from the other city
a guide to the venues of sounds from the other city
Sounds From The Other City
Manchester and Salford exist side by side, and Sounds From the Other City - by intertwining the cities artistically, does a lot to bridge the gaps of that mere existence
Despite the obvious dereliction, beneath the surface Chapel Street is bustling. What it lacks in most eveything you’d expect of a city’s main thoroughfare, it makes up for with the vibrancy of its residents and visitors. On the face of things the street is barren but for bricked up pubs and a constant stream of traffic; always passing through, and never stopping. During the late 50s, to make way for redevelopment of the area, the facades of the independent businesses that stood here were saved and preserved as a sort of toy town. Named Lark Hill Place this ghost street remains to this day in Salford Museum, just further along The Crescent. The facades were saved from the dawning of a new, more prosperous Salford and yet, this street suspended in a bell jar of time appears more lifelike in many ways. Chapel Street and the surrounds show
no evidence of success borne of these redevelopments, it simply exists as a skeleton of its former industrious glory, as if Manchester has been hiding it away in a closet in the bend of the irwell. Architectural journalist Phil Griffin once said “Chapel Street buildings know how to turn corners” As observations go, it’s one of my favourites. It’s true, look around you, it’s a street of the grandest curves. But there must be more to it than that... Take a look beyond the burnt-out and boarded-up, start to see the richness of architecture and art. St Phillip’s Greek rival church, perhaps the finest church in the region, sits back from the road a little – inviting you into the streets behind the decaying backbone. As the road becomes the Crescent the Irwell river reappears and winds through the country’s first municipal
ive Venue Guide park; Peel Park and the Museum and Art Gallery, to which Lowry had his own key, sit besides the greenery.
albert mill 4 the angel ce ntre 5 black lion 6 the crescent 8 islington mi ll 10 king’s arms 12 the new oxfo rd 13 the old pint pot 14 rovers retur n 15 sacred trini ty 16 salford arms 17 St philip’s church 18 united refor m church 20
The fact is this area remains a centre brimming with inspiration and resources for the creative community, home to countless artists’ studios and with notable public art ranging from the recent Irwell Sculpture Trail through to modernist architectural sculptures. This was one of the main roads in the country and was the first street to ever be lit by gas in the United Kingdom. Manchester Modernist Society base themselves here, not in Manchester, in Salford. Chapel Street is the cultural heart of Salford yet geographically is just the edge; it closely cradles the shimmering belly of Manchester by way of the Irwell perimeter. There’s a feeling of limbo here amongst the rough edges of a street isolated by its demise.
bonus featur e... ...minut men !
Approaching from Manchester you start to get a feel for that- the square outside Starbucks and Mojo’s exists without a name. The down-winds that are created by the modernist Albert Bridge House have inspired nicknames for the square, such as Windy Corner and the Great Skirt-Lifter but it remains a kind of void, an anonymous full stop at the end of Manchester.
“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.”
The Visible Boundary, a temporary art installation and plaque that you pass on your approach, is perhaps the most temporary art installation known after it disappeared within an afternoon. Other artwork to have made its getaway along the Irwell boundary is the statue of politician Joseph Brotherton that once sat on the Manchester bank but has been relocated to his Salford home on the opposite side. His plaque tification
An Alternative Venue Guide is by Skyliner, a blog dedicated to the pursuit of rare and fascinating art; architecture; and history, and winner of Best City and Neighbourhood Blog 2011.
Photography by Jennifer Brookes
Albert Mill // Oldfield Road
Albert Mill is a recent residential building with some vacant residential units on the ground floor. Unremarkable to the eye and historically there’s little of note. But look at that hole in the ground next to it... The building site here is the remains of the freshly demolished Salvation Army. Demolished in April 2012 and built in 1966, as part of that redevelopment that replaced the independent businesses. the Salvation Army began life as The Stella Maris Seaman’s Mission. The mission was an arm of the Catholic Church and served the visiting dock workers to the area. It provided, according to an old billboard notice, “accommodation, recreation, dancing”. The area doesn’t exactly scream of the high seas and certainly not now that its last link with that has been razed to the ground. Fans of modernism would have enjoyed the structure for its cantilevered design and its architectural interpretation of the bridge of a ship.
