Antiques Bus Trip: Day Six, Manchester City Centre

Antiques and collectables shops from Glossop to Ramsbottom

The sixth part of East of the M60’s series of seven posts for Catch The Bus Week 2016

Northern Quarter
Day Six: Manchester’s Northern Quarter has a good number of secondhand and vintage shops. If you’ve alighted or boarded a 192 or 219 bus more often than is considered healthy, you may be familiar with this place. Image by ReflectedSerendipity, 2015 (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).

There was no prizes for how we got to central Manchester. Well, you could be absolutely blunt and say “bus”. We might have caught one of Europe’s most frequent bus routes.

Stockport – Manchester

  • 192/X92: Stockport [Wellington Road North] – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (via Heaton Chapel, Levenshulme, Longsight) (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 42/42A: Stockport [Bus Station] – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (via Heaton Mersey, Didsbury, Withington, Rusholme) (Stagecoach Manchester; also First Greater Manchester from East Didsbury).

The fastest and most frequent bus to Stockport is the 192 service. One that has had a reputation for being Europe’s most frequent bus service. There is also a limited stop sibling, the X92, which starts from the Hazel Grove Park and Ride facility.

Alternatively, the 42 and 42A offers a slower route out of Stockport. It takes in Heaton Mersey and Didsbury Village. A useful bus if you fancy going to Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens en route to Manchester.

The Northern Quarter


Most of Manchester city centre’s esoteric shops are concentrated around the Northern Quarter. The doyen of all esoterica lies in Affleck’s Palace, a de facto anchor store of the Northern Quarter Shopping Experience. As for eateries, you can either go for fish and chips at Leo’s or The Kingfisher. Or enjoy free cake and coffee at Ziferblat (but pay by the minute for your attendance). Or enjoy a traditional breakfast at the Koffee Pot.

Being as there’s so many shops to choose from, here’s our pick of the best joints.

Affleck’s Palace, Oldham Street/Church Street

No visit to the Northern Quarter is complete without a trip to Affleck’s Palace. With so much to see, Affleck’s Palace should be given a separate entry. There is a wealth of distinctive shops within its four floors. Also cafés. Even a bijou theatre on the ground floor (the Three Minute Theatre). Among its vintage shops include:

  • Beatniks: the sister shop to its Harrogate branch, purveyors of retro clothing;
  • Milner and Webb: a real Aladdin’s Cave of retro clothing and 1970s electrical goods. Probably one of the few places, excluding charity shops, where you could buy a tank top and a music centre;
  • Soho’s: retro clothing with leanings toward 1950s styles;
  • American Graffiti: named after the 1973 rock ‘n’ roll film, this erstwhile enterprise specialises in vintage, retro and fancy dress clothing;
  • Zeffa: the longest standing tenant at Affleck’s Palace, with a wealth of ’50s to ’70s clothing – even 1950s Levis jeans.
  • Vinyl Resting Place: pretty obvious. A record shop that sells secondhand LPs, cassettes and CDs.

Vinyl Exchange, Oldham Street

One of Manchester’s longest serving secondhand record shops, it opened in 1988. It is situated on two floors: ground floor and basement. They used to have a second shop on Bridge Street, west of Deansgate.

The Real Camera Company Limited, Dale Street

If you’re looking for a fantastic analogue camera (or a digital one even!), Jem Klime’s business is the best place in central Manchester. Not only for Kodak Brownie Box Cameras, but also screw-mount and bayonet-mount Leica rangefinders. Plus a wealth of accessories and a good selection of books.

The Empire Exchange, Newton Street

When you get off the 219 or walk towards the 201 stand at Piccadilly Gardens, The Empire Exchange’s basement unit is hard to miss. On taking the stairs, you are treated to a head rush of secondhand books, LPs, model cars, and other nick-nacks. There is also an adult section. As well as Debbie Does Droylsden (don’t worry, this film doesn’t exist), there is a wealth of football programmes and film cameras.

Next up…

For the last part of the seven day trip to Greater Manchester’s antique and collectable shops, we take two buses from the centre of Manchester. All will be revealed tomorrow for our concluding part.

S.V., 09 July 2016


One thought on “Antiques Bus Trip: Day Six, Manchester City Centre

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  1. You’re slipping, Stuart. The 42 does indeed link Stockport to Piccadilly via Fletcher Moss (and the MRI/University corridor). However, the 42A is a peak hour variation of the 84, which run from North Reddish (Bulls Head, as was) via Broadstone Mill (!) and the Heatons, which is the nearest it gets to Stockport town centre. There is also the 203 between the two, but you are probably right to play its existence down, due to its poor punctuality and tendency to overload. Both these phenomena are much more likely at the Stockport end (especially off-peak) btw. Not only is the 203 Bus Guide sometimes found in the Fiction section of libraries (the ones that have escaped Local Authority cut backs that is), but the extract which shows the 0933 journey from Manchester on Sundays and public holidays is sometimes removed to place under the heading “Pure Fantasy”.
    One other minor point, the X92 only runs in the rush hour and “with flow”


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