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Salford Firsts

by Emma Rodgers

First gas streetlight

1806 - The Philips and Lee factory and a portion of Chapel Street boasted the first use of street gas lighting in the world.

Harold Riley

Harold Riley was born in 1934 in Salford and attended Salford Grammar School and won a scholarship in 1951 to attend the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London.

Votes for Women

Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for around 40 years to win women the right to vote. She died at her home in London on 14th June 1928, just weeks before Parliament gave women voting rights on par with those of their male counterparts on 2nd July 1928.

River Irwell

The earliest known evidence of human activity in the form of Neolithic flint arrow-heads were found in what we now call Salford.

L.S. Lowry

Many of his drawings and paintings depict Pendlebury , Salford where he lived and worked for over 40 years.He painted the view of Trinity and The Flat Iron from Chapel Street in 1925 and this is now one of the only views of the city that has remained unchanged.

Robert Powell

Robert Powell was born 1st June 1944 in Salford. An actor best known for the title role in 'Mahler' and 'Jesus of Nazareth'. He also played Richard Hannay in 'The 39 Steps'.

James William Gibson

The man credited with saving Manchester United from financial ruin.

Caxton Hall

Built in 1907 and named after William Caxton, inventor of the printing press.

Inspiration for the sculpture

Salford has long been an innovative and inspirational city with its wealth of history and world firsts. Rodgers uses the horse to embody Salford's relationship with the first horse drawn bus service; the underground colliery and canal systems; and the first horse drawn tramway.

Mike Leigh

"The Rialto Cinema, Higher Broughton - my glorious alma mater!"

Salford Timeline

Key dates in Salford's history

Tangent Galvanometer

The Tangent Galvanometer was a device used by Joules to measure electric currents.


William Webb Ellis

William Webb Ellis was born in Salford on 24th November 1806. Ellis had a disregard for the rules of football and first took the ball in his arms and ran with it in 1823, thus creating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game.

Peel Park – Sir Robert Peel

1846 - Built on the Lark Hill estate, Peel Park in Salford was one of the first free public parks established by public conscription.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels spent time in Salford studying the plight of the British working class. In 1842, Engels was sent to Salford by his parents to work for a mill making sewing threads. In 1845, Engels published his book, 'The Condition of the Working Class in England' where he described Salford and Chapel Street as, "really one large working class quarter".

Nisha Katone MBE

Katona is a British chef and founder of Mowgli Street Food restaurants as well as the Mowgli Trust - “There is no more noble purpose than to enrich lives in the cities that we go to”.
The Mowgli mantra is, “May we march on with Grace, Intelligence and Graft”.

Michael Josephson MBE

Josephson overcame his own traumatic childhood and worked hard to build a multi-million-pound business as well as raising millions of pounds for local charities.
He says, "If you are feeling it is all too much... switch off, step back, and give yourself space".

Free Public Library

1850 - The first public free lending library opens as 'Salford Borough Library' on the Crescent.

Mitakuye Oyasin

Mitakuye Oyasin: we are all related

Salford Coat of Arms

The coat of arms - Integrity and Industry

Mike Sweeney

Lead vocalist of 'The Salford Jets' - "Salford made me who I am."

Mark E. Smith

Iconic frontman of 'The Fall' producing hits such as 'Turn Up The Music' and 'I wake up in the City'.

Neal Keeling

"Brevity is beautiful and so is Salford."

James Prescott Joule

Born in New Bailey Street in 1818, Joule became a notable physicist who established the principles of the mechanical equivalent of heat. His name was given to the unit of energy, the Joule. He later moved to Acton Square.

Bridgewater canal opened, swing aqueduct, first major canal and underground colliery and first steamboat

1758 - The very first steamboat was built in Worsley.
1760 - The first major canal and underground colliery was built.
1761 - The Bridgewater Canal opened: the first totally artificial waterway independent of natural rivers.
1893 - The first swing aqueduct was built at Barton.

Salford textile processing history, Salford Engine Twist Company and Bush roller chain

Textile processing was alive in Salford some 700 years before the Industrial Revolution; however, the River Irwell and established trading infrastructure allowed Salford to boom. The bush roller chain was invented and produced in Ordsall and the Philips and Lee Twist Mill was one of the first factories to be built in Salford.

Salford Lads Club
 & The Hollies

Salford Lads Club opened in 1904 as a purpose built club for boys. Allan Clarke and Graham Nash grew up in Salford and were members, later forming the rock group 'The Hollies'.

Domesday Book

The hundred of Salford was one of the six hundreds of Lancashire, also known as the Royal Manor of Salford.

Willows by the ford

The name Salford derives from an Old English word
meaning willows by the ford and this is symbolised by the entwined trees at the top of the lamp post, as well as signifying that Chapel Street was the first street in
England to be lit by gas in 1805.

Louis O’Grady

The horse, Louis O'Grady, is the inspiration behind the sculpture and his name is incorporated into the bridle on the bronze.

First horse drawn bus service

The first horse drawn bus service went from Pendleton to Manchester in 1842.

Tramways company

In 1877 the first horse drawn tramway in Greater Manchester went between Bury New Road in Salford to Deansgate in Manchester.

John Cooper Clarke

Fondly called the 'Bard of Salford', Clarke is the original punk poet who rose to fame in the 1970s.

Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook – “Salford Rules!”

