Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows – II

This photograph was taken along the Rochdale Canal in 1981.  The journey through Manchester forms part of the Cheshire Ring and this section was always ‘interesting’. An excess of water coming down the flight would cascade over the back gates filling the lock almost as quickly you tried to empty it – descending was a slow process. In confined spaces there were short lock beams operated on rusted chains by a windlass, smooth and easy it was not.  On top of that there were just too many disreputable characters lurking in the shadows, some quite keen to lend a hand 😦 . This stretch of canal has changed utterly in the intervening years but the excess of water, laborious locks and ‘helpful’ characters remain:

Broken English Windows

This second image shows where these broken English windows once looked out. The iconic Refuge Assurance Building can be seen in the background with the time frozen at 11:25. The puddles along the towpath are not from rain but from the canal overflowing – the natural flow of water down the canal combined with emptying locks is more than some of the pounds could cope with.  I have been down this stretch three times (1977, 1981 and 2008) and there was never a dull moment.

The Rochdale

The photographs were taken with a Mamiyaflex C330F Twin Lens Reflex – the scans are from the printed images, scanning 120 Roll film being just too tortuous.


  1. Malin H · January 17, 2014

    I like these two very much, and I can understand why you never had a dull moment there.

    • northumbrianlight · January 17, 2014

      Thanks Malin – it may have been a ‘dirty old town’ but I prefer it the way it was.

  2. suej · January 17, 2014

    Love that first image, my kind of thing!

    • northumbrianlight · January 17, 2014

      Thanks Sue – I was always quite fond of that image and re-scanning/re-processing has given me the opportunity to meddle some more with it. Much easier to do than in the darkroom where the original was produced.

      • suej · January 17, 2014

        Yes, digital has some benefits for sure! I’ve been pleased with what I have been able to do with some of my old film images scanned in and ‘meddled with’!

  3. meticulousmick · January 17, 2014

    Love the first image of the old building, somehow the smashed windows makes me reflect on the history and pity of it all even more. MM 🍀

    • northumbrianlight · January 17, 2014

      Thanks Mick – for me it represents the end of an era – the soot-blackened buildings, the un-developed bomb sites and winter smogs that I grew up with were fast disappearing by the time this was taken.

  4. littledogslaughed · January 17, 2014

    Wow-I Love that top image-the b/w tones really evoke a sense of loss and time-and I love the angle-excellent work!

    • northumbrianlight · January 18, 2014

      Many thanks, I enjoyed revisiting that one – the reprocessed version is definitely an improvement on the printed original.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Window | Joe's Musings

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