Gaythorn, Medlock Street Car Park

“In a rather deep hole, in a curve of the Medlock and surrounded on all four sides by tall factories and high embankments, covered with buildings, stand two groups of about 200 cottages in which live about 4,000 human beings, most of them Irish. The cottages are old, dirty, and of the smallest sort, the streets uneven, fallen into ruts and in part without drains or pavement; masses of refuse, offal and sickening filth lie among standing pools in all directions…”

Friedrich Engels’s account of 1840s Gaythorn area of Manchester, as depicted in The Condition of the Working Class in England.

After some uncertainty as to how to choose my drifters research area, I have taken the Gaythorn car parks (Medlock Street car park and car park D) as a psychogeographic starting point. These rough and battered patches of land are going to provide the locus from which I will orientate out. I will pursue radial explorations around the area, returning to Gaythorn car parks as a home base.

Using Andrew Taylor’s excellent map of Manchester I have isolated an area I am calling the ‘Medlock Corridor’:

Medlock Corridor1(72)

Medlock Corridor (central section). Map © Andrew Taylor 2011

This initial local drift took place on a frosty day and concerned the main two car parks:

I noticed the Salvation Army / Social Services Centre was looking a bit worse for wear. The Sally Army Crest was vandalised. I went in to ask the receptionist what was happening. She informed me that the place was closing down on the 12th December. She put me in touch with Nigel Yates, the Centre manager, who was positive in my request to take some interior photos before the place is demolished. See further blog for results of this.

Drift pattern:

1) Circulation of Medlock Street Car Park

2) SSC Salvation Army / Lifehouse, Wilmott Strett.  Outside and visit inside.

3) Circulation of Car Park D




  1. Susan O'Brien says:

    Came across your blog searching for my ancestral home in Medlock Street. I was born and brought up here between 1951 and 1962 when we were re-housed as part of the slum clearance of Hulme. My Dad ran the sub-post office in Medlock Street, as had his father before him. Strange though it seems to others, I loved being brought up here: it was my patch and it was exciting. I could walk to the centre of town, play on the slot machines in the arcade, spend all Saturday in the cinema watching the films as many times as I wanted, drift along to Manchester University museum and stare at the Egyptian mummies, or go to Woolies and then have pie and gravy at Granelli’s. From my bedroom window I could watch old women from the Salvation Army dwellings wheel a pram full of empties along to the ‘offy’ at the Globe Pub opposite; and slightly more frighteningly see meths drinkers on the ‘croft’ outside our house. The immediate area had few residents but many characters: it was dominated by the Dunlop’s Rubber Company with its strong smells and coal heaps, and by the bustle of workers in factories and workshops all around.

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