Cross over the River Irwell, and you’ll find yourself in another city entirely – Salford. You’ll barely feel the transition, though; despite locals who are fierce about the fact that Salford is a city in its own right, it’s only separated from Manchester by the width of the river, distance-wise. Which is not to say that you won’t see differences between the two.
Gritty urban realism has been this city’s stock in trade since L.S. Lowry painted his very first matchstick man. Some will have read about it in Love on the Dole. Some will have seen it depicted in kitchen sink dramas or Corrie. And others will forever associate the city with John Cooper Clarke rasping his way through ‘Evidently Chickentown’, or the dystopian anthems of Joy Division.
Now, however, Salford has an up-and-coming feel; the Chapel Street area of the city, the focus of an ongoing regeneration project, is home to a creative community including Hot Bed Press and over 100 artists and 50 innovative businesses at Islington Mill. If you’re visiting around May, look out for the highlight of Salford’s strong music scene, Sounds from the Other City festival, which brings an incendiary mix of live bands, literary readings and art hi-jinks to an eclectic selection of venues.
The Council-run Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a friendly city museum with special appeal to families, and the nearby Working Class Movement Library provides a fascinating look at the past. The personal collection of labour historians Ruth and Edmund Frow, it’s a veritable treasure trove of material dating back to the 1760s. Ordsall Hall, the city’s beautifully restored (and supposedly haunted) Tudor mansion, has a busy programme of events and activities all year round, including events as part of horror film festival Grimmfest.
Salford inspires fierce loyalty among its inhabitants. Spend any significant period of time here, and you may begin to understand why.
An intimate and magical pop-up theatre comes to Salford this September: Roundabout promises top-class writing and a unique theatrical experience.
Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.
With Medieval paintwork and a fascinating history, Ordsall Hall gives us a glimpse into how society has changed over the centuries. Explore Salford’s oldest building every Sunday from 2pm with a guided tour of the House and Gardens.
Everything I Have Is Yours at Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a major new moving image and sound artwork exploring the first decade of the UK charts.
Every Thursday join some of Manchester’s freshest players, for Jazz at the Deli Llama, a cosy deli on a corner in Salford that comes alive with vibes.
New Found Land is a solo exhibition of new work by Anna Gonzalez Noguchi, running throughout all three of the exhibition spaces at Caustic Coastal in Salford.