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Great Days Out
Great Days Out
Castlefield Guide

(£) Castlefield For Free
 by Jonathan Schofield


The range of buildings on the other side of Liverpool Road from the Visitors Centre form the Museum of Science of Industry - more about this institution later. To the right at the bottom end of the street you can view one of the world's most significant buildings ( the author of this report makes no apology for this grand statement). The building is the oldest station in the world, the Liverpool Road Station of 1830. There had been earlier railways but this system of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company had just about everything we would recognise in the modern network; locomotives, two tracks, timetables and proper stations. The world's press attended the opening or showed up shortly after and spread the idea of the railways around the world. Soon mass transport was established as all classes of people found they could afford to travel beyond their places of work and residence. Railway Viaducts At Liverpool Road passengers entered via the two entrances, the first class ones through the posher and bigger door with the pilasters further down the hill. The handsome brick house on the corner adjoining the station was built earlier than 1830 but was adapted as the Station Agent's residence. If you wonder why the buildings look like a terrace of houses remember that when you are building the first station you don't really have any idea what they should look like. You can only view the station from the inside by paying the entrance into the museum- see above.Retrace your steps back to the canal basin. There are weekend excursions up the Bridgewater Canal to the Old Trafford and Salford Quays areas here.

View by the Canal Walk straight on under the first railway viaduct and head for the small black and white bridge under the vast iron railway viaducts. You may want to keep a look out for the enjoyable Navvies Dinner sculpture on the way. Pause whilst crossing the smaller bridge and look up. The magnificent structures above were constructed between 1877 and 1898 by Sacre, Johnson and Johnstone as rail access to the Central Station (now GMEX). These strutting cast iron monuments to an age which believed in nothing but the unwavering line of progress and the justness of Britain's industrial and imperial might represent the climax architecture of the whole Castlefield area. To introduce bathos you can now buy the one closest to the Outdoor Arena for £1 - but you have to maintain it which will cost a little more.

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