The foundation stone of the building was laid in 1964 by the Apostleship of the Sea and after a plea to the city council, Manchester Modernist Society managed to salvage the stone and then discovered a hidden compartment buried in the top edge. After some careful chiselling the team dug out a time capsule in the form of A half crown coin and a brass tube containing a scroll. The contents had been sealed for the last fifty years and remain in almost perfect condition. The hand written scroll is signed by the Archbishop, the Mayor and the Port Chaplain. Maureen Ward from manchester modernist society said of the discovery: “We were very disappointed that this piece of Salford’s 1960s heritage was demolished and that a new use for the building was not considered by the Council but finding the hidden time capsule means at least a small part of Salford’s history can be retold”
The Angel Centre //
1 St Philips Place
A modern building in the shadow of the grand St Philip’s, and nestled in beside Wilton Place. To the left is the entrance to the old county court that was immortalised by Lowry in the painting ‘by the county court’. if you wander around the perimeters of the church you’ll find ‘Seed’, one of the sculptures of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. The trail itself starts at Salford Quays before it heads to Chapel Street, then along the Irwell to Peel Park and on to Prestwich, Bury and Rossendale. The routes in Salford have been developed to link to other cultural acttractions and developments so stopping off via the Angel Centre keeps those ties close to the community.
The trail features over 70 artworks and extends over 33 miles making it the largest sculpture route in the UK. It connects local heritage with the landscape and communitie. This particular instalment, Seed, is by Andrew Mckeown and dates from 2002. Made from iron, the sycamore seed is enlarged one hundred times and represents new life and growth emerging from the industrial legacy of Salford and Manchester. It’s there as a reminder of the potential the area has. The view of St John’s Cathedral from here is a pretty one, and if you wandered a little closer toward it you may just uncover a series of plaques commemorating some of the more interesting residents of the area including a Mrs Pickles and a Snakey Joe.
The Angel Centre is a community centre that aims to inspire local people to lead happier and healthier lives.
The time capsule Image courtesy of The Manchester Modernist Society
The Black Lion
The Black Lion pub, on the corner of Chapel Street neighbours Blackfriars Bridge and has been in business since 1776. The site is perhaps most famous as the birthplace of the Showmen’s Guild. The guild began life as the Van Dweller’s Protection Association in 1889 and protects the interests of travelling showmen who gain their livelihoods by attending funfairs. The incentive to set up the guild was in reaction to an evangelist by the name of George Smith. Smith believed his mission was to reform all members of the itinerant community in the United Kingdom, labelling them:
Real name William Cody, he toured his show in the United Kingdom to celebrate the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria, putting on shows in London, Birmingham and finally in Salford; choosing to remain here on the banks of the Irwell for five months. In honour of his visit many of the roads of Salford were renamed, such as Cody Court, Sundance Court, Dakota Avenue, and Kansas Avenue.
that will one day work of civilisaan end the advance law and commerce”
During their stay, a member of the show gave birth to a daughter, christened in Orsdall as Francis and her Indian name Over the Sea. She was the first Native American born in Europe.
all the travelling showmen, one the most famous is Buffalo Bill
When the show returned to America, at least two of the original cast did
“Dregs of society put a stop to the tion, and bring to in arts, science, Of of
and his ‘Congress of Rough Riders of the World Show’ once came to Salford.
not. A man named Surrounded died in Hope Hospital and his body was said to have disappeared, the BBC had hoped to uncover it whilst digging the foundation for MediaCity but itâ€™s most likely the body was transported to London and buried. The other member who never left went by the name of Charging Thunder; he married a local girl and changed his name to George Edward Williams. williams worked as a cinema usher on Clewes Street for a spell before going on to work at Belle Vue zoo taking care of the elephants. Apparently when drunk, Charging Thunder, would head for the circus to sleep it off in the elephant enclosure
His body is buried in West Gorton cemetery and he has two surviving grandchildren who still live in the area.
