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.

Our main image this week shows staff switching on the splendid Christmas tree at Manchester Victoria station in December 1951.

Spectators at the event said the tree brightened up the whole building in the austere years after World War II. The station itself was bombed during the Christmas Blitz of December 1940.

Performing the ceremony, in front of the station noticeboard, was District Passengers Superintendent Mr R.C. Flowerdew. He’s standing proudly to the right of the picture.

Construction work on Manchester Victoria started in 1842. The official opening came on New Year’s Day 1842 when the Manchester and Leeds Railway built an extension line from Miles Platting to the Hunts Bank site.

The station’s name celebrated the monarch of the day.

The flying scotsman passing through Manchester Victoria
victoria station xmas tree
Manchester Victoria was expanded to 17 platforms in 1904 and the current main façade, designed by William Dawes, was built in 1909.

The parcels office and the roof over four platforms were damaged by Luftwaffe bombs in World War II. The office was rebuilt, but the platforms were left open.

Our modern image, from September 2016, reflects another happy occasion for the station. It shows the Flying Scotsman passing through – much to the delight of waiting steam enthusiasts.

Built in 1923 for the London to Edinburgh east coast route, the Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to reach 100 miles per hour in November 1934.

It also achieved the longest non-stop run for a steam locomotive when it ran for 422 miles in Australia in August 1989.

*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.

It’s on sale at £14.99 including postage and packing. Order your copy online at inostalgia.co.uk or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.