In the 1950s and 1960s south Lancashire and Cheshire was criss-crossed by a web of railway lines, servicing the various needs of local industries. The region was a haven for railway enthusiasts who pursued the hundreds of steam workhorses based at British Railways depots in ‘chemical towns’ such as Warrington, Widnes, Wigan and Sutton Oak, besides Southport and Northwich. While these facilities appeared less glamorous than larger counterparts in Liverpool or Manchester, the stories of the engines, trains and the men who were based at the depots in these towns was no less fascinating. Shed Side in South Lancashire and Cheshire provides a fascinating portrait of the daily operations of the freight and passenger trains of the region during the final decade of Britain’s steam era. It evokes a period of grimy, metal-clattering, smoke-filled industry, and of an era forever etched in our industrial heritage.
The great industrial cities of Manchester and Liverpool dominate the southern band of Lancashire. Manchester's buildings range from its little-known medieval cathedral, housing some of the finest medieval wood carving in England, to imposing factories and civic and commercial monuments, among which Waterhouse's great Gothic Town Hall is the supreme example. Liverpool's two famous twentieth-century cathedrals watch over a no less proud city, whose distinctive mixture of toughness and display appear variously at the early Victorian Albert Dock, its sumptuous contemporary St George's Hall, and the great commercial parade alongside the Mersey. Towns such as Bury and Rochdale, showing the same civic endeavour on a smaller scale, stud a landscape that rises into dramatic moorland country to the east.