Salford, Greater Manchester Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
The history of Salford
Salford is a city in the Metropolitan Borough of Salford in Greater Manchester. In 2011, Salford had a population of 103,886, Salford is located in a meander of the River Irwell which forms part of its boundary with Manchester. The former County Borough of Salford, which also included Broughton, Pendleton and Kersal, was granted city status in 1926. In 1974 the wider Metropolitan Borough of the City of Salford was established with responsibility for a significantly larger region.
Historically in Lancashire, Salford was the judicial seat of the ancient hundred of Salfordshire. It was granted a charter by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, in about 1230, making Salford a free borough of greater cultural and commercial importance than its neighbour Manchester, although since the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries that position has been reversed.
Salford became major cotton and silk spinning and weaving factory town in the 18th and 19th centuries and an important inland port on the Manchester Ship Canal from 1894. Industries declined in the 20th century, causing economic depression, and Salford became a place of contrasts, with regenerated inner-city areas like Salford Quays next to some of the most socially deprived and violent areas in England.
Salford is home to the University of Salford and has seen several firsts, including the world’s first free public library, and the first street to be lit by gas. Salford’s MediaCityUK became the headquarters of CBBC and BBC Sport in 2011, joined by ITV Granada in 2013.
The earliest known evidence of human activity in what is now Salford is provided by the Neolithic flint arrowheads and workings discovered on Kersal Moor and the River Irwell, suggesting that the area was inhabited 7–10,000 years ago. The raw material for such tools was scarce and unsuitable for working, and as a result, they are not of the quality found elsewhere. Other finds include a neolithic axe-hammer found near Mode Wheel, during the excavation of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1890, and a Bronze Age cremation urn during the construction of a road on the Broughton Hall estate in 1873.
The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now Northern England. With a stronghold at the sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite Salford’s original centre, their territory extended across the fertile lowland by the River Irwell that is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort named Mamucium (Manchester) to protect the routes to Deva Victrix (Chester) and Eboracum (York) from the Brigantes. Salford was founded when the fort was completed in AD 79, and for over 300 years the Pax Romana brought peace to the area. Both the main Roman road to the north, from Mamucium to Ribchester, and a second road to the west, ran through what is now Salford, but few Roman artefacts have been found in the area. The withdrawal of the Romans in AD 410 left the inhabitants at the mercy of the Saxons. The Danes later conquered the area and absorbed what was left of the Brigantes. Angles settled in the region during the Early Middle Ages and gave the locality the name Sealhford, meaning “ford by the willows”. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Sealhford was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria until it was conquered in 923 by Edward the Elder.
Following the emergence of the United Kingdom of England, Salford became a caput or central manor within a broad rural area in part held by the Kings of England, including Edward the Confessor. The area between the rivers Mersey and Ribble was divided into six smaller districts, referred to as “wapentakes”, or hundreds. The southeast district became known as the Hundred of Salford, a division of land administered from Salford for military and judicial purposes. It contained nine large parishes, smaller parts of two others, and the township of Aspull in the parish of Wigan.
After the defeat of Harold II during the Norman conquest of England, William I granted the Hundred of Salford to Roger the Poitevin, and in the Domesday Book of 1086, the Hundred of Salford was recorded as covering an area of 350 square miles (906 km2) with a population of 35,000. Poitevin created the subordinate Manor of Manchester out of the hundred, which has since in local government been separate from Salford. Poitevin forfeited the manor in 1102 when he was defeated in a failed rebellion attempt against Henry I. In around 1115, for their support during the rebellion, Henry I placed the Hundred of Salford under the control of the Earldom of Lancaster, and it is from this exchange that the Hundred of Salford became a royal manor. The Lord of the Manor was either the English monarch or a feudal landowner who administered the manor for the king. During the reign of Henry II, the Royal Manor of Salford passed to Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester.
During the Civil War of 1640–49, Salford supported the Royalist cause, in contrast to Manchester just across the Irwell which declared in favour of the Parliamentarians. Royalist forces mounted a siege of Manchester across what is now the site of Victoria Bridge, which although short-lived, “did little to improve relations between the two towns”. A century later, in 1745, Salford was staunchly in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in his attempt to seize the Throne of England. He entered the town at the head of his army and was blessed by the Reverend John Clayton before leaving “in high spirits” to march on London; he returned to Salford in defeat just nine days later.
Salford has a history of textile processing that pre-dates the Industrial Revolution, and as an old town had been developing for about 700 years. Before the introduction of cotton, there was a considerable trade in woollen goods and fustians. Other cottage industries prevalent at this time included clogging, cobbling, weaving and brewing. The changes to textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on both population and urbanisation, as well as the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of Salford.
The well-established textile processing and trading infrastructure, and the ready supply of water from the River Irwell and its tributaries, attracted entrepreneurs who built cotton mills along the banks of the river in Pendleton and Ordsall. Although Salford followed a similar pattern of industrial development to Manchester, most businesses preferred to build their premises on the Manchester side of the Irwell, and consequently, Salford did not develop as a commercial centre in the same way as its neighbour. Many of these earlier mills had been based on Arkwright-type designs. These relied on strong falls of water, but Salford is on a meander of the Irwell with only a slight gradient and thus mills tended to be built upstream, at Kersal and Pendleton. However, with the introduction of the steam engine in the late 18th century, merchants began to construct mills closer to the centres of Salford and Manchester, where supplies of labour and coal were more readily available (the first steam-powered mill was built in Manchester in 1780). One of the first factories to be built was Philip’s and Lee’s Twist Mill in Salford, completed in 1801, the second iron-framed multi-story building to be erected in Britain. The large Salford Engine Twist Company mill was built to the west of Salford, between Chapel Street and the Irwell, and in 1806 was the first large cotton mill to use gas-lighting. Many engineering companies were established in this area, including Samuel Ellis and Company at the Irwell Foundry. However, it was outnumbered by the numerous smaller factories and mills throughout the area, including Nathan Gough’s steam-driven mule spinning mill, near Oldfield Road, where a serious accident occurred on 13 October 1824 (see illustration).
