Moving pavements and underground tunnels: Final day to see futuristic plans for Manchester at Infra_MANC exhibition

By Hannah Hulme

Helipads, moving pavements and underground tunnels are among the ambitious features architects had in mind for the future of Manchester.

Tomorrow is the last chance for visitors to catch the Infra_MANC exhibition at the Cube gallery on Portland Street.

University of Manchester researchers unearthed architectural drawings, plans and map designs for the city, many of which had never before been seen by the public.

Richard Brook, from the Manchester School of Architecture, said: “Our exhibition reveals that Manchester could have been a very different place from the city we know today.

“Many of the proposals show the planers of the time had great foresight, vision and optimism.”

The exhibition shows how, if plans from 1945 had been carried out, large parts of the city’s Victorian buildings would have been demolished to make way for a futuristic landscape of elevated ring roads to be called the Mancunian Way.

A visitor to the exhibition, Julie Cochran, said: “It was really interesting. The Mancunian Way would have been as old as we are- I’m glad they kept the Victorian architecture though.”

ALTERNATIVE FUTURE: Plans for an underground system in Manchester

The 1956 designs for a proposed helipad to be placed on top of Victoria train station, intended to be the hub of inter-city helicopter flights, are also explained by the exhibition.

Additionally visitors can see plans for the abandoned ‘Picc-Vic’ underground train-line and the series of secret tunnels built during the Cold War to protect the city’s vital telephone system against atomic bombs.

Gallery worker, Richard Taylor, 19, said the exhibition has been one of the most popular the Cube has ever seen. 

Flicking through the comments book, it is clear that it has received some very positive from visitors.

One visitor wrote: “Thank you. This exhibition has brought back memories from the 60s and 70s for me. Really interesting to see how Manchester could have looked.”

More information about the exhibit and the gallery’s opening times can be found at:

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