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

Our main image this week shows hundreds of people gathering for an inter-faith service on the steps of the Town Hall during World War II. The date is September 3rd 1942.

A brass band can be glimpsed on the left of the picture with clergy from various denominations outside the Town Hall doorway.

After the dark days of the Manchester Blitz from 1940-41, it was a time when the tide of the war was finally turning. More encouraging news was starting to filter in from Southern Europe and Africa.

The Allies had successfully repelled a second attack against El Alamein in Egypt in August 1942 and were starting to deliver supplies to the besieged island of Malta.

Two months later, Axis forces were driven back in Egypt to begin a drive west across Libya. Anglo-American landings took place in French North Africa.

Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall
Manchester continued to be bombed throughout the war, becoming the target for V-1 flying bombs or Doodlebugs on Christmas Eve 1944. The V-1s were launched from Heinkel bombers flying over the Yorkshire coast.

The V-1s missed Manchester but a stray bomb killed 27 people in Oldham. RAF Mosquitos shot down one of the Heinkels over the North Sea and damaged another so badly that it crash-landed back in Germany.

Our modern image from January 2018 shows the final day of the Town Hall being open to the public before shutting down for its £330 million restoration project.

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester on sale now at £14.99.

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