Salford Town Hall - Bexley Square

Richard Lane was the architect of the old Salford Town Hall, that was built between 1825 and 1827. 

It sits in Bexley Square just off Chapel Street.  The purple arrow on the map below shows its location.

It was originally built as a Market Hall, a fact revealed by the information on the map below.  It is my version of one drawn in 1849 by which time it was indeed the Town Hall but around it were East & West Market Streets and The Market House Tavern.

This was Lane's first major commission and he went on to design other buildings in Manchester that were variations on a theme, as you can see below.  The wreath motif that he had used on Salford Town Hall was repeated again in Chorlton-on-Medlock.  Lane was responsible for the facade and first bay of the Salford building.  Borough engineers were responsible for the rest.

As you can see from the 1849 map the building was home to the business of the Town Hall but also included a police station, fire station and a court house.  Today the business of the City of Salford is conducted in the Civic Centre on Chorley Road, in Swinton.  The old Town Hall was used as a Magistrates Court for many years but in December 2010 an article appeared in the Salford Advertiser that spoke to its future. 

"A campaign to save Salford magistrates courts from closure has failed. The government has announced the Bexley Square building will shut under its budget cuts.  The plan to close it was condemned earlier this year by a union leader as an ‘outrageous attack on the citizens of Salford and our justice system’.  But yesterday in the House Of Commons parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Ministry Of Justice, Jonathan Djanogly, justified its closure by saying it was only ‘1,000 paces’ from the modern Manchester magistrates court.  The ageing Salford landmark was to be replaced by a new £20m justice centre in Eccles.  But those plans were shelved this year by the then justice secretary Jack Straw because of the economic climate. The Grade II-listed courts are in urgent need of modernisation. Parts of the building, formerly Salford Town Hall, date from 1825."


More View of the building

Above & Below - Ford Street


Above and Below - Browning Street


Above and Below - East Market Street

Note:  The building doesn't curve like it appears to above - it's a trick of the camera.

Bexley Square was the site of a major confrontation on October 1st 1931.  A protest march organized by the Salford Branch of the National Unemployed Workers Movement turned to violent chaos when the estimated 10,000 marchers were confronted by police on foot and on horses in the square.  The incident is commemorated by a plaque on the front of the town hall.  The website has an account of the events reported by Wilf Grey, one of the participants in the march.  " Orders passed. Mounted Police appeared at the trot, and, on a sudden, a swarm of plain-clothes men descended from nowhere and began to snatch the placards from the hands of the demonstrators, flinging them to the ground and trampling them underfoot.  All around was a crush of shouting, bellowing, screaming, angry and bewildered men and women. They were pushing, pulling, trying to avoid the swinging batons of the police and the terrifying hooves of the horses. Some desperately tried to shove their way out of the ambush while others pushed forward.  A note of fierce hatred, deep and vengeful was heard as the marchers broke through the barricades. Alex Armstrong passed by holding his large brass bell above his head like a Town Crier. There was a lull for a few moments and then, from behind the Town Hall dozens of mounted police suddenly appeared followed by foot police brandishing their clubs. They charged and the first engagement was fierce. But when the police tasted blood, they started lashing out at anyone in their path."