Salford thrived with its silk spinning and weaving industry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Much of the town’s development was as a result of these industries. However, textile manufactories broadly declined into the twentieth century, and this resulted in economic hardship in parts of the town.
However, Salford has enjoyed extensive redevelopment in the last few decades. This includes a great deal of investment in housing. Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal was crucial during the Golden Age of Canal Building (1791-1808). The Salford terminus provided greater economic opportunities. Although it is now disused, it is to form the centrepiece of a new residential development.
Salford’s industrial heritage naturally means it has a strong offer for tourists. But it is also rich in cultural heritage. The seminal painter L.S. Lowry attended Salford School of Art. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Lowry Centre in 2000. The centre consists of an art gallery and the Lyric Theatre. Outside of London’s West End, it is the largest theatre in the country. The Lowry’s annual Week 53 Festival showcases a diverse and contemporary programme.
The town is also becoming a major centre of UK media production. BBC departments including CBBC, BBC Sport and Radio 5 Live have moved to Salford.
Salford also has thriving musical heritage. Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook (of New Order and Joy Division) are both from here. An iconic photograph of indie pop band The Smiths was taken outside Salford Lads Club.
The Working Class Movement Library contains fascinating insight into over two centuries of political organisation by working men and women. The permanent displays also give insight into what it was like for people campaigning for social change. There are stories from Peterloo, the Suffragettes, World War One conscientious objectors and even local volunteers who fought in the 1930s Spanish Civil War! And, even better, Admission is free.