A Brief Salford History

When the Casson and Berry Map of Manchester and Salford was published in 1751, Salford was little more than a village on the banks of the River Irwell.  As you can see on the map, one bridge crossed the river in the vicinity of the "Christ Church" in Manchester.  On the Salford side, what is now Chapel Street was called Salford Street and Sacred Trinity Church can be seen amidst fields and a cluster of buildings.

The images above and below are taken from a copy of the Casson & Berry Map held at Chetham's Library and shown here with their permission.

During the Industrial Revolution, Salford like its neighbour Manchester experienced a population explosion.  People moved into the cities to work in the textile industry. 

In the 1840s Friedrich Engels was living and working in Manchester.  Between 1844 and 1845 he wrote his book, "The Condition of the Working Class in England" and in the section of "The Great Towns" he had this to say about Salford,  "If we cross the Irwell to Salford, we find, on a peninsula formed by the river, a town of 80,000 inhabitants, which, properly speaking, is one large working man's quarter, penetrated by a single wide avenue.  Salford, once more important than Manchester, was then the leading town of the surrounding district to which it still gives its name, Salford Hundred.  Hence it is that an old and therefore very unwholesome, dirty, and ruinous locality is to be found here, lying opposite the Old Church of Manchester, and in as bad a condition as the Old Town on the other side of the Irwell."

"All Salford is built in courts or narrow lanes, so narrow that they remind me of the narrowest I have ever seen, the little lanes of Genoa.  .... The narrow side lanes and courts of Chapel Street, Greengate and Gravel Lane have certainly never been cleansed since they were built."

Salford's involvement in this Industrial revolution was further cemented when the Manchester Ship Canal was completed in 1894 and an extensive system of docks were built on the Salford side of the canal.

The same bridges that Engels crossed between the twin cities are still in place carrying the residents of both back and forth daily between work and home.

In 2013 the city of Salford is a very different city.  It covers 37 square miles and is made up of  five districts: Salford, Eccles, Worsley, Irlam and Cadishead, and Swinton and Pendlebury. The Salford Council website adds that, "Some 220,000 people are proud to call Salford their home."  They add that, "Salford is a city constantly changing and moving into an exciting future as a thriving cultural, economic and residential location.  From urban buzz to greenbelt tranquility, Salford is building on the mixture of its waterfront, urban and countryside environments to create places where people want to live, work, invest and visit."

From an administrative point of view Salford is today one of the ten regions within Greater Manchester.