Basically a part of Manchester (uh oh, I really shouldn’t say that), Salford is still the big unknown to me. Even after living here for 2 years, I only ever managed to cross the bridge once*, have a wander around the Adelphi campus, and then escape back to Manchester straight away. I was quite looking forward to spending a day in “the other city” last Sunday, when several Mancunian promoters were hosting the “Sounds from the other city” festival (which was pretty awesome by the way – I’ve written a more detailed review on bunmagazine.tumblr.com)
As soon as I had crossed the bridge and left the hot pink sign screaming “Welcome – you are now IN Salford” behind me, I was greated by one of the members of society who regard tracksuit bottoms as suitable for wearing outside a gym (Please note: They’re not.), smiling at me with his teethless mouth, then shouting at his son who was wearing matching trackies. Welcome indeed.
Walking down Chapel Street was a rather sad experience: Almost every other building, presumably former pubs, on this road is empty, boarded up and crumbling. What a shame, given it is so close to the city centre and could act as an extension to Market Street, with the Northern Quarter on the upper end of the street. It almost feels like Chapel Street was intentionally left deserted to avoid any kind of confusion with Manchester – a clear cut between the centre and Salford, constituted by a no-man’s-land devoid of function (okay, it’s not that bad, but there really isn’t much on that road).
There seems to be an ambitious regeneration (let’s hope it is more ambitious than the website…) project going on (Spinningfields 2 anyone?), and with events like the Sounds from the other city festival the usual Mancunian crowd takes notice of the existence of their neighbour at last – but there is still a lot of work to be done to make this area of Salford not only a place you could easily go to, but also one you would want to.
Looking down Chapel Street towards Manchester (Jenga-like Courts of justice on the right)
Islington Mill. Former cotton mill, fantastic gig venue and artist space. There’s always something happening and it’s usually quite loud.
* Not incuding the trips to the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North, but that doesn’t necessarily count as seeing anything of Salford itself.