Salford Quays with Manchester city centre in the background
[[Image:|240px|Salford is located in ]]
Salford shown within
|Population||Expression error: "72,750" must be numeric (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||Greater Manchester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||M3, M5–M7, M50|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Salford and Eccles|
|List of places: UK • England •|
Salford () lies at the heart of the City of Salford, a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, in North West England. Salford is sited in a meander of the River Irwell, which forms its boundary with the city of Manchester to the east. Together with its neighbouring towns to the west, Salford forms the local government district of the City of Salford, which is administered from Swinton. The former Borough of Salford, which included Broughton, Pendleton and Kersal, was granted honorific city status in 1926; it has a resident population of 72,750 and occupies an area of . The wider City of Salford district has a population of 219,200.
Historically a part of Lancashire, Salford's early history is marked by its status as a Royal caput and the judicial seat of the ancient hundred of Salfordshire, to which it lent its name. It was granted a charter by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, in about 1230, making Salford a free borough. During the early stages of its growth, Salford was of greater cultural and commercial importance than its neighbour Manchester, although most contemporary sources agree that since the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries that position has been reversed.
Salford became a major factory town and inland port during the 18th and 19th centuries. Cotton and silk spinning and weaving in local mills attracted an influx of families and provided Salford with a strong economy. Salford Docks was a principal dockyard of the Manchester Ship Canal. By the end of the 19th century Salford had an enlarged working class community and suffered from chronic overpopulation. Industrial activities declined during the 20th century however, causing a local economic depression. Salford subsequently became one of contrasts, with regenerated inner-city areas like Salford Quays next to some of the most socially deprived and violent areas in England.
Salford has become a centre of higher education, home to the University of Salford, and has seen several firsts, including the world's first unconditionally free public library, and the first street in the world to be lit by gas, Chapel Street in 1806. Salford is set to become the headquarters of CBBC and BBC Sport in 2011.
The name of Salford derives from the Old English word Sealhford, meaning a ford by the willow trees. It referred to the willows (Latin: salix) or sallows that grew alongside the banks of the River Irwell. The ford was about where Victoria Bridge is today. Willow trees are still found in Lower Broughton. Salford appears in the pipe roll of 1169 as "Sauford" and in the Lancashire Inquisitions of 1226 as "Sainford".
The earliest known evidence of human activity in what is now Salford is provided by the Neolithic flint arrow-heads and workings discovered on Kersal Moor and the River Irwell, suggesting that that the area was inhabited 7–10,000 years ago. The raw material for such tools was scarce and unsuitable for working, and as a result they are not of the quality found elsewhere. Other finds include a neolithic axe-hammer found near Mode Wheel, during the excavation of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1890, and a Bronze Age cremation urn during the construction of a road on the Broughton Hall estate in 1873.
The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now Northern England. With a stronghold at the sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite Salford's original centre, their territory extended across the fertile lowland by the River Irwell that is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort named Mamucium (Manchester) to protect the routes to Deva Victrix (Chester) and Eboracum (York) from the Brigantes. The fort was completed in AD 79, and for over 300 years the Pax Romana brought peace to the area. Both the main Roman road to the north, from Mamucium to Ribchester, and a second road to the west, ran through what is now Salford, but few Roman artefacts have been found in the area. The withdrawal of the Romans in AD 410 left the inhabitants at the mercy of the Saxons. The Danes later conquered the area and absorbed what was left of the Brigantes. Angles settled in the region during the Early Middle Ages and gave the locality the name Sealhford, meaning "ford by the willows". According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Sealhford was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria until it was conquered in 923 by Edward the Elder.
Following the emergence of the united Kingdom of England, Salford became a caput or central manor within a broad rural area in part held by the Kings of England, including Edward the Confessor. The area between the rivers Mersey and Ribble was divided into six smaller districts, referred to as "wapentakes", or hundreds. The south east district became known as the Hundred of Salford, a division of land administered from Salford for military and judicial purposes. It contained nine large parishes, smaller parts of two others, and the township of Aspull in the parish of Wigan.
After the defeat of Edward the Confessor during the Norman conquest of England, William I granted the Hundred of Salford to Roger the Poitevin, and in the Domesday Book of 1086 the Hundred of Salford was recorded as covering an area of with a population of 35,000. Poitevin created the subordinate Manor of Manchester out of the hundred, which has since in local government been separate from Salford. Poitevin forfeited the manor in 1102 when he was defeated in a failed rebellion attempt against Henry I. In around 1115, for their support during the rebellion, Henry I placed the Hundred of Salford under the control of the Earldom of Lancaster, and it is from this exchange that the Hundred of Salford became a royal manor. The Lord of the Manor was either the English monarch, or a feudal land owner who administered the manor for the king. During the reign of Henry II the Royal Manor of Salford passed to Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester.
