Manchester was a stone’s throw away from a brave new world of helipads, boulevards, tunnels and moving pavements, according to unrealised plans unearthed by researchers at The University of Manchester and Manchester School of Architecture.
A remarkable collection of architects’ drawings, maps and other exhibits - many of which have never before been seen by the public - will go on show at a special exhibition.
Curated by Martin Dodge and Richard Brook, it is It called Infra_MANC and will take place 27 February to March 23.
The urban motorway, known as the Mancunian Way and completed in 1967, was originally part of 1945 plans for four ring roads and an array of radial ’boulevards’.
The plans would have wiped out large parts of the Victorian city and transformed it into an unrecognisable landscape of highways in the sky.
Plans for a helipad on top of Victoria train station, intended as a hub for inter-city helicopter flights, were published in 1956.
Though the Victoria station idea was quickly dropped, other helipad sites, including Castlefield, Piccadilly Gardens and next to Strangeways Prison, were considered.
A landing site behind Piccadilly station, was championed and investigated for ten years as part of Manchester’s desire to be plugged into what was predicted would become a UK wide helicopter passenger network.
A railway tunnel connecting Piccadilly to Victoria stations, though eventually dropped, was given parliamentary approval in 1972 - with the new stations to be built underground, including one below Albert Square and the Town Hall, along with moving pavements connecting Oxford Road station and Piccadilly Gardens.
Six miles of secret tunnels under Manchester’s China Town were built to protect the city’s vital telephone system against atomic bombs during the cold war.