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July 13, 2017

The Story Behind the Iconic Photograph of Ena Sharples on a High Rise Balcony in Manchester, 1968

This photo of Ena Sharples, photographed by John C Madden in 1968, looking over the late '60s industrial landscape of Salford, Manchester is iconic. And it is one of the greatest photographs of an English actor.

There were people wondering where the picture was taken. There seems to be a consensus that the building below the smokestack was the old Hyde Brewery and the apartment block in the Moss Side area of Manchester.

In Moss Side, the area near Cornbrook Street had begun its transformation in the early-to-mid 1960s. The first new high rise blocks were named after the old streets they were replacing - Pickford Street, Clifford Street and Grafton Street were commemorated as Pickford Court, Clifford Court and Grafton Court.

And so there in Moss Side, according to Coronation Street's blog, it was that Violet Carson posed as high rise Ena. With the rest of the old neighbourhood still intact and the gloriously industrial-looking Hydes Brewery in the background, this was the ideal setting for Weatherfield, which, as you will recall, succumbed to a few high rise flats, but not many.

The wide, busy road in the Ena photo was Cornbrook Street. And it's absolutely vanished.

But Cornbrook Street still exists - so how could it have vanished? Well, actually, part of Cornbrook Street still exists. It used to continue on the other side of the junction with Chorlton Road and ran up to Moss Lane West.

The part of Cornbrook Street seen below Ena is now parkland and modern housing.

The religious-looking building in the photograph was St Bride's Church of England Primary School, and the street with the replaced roof tiles was Dudley Street.

The chimney pots and brewery on Moss Lane West can be seen in the smoggy distance.

It was a different world!


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