Salford began to emerge as a small town early in the 13th century. In 1228, Henry III granted the caput of Salford the right to hold a market and an annual fair. The fairs were important to the town; a 17th-century order forced each burgess – a freeman of the borough – to attend, but the fairs were abolished during the 19th century. The Earls of Chester aided the development of the caput, and in 1230 Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester made Salford a burgage, or free borough. The charter gave its burgesses certain commercial rights, privileges and advantages over traders living outside Salford; one of the 26 clauses of the charter stated that no one could work in the Hundred of Salford unless they also lived in the borough. Salford's status as a burgage encouraged an influx of distinguished families, and by the Late Middle Ages Salford was "rich in its manor houses", with over 30 within a radius of Ordsall. These included Ordsall Hall (owned by the Radclyffe family) and Broughton Hall, owned by the Earls of Derby.
During the Civil War of 1640–49, Salford supported the Royalist cause, in contrast to Manchester just across the Irwell which declared in favour of the Parliamentarians. Royalist forces mounted a siege of Manchester across what is now the site of Victoria Bridge, which although short-lived, "did little to improve relations between the two towns". A century later, in 1745, Salford was staunchly in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in his attempt to seize the Throne of England. He entered the town at the head of his army and was blessed by the Reverend John Clayton before leaving "in high spirits" to march on London; he returned to Salford in defeat just nine days later.
Salford has a history of textile processing that pre-dates the Industrial Revolution, and as an old town had been developing for about 700 years. Before the introduction of cotton there was a considerable trade in woollen goods and fustians. Other cottage industries prevalent at this time included clogging, cobbling, weaving and brewing. The changes to textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on both on population and urbanisation, as well as the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of Salford.
The well-established textile processing and trading infrastructure, and the ready supply of water from the River Irwell and its tributaries, attracted entrepreneurs who built cotton mills along the banks of the river in Pendleton and Ordsall. Although Salford followed a similar pattern of industrial development to Manchester, most businesses preferred to build their premises on the Manchester side of the Irwell, and consequently Salford did not develop as a commercial centre in the same way as its neighbour. Many of these earlier mills had been based on Arkwright-type designs. These relied on strong falls of water, but Salford is on a meander of the Irwell with only a slight gradient and thus mills tended to be built upstream, at Kersal and Pendleton. With the introduction of the steam engine in the late 18th century however, merchants began to construct mills closer to the centres of Salford and Manchester, where supplies of labour and coal were more readily available (the first steam-powered mill was built in Manchester in 1780). One of the first factories to be built was Philip's and Lee's Twist Mill in Salford, completed in 1801, the second iron-framed multi-story building to be erected in Britain. The large Salford Engine Twist Company mill was built to the west of Salford, between Chapel Street and the Irwell, and in 1806 was the first large cotton mill to use gas lighting. It was however outnumbered by the numerous smaller factories and mills throughout the area, including Nathan Gough's steam-driven mule spinning mill, near Oldfield Road, where a serious accident occurred on 13 October 1824 (see illustration).
Canal building provided a further stimulus for Salford's industrial development. The opening of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761 improved the transport of fuel and raw materials, reducing the price of coal by about 50%. The later Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal (which terminated at Salford) brought more cheap coal from pits at Pendleton, Agecroft Colliery and beyond. By 1818 Manchester, Salford and Eccles had about 80 mills, but it was the completion of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894 which triggered Salford's development as a major inland port. Salford Docks, a major dockland on the Ship Canal east of the Irish Sea, brought employment to over 3,000 labourers. By 1914 the Port of Manchester, most of whose docks were in Salford, had become one of the largest port authorities in the world, handling 5% of the UK's imports and 4.4% of its exports. Commodities handled included cotton, grain, wool, textile machinery and steam locomotives.
For centuries, textiles and related trades were the main source of employment in the town. Bleaching was a widely distributed finishing trade in Salford, carried over from the earlier woollen industry. In the 18th century, before the introduction of chemical bleaching, bleaching fields were commonplace, some very close to the town. In 1773 there were 25 bleachers around Salford, most to the west of the township. Printing was another source of trade; the earliest recorded in the region was a calique printer in the Manchester Parish Register of 1763. These industries became more important as Salford faced increasing competition from the nearby towns of Bolton and Oldham. As its cotton spinning industries faltered its economy turned increasingly to other textiles and to the finishing trades, including rexine and silk dyeing, and fulling and bleaching, at a string of works in Salford.
Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels spent time in Salford, studying the plight of the British working class. In The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Engels described Salford as "really one large working-class quarter ... [a] very unhealthy, dirty and dilapidated district which, while other industries were almost always textile related is situated opposite the 'Old Church' of Manchester".
Salford developed several civic institutions; in 1806, Chapel Street became the first street in the world to be lit by gas (supplied by Phillips and Lee's cotton mill). In 1850, under the terms of the Museums Act 1845, the municipal borough council established the Royal Museum and Public Library, said to have been the first unconditional free public library in England, preceding the Public Libraries Act 1850.
The effect on Salford of the Industrial Revolution has been described as "phenomenal". The area expanded from a small market town into a major industrial metropolis; factories replaced cottage industries, and the population rose from 12,000 in 1812 to 70,244 within 30 years. By the end of the 19th century it had increased to 220,000. Large-scale building of low quality Victorian terraced housing did not stop overcrowding, which itself lead to chronic social deprivation. The density of housing was as high as 80 homes per acre. Private roads were built for the use of the middle classes moving to the outskirts of Salford. The entrances to such roads, which included Elleray Road in Irlams o' th' Height, were often gated, and patrolled.