Ancoats was considered the hub of the industrial revolution and for years it was a thriving community. From the 1930’s onwards it suffered economic decline and then depopulation in the years after the Second World War, particularly during the slum clearances of the 1960s. Since the 1990s Ancoats' industrial heritage has been recognised and its proximity to the city centre has led to substantial regeneration.
Aitchison’s photograph manages to capture this turbulent past, a fatigued present and also the promise of a future for Ancoats. The menacing clouds remind us that this future is just a promise and that that there are uncertain times ahead. The flattened composition encourages us to be pushed back from the work and thus to observe the image as a whole. This enables one to be reflective and perhaps to ask ourselves what we could do to help.