Just as today, the 1970s were a time of enormous change for the Manchester skyline.

Victorian slum terraces were being cleared at a prodigious rate, leaving parts of the city barren apart from piles of rubble and bricks.

High-rise residential blocks punctuated the landscape as massive developments that would transform the city for ever slowly got under way.

Flats rise above barren demolition landscape in Collyhurst, December 1973

Flats rise above barren demolition landscape in Collyhurst, December 1973

Chief among these were the Arndale Centre, the Ringway Airport runway extension, Oxford Road station and the M602 motorway.

It was a time of huge transition, captured in a powerful set of archive images taken by M.E.N. photographers in December 1973.

One striking photo, from Egginton Street in Collyhurst, shows a great expanse of waste ground and rubbish dumps with modern flats in the background.

Street football on Moss Side with the new university complex in the background, December 1973

Street football on Moss Side with the new university complex in the background, December 1973

Another image portrays dogs, left by their owners, skulking on the mounds of bricks that used to be their homes in the Ackroyd Street area of Moss Side.

Debris and water in the back alley of Rudman Drive in Salford lead up to the real Coronation Street running parallel with Regent Road.

It was a sign of the times that Salford’s Archie Street, used by writer Tony Warren as his model for the long-running Granada soap, was also demolished in 1971.

Derelict homes in Harpurhey opposite Alfred Street School, December 1973

Derelict homes in Harpurhey opposite Alfred Street School, December 1973

Coronation Street actors Jean Alexander and Bernard Youens made a poignant last visit to Archie Street playing their much-loved characters Hilda and Stan Ogden just before the wrecking ball moved in.

The social change in Manchester was mirrored in some of the storylines of Coronation Street as familiar landmarks on the set were rebuilt and repurposed, and new characters were continuously introduced.

From its first broadcast in December 1960, the soap has always set out to portray real issues facing ordinary Manchester people in the setting of fictional Weatherfield.

Abandoned dogs on rubble dumps in Moss Side, December 1973

Abandoned dogs on rubble dumps in Moss Side, December 1973

Conservation and modernisation came to a head in the 40th anniversary live episode in December 2000 when the Street rallied to save its cobblestones from being covered over by council tarmac.

The Save the Cobbles campaign finally succeeded when the residents came up with a hastily printed fake preservation order from Northern Heritage.

Just before the credits rolled, Ken Barlow (William Roache) made an impassioned speech about what the community of Coronation Street meant to him.

Debris leading to the real Coronation Street in Salford, December 1973

Debris leading to the real Coronation Street in Salford, December 1973

While the cobblestones of Coronation Street survived, many terraced houses that had been homes for generations had been torn down all over Manchester by 1973.

They were replaced by social living experiments like the ill-fated Hulme Crescents and the Fort Ardwick estate.

Far from being bright new solutions to slum conditions, the developments quickly proved to be a curse – poorly designed, badly built and quickly neglected.

Hilda and Stan Ogden (Jean Alexander and Bernard Youens) in Archie Street, August 1971

Hilda and Stan Ogden (Jean Alexander and Bernard Youens) in Archie Street, August 1971

Once close-knit communities were ripped apart as neighbours, friends and extended families were scattered. No-one appeared to take responsibility for public space in the new blocks so stairwells became litter traps.

There was no question, though, that something needed to be done at the time to improve unfit housing conditions in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

By the end of 1967, it was estimated that five million people were living in 1.8 million slums unfit for human habitation in England and Wales.

Coronation Street creator Tony Warren outside the Rovers, June 1980

Coronation Street creator Tony Warren outside the Rovers, June 1980

Another 12 million were living in homes lacking one or more basic facilities such as a bathroom, inside toilet, mains sewage or their own water supply.

In response, Salford’s first tower block – the eight-storey Clement Atlee House – was completed in May 1956. Its first 15-floor block was under construction in the early 1960s.

But as the 1970s dawned, much of the city’s housing was still row upon row of terraces mostly owned by private landlords.

Communal walkways at Hulme Crescents, November 1973

Communal walkways at Hulme Crescents, November 1973

In spite of its rehousing programme, Salford in October 1974 was said to have the worst slums in Europe.

But at the recently built Hulme Crescents, life was anything but a dream for tenants in 1973. Designed by architects Hugh Wilson and J. Lewis Womersley, the focal point of the development was meant to be four south-facing, airy crescents.

The apartments, linked by concrete walkways, were part of the largest public housing project in Europe. Hulme Crescents aimed to accommodate 13,000 people.

The design followed that of the award-winning Park Hill flats in Sheffield where – already – serious problems were starting to emerge.

Steelwork was rusting and concrete was beginning to crumble. Vandalism was rife. It was a worrying prospect that Park Hill was quickly renamed by its residents – they preferred to call it San Quentin!