The Black Lion reopened last year and Future Artists run regular nights there including film screenings in the newly-fitted cinema upstairs.
The Crescent The Crescent occupies part of a row of houses and opened as a licensed dining room in the 1860s. The first pub in Greater Manchester to be granted a 24 hour drinking licence, home of free chip barms and the pub in which Marx and Engels are said to have met and certainly considered it their favourite back when the pub was named The Red Dragon. When developers tried to turn the venue into student accommodation a few years back, the regular customers campaigned against it and successfully so; the building was granted listed status and is now protected The surrounds of the pub are interesting also, Cross Lane to the rear is home to the Buck Hotel where Buffalo Bill spent an evening drinking before punching his taxi driver in the face and thus revoking his Free dom of the City award before it was even granted.
If you wander a little further past the pub you’ll find yourself in Fire Station Square. This site was home to Salford Fire Station and the firemen’s houses that surround it. Aside from the striking architecture here it’s also the location of Salford’s smallest listed building in the form of a red telephone box. There are two left in Salford, the other being in Worsley. The red telephone booth is the most successful K6 model and was home to an art installation during 2010, titled ‘Conversations We Wish We’d Had’ The K6 was designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott who completed Battersea Power Station; the redesign of the Tate Modern; and, at the age of 21 (with no experience), he won a competition to design Liverpool Cathedral as part of a larger team of five.
20 The Crescent Scott died in 1960 and the cathedral was finished some 18 years later. He is now buried with his wife at the entrance to the cathedral and in his honour a K6 red telephone box stands at the site. In the centre is a monument in 1922 this honour of the
of Fire Station Square of a Sphinx. Unveiled is a war memorial in Lancashire Fusiliers.
The Working Class Movement Library is also situated close by at Jubilee House. The original library was at the home of founders; Edmund and Ruth Frow, on Kings Road in Old Trafford. Expecting an imminent change in our social system â€œthat the country will be governed by those who produce the wealth, that there will be a need and a longing to know what preceded these changesâ€?, the couple merged their book collection in 1953 and it continued to grow until it took over their home, lining the walls of every room except the kitchen and bathroom and spilling out into the garage. Further along The Crescent is the site of Salford Art School, where local artist Ken Reid studied . Named Best Writer and Best Artist by the British Society of Strip lllustrators in 1978; he created the character of Rodger the Dodger for The Beano (for a time, The Beano and Dandy were actually printed just off Chapel Street by printing firm DC Thomson). Ken was in the middle of illustrating a cartoon character by the name of Faceache when he suffered a fatal stroke. He is buried at Agecroft Cemetery where a plaque, emblazoned with an image of his creation Fudge the Elf, adorns the gravestone.
Islington Mill // James Street
In 1994, Bill Campbell returned to Salford from St Martin’s College where he studied. Moving into a council flat opposite an abandoned cotton mill, he set his heart on one day buying it. and He did so in 2001. Islington Mill is home to over 50 artists studios, two art galleries and a recording studio. The mill was built by Bellhouse and Son for Nathan Gough and followed the principles of a ‘fire-proof factory’, meaning that the floors were formed of brick arches supported by iron beams. 250 people worked in the mill, many of them children. On October 13th 1824, eighteen months after it was erected, the mill collapsed. A fault in an iron beam upstairs led to the collapse of each floor, burying the workers at ground level beneath a mass of iron beams, machinery and brick. Some people escaped by leaping through windows on the lower floors. One worker had noticed, whilst sat in the yard during summer, how the walls had settled to an unsafe degree but he hadn’t told the owner. On the night of the tragedy, The military were called in to control the crowds and once the rubble was cleared, the family members who had not located their relatives were allowed into the yard where the bodies had been arranged for identification in a stable. There were around nineteen deaths from the accident, amongst these were two eleven year old workers, a brother and a sister, and a mother and daughter.