For centuries, textiles and related trades were the main sources of employment in the town. Bleaching was a widely distributed finishing trade in Salford, carried over from the earlier woollen industry. In the 18th century, before the introduction of chemical bleaching, bleaching fields were commonplace, some very close to the town. In 1773 there were 25 bleachers around Salford, most to the west of the township. Printing was another source of trade; the earliest recorded in the region was a calique printer in the Manchester Parish Register of 1763. These industries became more important as Salford faced increasing competition from the nearby towns of Bolton and Oldham. As its cotton spinning industries faltered its economy turned increasingly to other textiles and to the finishing trades, including rexine and silk dyeing, and fulling and bleaching, at a string of works in Salford.
Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels spent time in Salford, studying the plight of the British working class. In The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Engels described Salford as “really one large working-class quarter … [a] very unhealthy, dirty and dilapidated district which, while other industries were almost always textile-related is situated opposite the ‘Old Church’ of Manchester”.
Salford developed several civic institutions; in 1806, Chapel Street became the first street in the world to be lit by gas (supplied by Phillips and Lee’s cotton mill). In 1850, under the terms of the Museums Act 1845, the municipal borough council established the Royal Museum and Public Library said to have been the first unconditionally free public library in England, preceding the Public Libraries Act 1850.
The effect on Salford of the Industrial Revolution has been described as “phenomenal”. The area expanded from a small market town into a major industrial metropolis; factories replaced cottage industries, and the population rose from 12,000 in 1812 to 70,244 within 30 years. By the end of the 19th century, it had increased to 220,000. Large-scale buildings of low quality Victorian terraced housing did not stop overcrowding, which itself led to chronic social deprivation. The density of housing was as high as 80 homes per acre. Private roads were built for the use of the middle classes moving to the outskirts of Salford. The entrances to such roads, which included Elleray Road in Irlams o’ th’ Height, were often gated and patrolled.
Salford in the modern-day
Salford has suffered from high levels of unemployment, housing, and social problems since around the 1960s, although there are regeneration schemes to reverse its fortunes. Many of the high-rise housing blocks from the 1960s and 1970s were demolished during the 1990s, “a sign that the great social engineering schemes (from that period) had failed”. However, the high-rises that remain are a striking feature of Salford’s landscape. Work was scheduled to begin on the £180 million redevelopments of the Greengate area of Salford in January 2007. The plans include the construction of what will be the two tallest tower blocks in Salford. Plans also include a five-star hotel, a new public square and park, restaurants, cafes and 403 apartments. Work is ongoing to regenerate the area known as Middlewood Locks, with the restored Salford terminus of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal forming the centrepiece of a brand new residential development.
As part of the Pathfinder initiative, Salford was identified in 2002 as one of nine areas in specific need of investment for new homes. Between 2003 and 2006 £115M was invested in the Manchester and City of Salford housing markets, £44M of which was invested in central Salford. Rows of terraces in neighbourhoods such as Seedley and Langworthy – once used for the title sequence of Coronation Street – are being compulsorily purchased, demolished and replaced by “modern sustainable accommodation”. Other schemes such as the Charlestown and Lower Kersal New deal for Communities have concentrated on renovating existing terraced housing stock by block improvement and alleygating, as well as demolishing unsuitable properties and building new facilities, in consultation with the local community.
Salford now has many tourist attractions, such as Ordsall Hall, the Bridgewater Canal and the Lowry Centre, an award-winning theatre and art gallery complex, consisting of two theatres and three art galleries. The centre is named after the artist L. S. Lowry, who attended Salford School of Art and lived in nearby Pendlebury for 40 years. Many of his paintings of Salford and Manchester mill scenes, populated with small matchstick-like figures, are on display.
A notable regeneration project is MediaCityUK, located at Salford Quays. The development houses BBC departments including CBBC, BBC Sport and Radio 5 Live which moved in 2011 and BBC Breakfast, which moved from London in spring 2012.
In recent years, various large residential schemes have been built in Salford. A notable development, the £700m Middlewood Locks began construction in 2016.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Greater Manchester is one of the country’s most successful city regions. Home to more than 2.8 million people and with an economy bigger than that of Wales or Northern Ireland. Our vision is to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old. We’re getting there through a combination of economic growth, and the reform of public services.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils and Mayor, who work with other local services, businesses, communities and other partners to improve the Greater Manchester City Region.
The ten councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) have worked together voluntarily for many years on issues that affect everyone in the region, like transport, regeneration and attracting investment.
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Areas we cover in Salford
Boothstown, Cadishead, Clifton, Eccles, Irlam, Irlam O’ Th’ Height, Little Hulton, Media City UK, Mosley Common, Pendlebury, Salford, Swinton, Wardley, Wardley Industrial Estate, Worsley.
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