Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/62

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40
THE TOWN EXTENSION PLAN

Authority since the year 1795, when, as the City Surveyor, Mr, Mead, recently described it, "the open country was within a few minutes' walk from any part of the town. The inhabitants had the green fields and rural lanes of Hulme, Strangeways, and Ancoats almost at their doors," and, as you will see from a map of the period, kindly lent by Mr. Mead, Manchester consisted of a little town lying between the Cathedral and the present Town Hall; there were hardly any buildings North and West of the Cathedral, and the town had not at any point reached the river Medlock. If at that time a plan for the growth of the city had been laid down, preserving some of the beautiful valleys along the water courses as permanent open spaces, providing for main radial roads leading out in different directions and allotting definite areas for manufacturing purposes, what a different place Manchester might now have been! Even the fine, straight Deansgate which figures on the old plan has not been carried forward, and anyone wanting to travel further in that direction must dodge about round corners and up side streets before he can again reach anything like a through road. Since that date Manchester has grown almost beyond recognition. The different periods of the enlargement of its boundaries are shown by the different colours and dates on the slide. Very much has been done, of course, to improve Manchester both before and since the able survey of the city conditions made by the Citizens Association in 1904. From their plan the enormous growth which has taken place may be judged, and the haphazard development of the streets and the overcrowding of