King’s Arms // 11 Bloom Street
Built in the 1870s, the King’s Arms is the replacement for the original pub which stood just across the way and was pulled down to make way for Salford Corporation’s gas offices. The offices were the administrative department serving the gas works on Regent Road - the same gas works made famous by Ewan MacColl and laterly, The Pogues, in the song ‘Dirty Old Town’. Not overly keen to publicise the city as this dirty destination, Salford Council insisted MacColl made a change in lyrics so as to distance the city from the content. The exterior of the King’s Arms is decorative and handsome, with a ghost sign visible on the side of the pub which reads ‘Ye Anglers Club House’. The pub was once home to the Salford Friendly Anglers Club, the oldest fishing club in the country. the venue was also the meeting place of the North of England Irish Terrier Club from 1946 – 1971. The Kings Arms is now owned by Paul Heaton, front man of House Martins and The Beautiful South, who would like to set up a radio station upstairs.
The New Oxford // 11 Bexley Square
The New Oxford stands proudly on Bexley Square, at the end of the square stands the old Salford Town Hall. The square is best known for an unemployed workers’ demonstration in the 1930s.
recounts the attack in Bexley Square, and says of conditions in salford “Places where men and women are born, live, love and die and pay preposterous rents for the privilege of calling the grimy houses ‘homes’”
The Battle of Bexley Square began as a protest march against the government’s enforced means test and the savage cuts that were being imposed during the 1930s. The new measures were most severe on the working classes and suicide rates rose by 25%
During the 1930s the British Board of Film Censors regarded Greenwood’s novel as “dangerous” and would not allow a film to be made. On the parallel side of Chapel Street lies Islington Park. The park is built on the site of an old cemetery where 22,000 people were buried and was known throughout the area as the Plague Cemetery.
Tens of thousands of people marched against the cuts and they attempted to deliver a petition to the town hall but were charged at by mounted police who attacked the public with batons and truncheons. Author Walter Greenwood responded to the unemployment crisis in his novel ‘Love On the Dole’ in which he
It’s thor cis 13
also around here that auof The Secret Garden, FranHodgson Burnett, lived.
The Old Pint Pot // 2 Adelphi Street
The Tree of Knowledge Image courtesy of Michelle Hickman
The Old Pint Pot is located on a bend in the river and opposite the meadow nature reserve. To your right is the Irwell and the Adelphi Footbridge, Lowry painted the view from the footbridge in 1924 and much of the film ‘Hobson ’s Choice’ was filmed around this particular stretch of the riverbank. If you continued to follow the path of the Irwell for a mile beyond the meadow you’d eventually hit the remains of Cromwell Secondary School and the wonderful Alan Boyson mural ‘Tree of Knowledge.’ The mural was created in 1962 by Boyson and depicts a mythical tree of life mounted by a wise owl. Historical fragments that were found on the site during erection of the school were used in the creation of the mural.
When it was announced in 2009 that the school would be demolished The Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society applied for the art to receive listed status. The listed artwork remains on the one wall of the building that has been spared from demolition. plans are to relocate the mural but for now it stands fenced in and deserted on a car park Out at Salford College, you’ll find concrete screens by Alan Boyson that had been underapprieciated and overlooked and, until 2010, were covered with advertising hoardings. Recently some of Boyson’s ceramic tiles were found to be decorating the doorway of the Discount Furniture Store in Denton.
Rovers Return // 89 - 91 Chapel Street
Previously named the Admiral Nelson, dating from 1799, the pub is now named after the famous Coronation Street pub set in a fictional version of Salford.
that he could note down the names from the headstones for a more realistic cast Granada TV itself is just a few minutes walk from here, on the very cusp of Manchester. It has long been rumoured that founders Sidney and Cecil Bernstein chose to set up here thinking that the rainy climate might make viewers stay home to watch more TV. Given that there are 8 rainier cities in the U.K itâ€™s unlikely that this is true.
The Coronation Street name was taken from an even older pub located in Withy Grove that occupied a 14th century building and was demolished in 1958. Tony Warren, creator of the show, is said to have voted on the name of the actual street in another pub, across the Irwell, in Manchesterâ€™s Sir Ralph Abercrombie. It was contending with the alternative title; Florizel Street.
