‘Then and now’ photos of 1940's Manchester prove social media hit

Ollie Plumb
2 min readApr 29, 2021
Michael Sherrington recreates an Ordinance Survey photograph from 1946 at the junction of Pollard Street and Beswick Street.

A history enthusiast has gone viral after recreating Ordinance Survey photographs from 1940’s Manchester.

Michael Sherrington, who works in education, discovered the photographs on the website timepix.uk.

He then decided to search out their locations and take updated pictures - posting the before and after shots to Facebook.

The photos have since gone viral on the platform, racking up hundreds of likes and comments.

Slide the arrow to compare Michael’s recreation with the original photograph. Source: Michael Sherrington and timepix.uk

Michael Sherrington, 31, said: “A mate at work mentioned Timepix to me. We’re both dead interested in history, especially local history around Manchester, and he said ‘have a look at this website’.

“You go on it and you can zoom in on locations. I noticed there was loads of photos around Ancoats and New Islington, because that’s where I live.

“I just started to save the ones around Ancoats and the ones around my house, and I thought ‘you know what would be really cool - if I did that”.

The original photographs, which were taken in 1946 by Ordinance Survey, feature boards highlighting location details and men crouching down holding arrows.

A selection of the locations that Michael Sherrington visited when recreating the 1946 Ordinance Survey photographs

The arrows, which Michael has replicated, were used to point out identifiable objects or locations which could be visited again, called revision points.

Michael said: “In the olden days, before GPS satellite, you had to actually go out and build up a picture manually.

“These blokes with the arrows would point at really specific but boring things that probably no one would notice, but that aren’t going to change. Like a piece of chipped brick on the corner.

“Even with these ones that I’ve done, 75 years later, there are still things that make it obvious what they were pointing at.”

Slide the arrow to compare Michael’s recreation with the original photograph. Source: Michael Sherrington and timepix.uk

After being posted to Facebook, the photos were shared across multiple history groups and pages.

Michael said: “I don’t really post on Facebook, and I haven’t for a long time. Then to post something that goes a bit crazy, it’s like ‘oh God’

“I’m still getting notifications now and its however many days later. All the comments have been really positive

“I’m just pleased that other people enjoy it, that’s all. I’m pleased that someone can go ‘oh my God, I used to live there, that’s really good, thank you so much’. It’s great.”

You can view the original viral facebook post here. Visit timepix.uk to view the original photographs.