I knew Market St and the city centre in the late 40s and 1950s, long before Arndales. I never went to any clubs - relied on the university students' union for jazz and pop, which had a reciprocal arrangement with the university I was at. Tjere was a used record shop called Mazel Records sort of the Ardwick side of the main Road near London Rd. Station (Picadilly? Nah, it were London Road and Mayfield stations, together with Central, Exchange and Victoria, and Oxford Rd. for trains to Old Trafford cricket ground.) Affleck & Brown was posh, then the slowly developing Picadilly Gardens, before the big hotel went up, and Lewis's, of course, and a good selection of clothes shops, cafes, and general sorts of shops down to Cross Street. There was a large tract of grass opposite Cross St. and behing the Shambles, so if you stood there, at the end of Cross St., you could see the Cathedral rigt in front of you, and all the way to Victoria Station (where we used to buy Health & Efficiency from the bookstall, and Spic and Span). Down behind Exchange Station was the Salford bus station (green buses as opposed to the red and cream Crossleys and Leylands of M/CR Corporation.)
Kendal Milnes was fun, going under Deansgate from the old shop to the new one. Parking was free and plentiful in St. Anne's Square and on Deansgate, and there were several Kardomah cafes for excellent coffee and cakes. Boots Library on St. Anne's Square, opposite the Kardomah, which my Dad used. Arwich Green was a bomb-site when I arrived, but was soon turned into grass, all the way from where the Hippodrome was (where Hyde Rd. met Stockport Road) down to close to London Road station. So much more. But this must seem prehistoric so I'll belt up. I've spent hundreds of hours of my life in the Central Library and in the Library Theatre underneath. Having books brought to you, as in the British Museum library, was magic when you were swotting for A and S level GCEs. The Cathedral and Town Hall and all the buildings in town were coal black. Sand-blasting didn't start until much later. I remember the creation of the first "smoke free zone" and having to swap coal for anthracite.