Manchester on Lockdown: What Rush Hour Looks Like Now

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Unprecedented. Unexpected. Unbelievable. Nobody really knows how to describe this global situation, but these are some of the words in heavy rotation right now. And it's all of those things. We've been hit by these life-changing circumstances, and we've all been affected in one way or another. Our beloved City Centre is largely abandoned. Shops, bars and restaurants are all closed with signs on their doors, or even boarded up altogether.

Whilst we're in hiding or doing our bit to keep the country going, and generally just riding it out, I've got to admit, this unprecedented sunshine is helping to make this whole thing a bit more bearable. I know we'd all rather be sat outside in Castlefield by the canals or in the beer garden at Dukes92, but at least we can currently take our daily exercise allowance outside without any of the typical Manchester rain.

I opted for a short sunny walk into and around the City Centre, to make the most of the sunshine, armed with my camera (and a face mask. Safety first.). I was curious to see the place on lockdown. I arrived around 5pm, which would obviously be manic normally. The streets were quiet; just a few people milling about and passing through. It was kind of strangely magical yet poignant and sombre to see our well-loved sights so beautifully lit in the sun, and yet so deserted. You know it's bad when us sun-starved Mancs aren't out there en masse soaking up that vitamin D.

Entering the City Centre on Rochdale Road towards Shudehill. Peak rush hour time normally sees queues of cars and buses, but now just a handful of pedestrians and vehicles peacefully pass each other. 

An empty Edge Street.

Oldham Street is normally bustling at this time of day.

A sunny day like this would typically see hundreds of people enjoying the outdoor seating outside the Corn Exchange, Exchange Square and The Shambles. 

A very tranquil scene in St. Anne's Square.

Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street still had a few people walking around, but this shot of High Street shows how uncharacteristically quiet this part of town is.

Usually a playground for skaters, racing past and narrowly avoiding passing commuters, this spot outside Cheetham's School of Music looked beautiful and serene in the sunshine.

The deserted view from Shudehill across the tram tracks up High Street.

The Northern Quarter. Everyone's favourite independent shops, cafes and bars will need our support after this is over.

A very sober Stephenson Square.

A neglected New Cathedral Street.

The tranquil tram stop at Exchange Square.

 

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