Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

This week our main image shows a young Winston Churchill addressing a massed crowd at the Old Shambles in Manchester. The date is April 1908.

Churchill is speaking from the roof of a parked car while a spectator behind him has precariously shinned up a lamp-post!

The future war leader was 34 at the time and a rising star in Herbert Asquith’s Liberal party. He had just been made President of the Board of Trade in an April Cabinet reshuffle.

Churchill became the MP for Manchester North West in January 1906, but lost the seat to the Conservative candidate by 429 votes when he stood for re-election in April 1908.

The lifting of the Old Shambles in the centre of Manchester begins with a lift of about half an inch. The front of the old building showing the large reinforced concrete supports built under the structure. 22nd July 1971.

At that time, newly appointed Cabinet ministers were legally obliged to seek re-election at a by-election. Churchill was not away from Westminster for long as he won the safe seat of Dundee a month later.

Our second image dates not from 2020, but from July 1971 when the historic Old Shambles buildings had to be lifted as part of the new Arndale redevelopment scheme.

The Tudor structures needed to be raised five feet or risk being bulldozed.

To achieve the engineering feat, concrete was poured into a massive underpinning layer to create a new foundation. Reinforced concrete pillars were then inserted to support the Shambles’ weight of 470 tons.

Powerful hydraulic jacks were used to raise the buildings to the required height.

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester published to mark the 150th anniversary of the M.E.N.

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