fire station -From 1886, Jackson’s Road-Bootle St. -Previous place: Clarence Street (for the new town hall) –Corner Mosley Street. Omnibus Station -Opened in 1928. -1972: Closed. -1973: Demolished -Today: Bridgewater Hall 68

Plans 1: First approach and selection



Plans 2: Google maps and Digimap representation





Plans 3: University of Manchester collection




Chronological Line



Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street  
Following the absence track in Manchester: Traces and leisure sites in Peter Street