A new collection of archive photographs reveals a fascinating glimpse into Manchester's proud past.

Steeped in history, the online compilation spans two centuries from 1860 to 1970, and captures everyday life across the city region.

Manchester at the turn of the 19th century was growing rapidly into an industrial powerhouse.

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The black and white images - from the Francis Frith Collection - show horse-drawn carriages in a bustling Albert Square.

Deansgate is captured 129 years ago in 1892 and cloth-capped boys run a food stall on wheels in Piccadilly Gardens five years earlier.

Boys at a food stall, Piccadilly Gardens, 1897

The grandeur of Manchester Royal Infirmary is shown in 1885 and in Salford, men stand outside the 'Ye Olde Thatche' shop on Church Street, Eccles - which advertises 'real original Eccles cakes', tobacco, herb beer and cigars - in 1900.

In Stockport, men at work at the Battersby Hat Works in Offerton circa 1910 are revealed.

Meanwhile, Market Street in Manchester may look different today but in 1889, the daily hustle and bustle is still clearly evident.

Family history website Findmypast's new online archive features more than 300,000 historical photographs covering more than 9,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK in partnership with the Francis Frith Collection.

St Ann's Square, 1885

It includes more than 2,000 images of Manchester and Greater Manchester alone.

Available to search online, the collection forms a valuable photographic record of life in Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century Britain.

Battersby Hat Works, Offerton, Stockport, 1910

The resources captures thousands of individual streets, landmarks, landscapes, businesses, buildings and locations that would have played a defining role in people's lives.

Each search result also details the image's date, original description and location, including the latitude and longitude allowing for easy identification on Google maps.

Significant national and local events - ranging from Royal Jubilees to village fetes - are captured.

Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1885

Frith, born into a Quaker family in 1822 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, became a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853 - just 14 years after the invention of photography.

He founded his own photographic publishing company in 1860 with the aim of creating accurate and truthful depictions of as many cities, towns and villages as possible.

A tram in Manchester, 1900

Copies of Frith’s photographs proved immensely popular with the general public.

Thanks to the rapid expansion of the Victorian railway system, Britons were now travelling in greater numbers than ever before, fuelling a huge demand for photographic souvenirs.

Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition Station

To meet demand, Frith employed a team of company photographers who were trained to capture images of the highest quality according to his strict specifications.

By the 1870s, the market for Frith & Co's products was huge, especially after Bank Holidays and half-day Saturdays were made obligatory by Act of Parliament in 1871.

Cromwell statue, Manchester, 1889

By 1890, he had succeeded in creating the first specialist photographic publishing company in the world, with over 2,000 retail stockists.

The collection includes an image of the Manchester birthplace of former Prime Minister Lloyd George - 5 New York Place.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, 1885

That image is dated 1910, before he took office.

Paul Nixon, head of UK data licensing at Findmypast, said: "One of the many joys of the Francis Frith collection is seeing how our villages, towns and cities have evolved over time.

Ye Olde Thatche, Church Street, Eccles, 1900

"I was amazed to see that the busy road close to where I live was little more than a muddy track less than a hundred years ago.

"Seeing these images adds real context to the lives our ancestors lived.

John Buck, managing director of The Francis Frith Collection, added: "Francis Frith's legacy to us is a national photographic archive without equal.

Piccadilly, 1889

"It is a remarkable and unique photographic record of Britain over 110 years of change that is also a wonderful resource for local and social historians as well as genealogists or anyone compiling their family history.

Birthplace of former PM, Lloyd George, 1910

"The Frith images also make a great talking point for young and old, as many older people love looking at our images online and sharing their memories of these places with the younger generation.

"During his lifetime Francis Frith himself had a steadfast belief in making photographs available to the greatest number of people, and we are delighted that the wonderful selection of nostalgic historical photographs in The Francis Frith Collection will now be seen and enjoyed by people all over the world."

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