I was very pleased to find that, despite all the new building there has been in the time since I last went to Manchester, some things are still where they always were - and I could still navigate my way round the town centre. Mind you, even some of those things have changed - Piccadilly Gardens is much bigger than I remember it, with a modern water feature as well as the Victorian statues - and it's criss crossed with tram lines, and with a tram station at one end.
Albert Square, where the Town Hall is, has been pedestrianised. Once it looked like this:
This is what happens when a French Impressionist artist goes to the grim industrial north of England. The painting is by Pierre Adolphe Vallette, who was LS Lowry's tutor.
Now the Square looks like this (taken from the same direction, but further into the Square):
From what my mum has told me about family history, I think that the red brick building in the background was once the Press Club, where my gran worked for a while (they could always tell when she was on duty at nights, she told me, because she put the table cloths out and made sure that everything was served properly, just as it was during the day. The other woman who ran the kitchen at nights never bothered). It's now quite a posh looking restaurant, with traditional local food.
Underneath it was once the Kardomah. I remember being taken there when I was quite small, and being amazed by the Arabian Nights decor of the place. It was down in a basement - which now seems to be a noodle bar.
And just to one side was once B Division Police Station, which I think is now a fish restaurant. I think that might have been where my step-dad was a desk sergeant for a while.