It was always going to be an ambitious project: turning a derelict, depopulated council estate into the best place to live in Manchester. That was, and continues to be, the plan for New Islington, a small area of Ancoats just beyond the city centre.
With a masterplan by Will Alsop, Urban Splash is the lead developer in creating a new destination in the city. See Urban Splash’s website.
Like most other long-term projects, New Islington was hit by the financial crisis in 2008 as developers re-assessed their plans and public agencies re-examined their budgets.
By the time my commission finished in 2010 I had been able to produce two books documenting the progress to date.
In this book of portraits and interviews local residents, from 12 to 90-year-olds, relate their personal experiences of the old Cardroom Estate and talk candidly about their aspirations for the future.
“We wanted to make sure that some of the strength of the community we originally encountered was captured and celebrated and so commissioned Len Grant, Manchester’s documentor of change, to capture some of the characters on film and on tape. The result is this book.”
Nick Johnson, Urban Splash
Published by Len Grant Photography on behalf of The New Islington Client Group in 2004
ISBN: 0 9547281 0 6, £9.95
48 pages, softback
From the Ground Up
From the Ground Up: New Islington 2001-2007, follows the whole process from poring over Will Alsop’s masterplan in the local pub to the first residents moving into their award-winning new homes.
“It’s my dream home,” says one new resident. “It’s bleeding Legoland!” declares a passer-by.
Interviews and comments from architects, local residents, engineers and contractors add to the chronology of imagery that make this book an important record of twenty-first century sustainable regeneration.
Published by Len Grant Photography on behalf of The New Islington Client Group in 2007
ISBN: 978-0-9526720-5-0, £13
120 pages, softback
Available from Cornerhouse