Peter Hook was born in Broughton, Salford in 1956. He attended Salford Grammar School and formed the band which were to become 'Joy Division', later reforming as 'New Order' following the death of the lead singer. He is currently the lead singer and bassist of 'Peter Hook and the Light'.

Albert Finney

Albert Finney loved to go back to Salford - "It's just part of you. It's in the blood really."

Graham Nash

Graham William Nash was born in 1942 in Blackpool. During World War II, his mother was evacuated there from their home town of Salford. The family returned to Salford, where Nash grew up. In the early 1960s, he co- founded the Hollies, one of the UKs most successful pop group, with school friend Allan Clarke, and was credited as the group's leader on their first album.


First beam of electricity

1850 - The first beam of electricity shone from the roof of Buile Hill in an experiment by William Edwards Staite.

Once Upon a Time in England

Helen Walsh, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award -
“That voice just punched him bang in the heart - fresh, fraught, wise and wistful. He laughed and shook his head at the comic aptness of the lyrics - yet there was so much of himself, all his own sorrow and loneliness wrapped up in those bittersweet couplets that his laughter gave way to tears.”

Geoffrey Key

Born on 13th May 1941 in Rusholme, Key is a renowned painter and sculptor in collections worldwide. Key became honorary President of The Salford Art Club and is widely considered to be one of the UKs most important contemporary artists. His strong, dynamic figures and dream like compositions have earned him many admirers. Key's work features in several public art collections in the northwest of England, including the Salford and Manchester Art Galleries, who now hold over 70 of his works.

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston was born on 16th February 1964 in Langworthy, Salford. He is best known for his television and film work, most notably his roles as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the British television series 'Doctor Who', playing Pastor Matt Jamison in 'The Leftovers', and his collaborations with filmmakers Danny Boyle and Michael Winterbottom.

Factory Records - Tony Wilson and Shaun Ryder

Factory Records was founded by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus in 1978 and was a Manchester based British independent record label boasting artists such as Happy Mondays, Joy Division and James.

Sir John Moores

Sir John Moores was born in Eccles on 25th January 1896. He was an astute businessman and founded the Littlewoods empire (football pools and retail company). Liverpool Polytechnic took the name 'Liverpool John Moores University' in his honour upon being granted University status in 1992.

Tom Staunton Poem

I paid a visit to some old friends,
It has been quite some time.
We were just young soldiers then
In the year of 39
Soon the battle would ensue
Six bloody years of world war two
And now I stand here all alone
Reading names immortalised in stone
The names of my old friends
Who never made it home.

Sacred Trinity Church

Sacred Trinity Church was originally called Chapel Sacred Trinity and gave Chapel Street its name. It is Salford's oldest church and was completed in 1635.
The church still houses the colours of the Salford Pals, the first battalion to go over the top at Thiepval at the Battle of the Somme.

Sir Humphrey Booth

Sir Humphrey Booth's epitaph reads:
"Love his memory, imitate his devotion".

DC Comics

Chapel Street was home to the printers and publishers, DC Thomson, who published a variety of famous comics including The Beano and The Dandy.

Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall is a large former manor house in historic parish of Ordsall. The hall dates back over 750 years. The most important period of Ordsall Hall's life was as the family seat of the Radclyffe family who lived in the house for more than 300 years.
The hall was the setting for William Harrison Ainsworth's 1842 novel 'Guy Fawkes' as local legend has it that Guy Fawkes planned the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 here with Robert Catesby.

Black Lion Pub

The Black Lion pub sits on the corner of Blackfriars Street and Chapel Street in Salford. In 1889, the leading Showmen of the day gathered here at a meeting birthplace, thus the 'Showmen's Guild' was born.


Russell Watson

Born on 24th November 1966 in Salford, Watson attended Irlam Endowed Primary School and Irlam and Cadishead High School. He began singing as a child and became an internationally successful tenor artist who has never forgotten his roots.

Coronation Street

Coronation Street is set in the fictional town of Weatherfield based on inner city Salford. The first episode was broadcast live in black and white in December 1960.

Harold Allan Clarke

Harold Allan Clarke was born in Salford in 1942 and is best known for co-founding the pop rock group 'The Hollies' with Graham Nash.

Sir Ben Kingsley

Sir Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in 1943. He is a British actor and is most known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film 'Gandhi' in 1982.

Key Dates

Key dates in Salford's history


Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are an English electronic band formed on the Wirral, in 1978. The band consisted of co-founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys along with Martin Cooper and Stuart Kershaw. They released their debut single, 'Electricity', in 1979 with Factory Records.


Originally branded as a health tonic, Vimto was made in Manchester in 1908 but was first mass produced between 1910-1927 at Griffin Court, Chapel Street. The drink promoted itself as a temperance beverage which helped expand the drink's popularity and this grew with the development of the temperance movement in Salford.

First Million Pound Cheque

In 1872, the Bridgewater Canal was purchased by the Bridgewater Navigation Company for £1,115,000 using the first ever 'million-pound cheque'.

Bexley Square

The Battle of Bexley Square took place on 1st October 1931. It was a poignant moment in history where trades unions rallied to protest against injustice to the working class people of Salford. Unfortunately violence erupted when the police met the 10,000 strong crowd at the square. This was the fight against the government enforced means test and poverty in Salford which went on to feature in Walter Greenwood's book, 'Love on the Dole'.
The earliest camera image of Salford is a photograph of the former Salford Town Hall at Bexley Square taken in 1856 showing the Crimean War 'Peace Celebrations'.

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