Manchester’s living history is rediscovered in a brand new book for Christmas published by the M.E.N. and iNostalgia.

Entitled Manchester Then and Now, it’s a fresh compilation of compelling archive images compared with how the same locations look today.

The new book features a selection of the favourite Then and Now articles published every Sunday in the M.E.N.

Subjects cover the rich kaleidoscope of life in Manchester, ranging from schoolchildren welcoming soldiers back from the front in 1919 to the Rolling Stones playing gigs in the city half a century apart!

Hikers set off from a deserted Deansgate, April 1953

Hikers set off from a deserted Deansgate, April 1953

There are great sporting moments including George Best and Bobby Charlton in their heyday and Manchester City players making their way to Wembley for the 1969 FA Cup final.

Emmeline Pankhurst and her suffragette colleagues are pictured at Piccadilly Station in 1913 while the dapper Prince of Wales picks his way through the mud to open a new housing estate at Broadoak Road in 1933.

Moving forward, we see Princess Elizabeth – our future Queen – reviewing troops in Albert Square in 1949 with the Duke of Edinburgh in support.

More than 50 years later, Prince Charles is pictured enjoying a drink at the Rovers Return bar to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Granada soap Coronation Street.

George Best enjoys a game of street cricket at his old digs on Aycliffe Avenue, May 1968

George Best enjoys a game of street cricket at his old digs on Aycliffe Avenue, May 1968

Football stars and celebrities are glimpsed winging their way into Manchester Airport as well as Mancunians enjoying well-earned holidays in the 1950s and 60s. It’s incredible how much the airport has changed!

Inevitably, some of the modern images in the book reflect the restrictions and hardships we’ve all had to face during the Covid pandemic. The grief it has brought has been felt deeply – in all areas of the community.

But there are images of great hope too – in the Christmas crib at Strangeways Prison, in the faces of youngsters celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the wonderful anticipation of pensioners looking forward to a grand day out in a coach from the Shrewsbury Hotel.

As a brief taster, here are a few Then and Now comparisons from the 96-page book which retails for £12.99 and is available for pre-order now.

A Granada TV crew interviews passers-by in Manchester city centre, March 1956

A Granada TV crew interviews passers-by in Manchester city centre, March 1956

The first is a wonderful shot of hitch-hikers setting off from a deserted Deansgate on Good Friday morning, April 1953. There is no traffic apart from a solitary bus in the distance.

We know the hikers plan to go pot-holing in Derbyshire’s Manifold Valley complete with Billy cans, gas burners and cups hanging from their rucksacks!

The scene is eerily similar to photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image taken during lockdown. The usually bustling Deansgate is empty at a peak time of the day – a sight rarely witnessed in our lifetimes

Our second sequence is far more lively as Manchester United winger George Best tries his hand at street cricket with youngsters outside his former digs on Aycliffe Avenue in May 1968.

Cars trundle over tram tracks in Swan Street, January 1935

Cars trundle over tram tracks in Swan Street, January 1935

The ball is heading straight for the photographer, but no-one seems to mind!

Best was only 15 when he came to Manchester from Belfast in 1961 to stay at the home of landlady Mrs Mary Fullaway.

Dreadfully homesick, he returned to Northern Ireland after only two days in England, but the club persuaded the gifted winger to come back to Manchester.

He had to play as an amateur for two years as English clubs were not allowed to sign Northern Irish players as apprentices at the time.

As a result, Best was given a job as an errand boy on the Manchester Ship Canal to allow him to train twice a week.

Mary Quant, centre, and models celebrate after a fashion show in Market Square, February 1966

Mary Quant, centre, and models celebrate after a fashion show in Market Square, February 1966

The very early days of Granada TV are captured in our photo of an outside broadcast in Deansgate in March 1956.

A small crowd of onlookers has gathered to see the novelty of passers-by being interviewed on issues of the day. Granada studios was launched only two years earlier on Quay Street in 1954.

Cars and trucks are trundling over the tram tracks and cobblestones of Swan Street in January 1935, but there are few vehicles in our locked down image from 2020. The area is almost deserted.

The cobblestones have been covered in tarmac and the trams have long since departed. Victorian buildings that were once warehouses and builders’ yards have been converted to flats with shops below.

Our final image sees world-renowned fashion designer Mary Quant and her Ginger Group models celebrating in Market Square in February 1966.

They’d just completed a photo shoot and were playing ring-o-roses round a lamp-post before taking part in a fashion show at Lewis’s department store.

The models’ hands got so dirty they had to dash back to the store to wash them before taking to the catwalk again!

*Manchester Then and Now is available for pre-order at £12.99 on inostalgia.co.uk or on the order hotline 01928 503777.

All pre-ordered copies will be personally signed by author Malcolm Pheby and despatched postage free in the week commencing November 22nd.