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.
Bringing the magic of live performance to Salford, there are four brand-new works playing at the Paines Plough Roundabout this autumn.
With a soulful musical score and a jaw-droppingly talented cast, this moving musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning novel should definitely be on your radar.
An unmissable ten days of luminary adventures. Interact with boundary-breaking new commissions, create your own digital masterpieces and take a selfie with a Dalek. Yep, really.
Celebrating 10 years since it first premiered at Sadlers Wells, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty reawakes in 2022.
Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents a ‘homecoming’ exhibition – the first major solo show in the North by the Salford-based, internationally renowned artist Rachel Goodyear.