Along Chapel Street, heading away from Manchester, is another pub still bearing the Nelson name though no longer in business - the beautifully ornate Ye Olde Nelson. The pub was burnt out in 2004 and has remained boarded up, like so many others in this area, ever since.
Warren wanted the show to be as close to life in the region as possible and he even visited local cemeteries so 15
Sacred Trinity // Chapel Street & Blackfriars Road Built in 1635, Sacred Trinity was the first church in Salford. William Webb Ellis, the man credited with inventing the game of rugby, was christened at Sacred Trinity and Edith Cavell, who worshipped here briefly, is commemorated in a memorial outside. Cavell was a nurse and informer and she saved the lives of soldiers from all sides during world war I, she also assisted in the escape of 200 soldiers from Belgium for which she was charged with treason and sentenced to death. She was shot by a German firing squad. French singer, Edith Piaf, is named after Cavell. The church is what gave the street its name, which had been Sergeant Street originally. The pathways on either side of the church are gravestones as the graveyard has been full since the first half of the 19th century and the leaning stones were becoming overcrowded and dangerous. The shift of the stones means that there are no records of who is buried where. The area is the site of the flat iron market which Lowry painted along with Sacred Trinity in a 1925, and today is known as the Flat Iron Conservation Area. The name flat iron is derived from the triangular shaped plot of land. The night markets provided the working classes with an outlet from their work, it offered free entertainment by such acts as stilt walkers, or within Flat Iron’s pleasure ground, by way of a boxing booth and shooting gallery. Flat Iron, although rougher around the edges than the mighty Shudehill, had the atmosphere and cheap goods that brought in a large amount of trade, with one journalist describing the site as “a carnival of copper”
It was however one of the shoddiest, poorest markets in the city and Manchester was embarrassed of “this parody of a market” where “the dirty, ragged, lost looking creatures” fraternised. Even if you weren’t able to afford a drink, you could wander the markets for free and night markets such as this were an important part of the lives of the working classes. the market closed in 1939. Gravel Lane, extending from the rear of the church, is where the nearest war shelters could be found, in the cellar of the Methodist church under a railway arch, and just by these arches on the car park that was once the Gravel Lane Bible Christian Church, the Reverend William Cowherd proposed the idea of a meat-free diet. This was the beginnings of the vegetarian movement in the West and together with Joseph Brotherton, he formed the Vegetarian Society. Gravestones still lie beneath the floor of the car park and Cowherd was buried here, his stone read “All feared, none loved, few understood”
Salford Arms // 146 Chapel Street
The Salford Arms is at a stretch of Salford, teetering on Manchester, that is dominated by pubs but there was once a time that you could have taken the existing count and multiplied it by five or more. Some of the pubs to have vanished from the area include the wonderfully named Round O’ Beef, and The Tripedressers Arms. Who’d have thought the vegetarian movement started so nearby! Across from the Salford Arms, on the corner diagonal from here is Copperheads – George Best’s favourite pub and much frequented during his time as owner of an Edwardian clothes shop on Bridge Street (now the Starbucks beneath Mojos). The shop is featured in the opening of the nostalgic film The Lovers! starring Richard Beckinsale, in which the
three male leads approach a girls gathered outside the es and whisk them away to time discotheque at Albert
group of premisa lunch Square.
The Salford Arms is next to the rather beautiful Model Lodging House. When the premises opened it was the first of its kind in the country and offered accommodation for 285 men, some of whom are said to have lived there for over 20 years. The purpose of the house was a dosshouse for homeless or drunks. When the site was being redeveloped into the apartments of today the contractors discovered that the main doors wouldn’t lock – the lodge was open 24 hours a day to everyone so the locks had not once been turned and thus ceased up.
St Philips church The crypt Image courtesy of Andrew Brooks Photography St Philips Church is perhaps the architectural highlight of the city, its beautiful bell tower beckoning you in off the road to take a closer look. The building is unassuming yet classical and unlike any other church in the region. The building was designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1825 in a Greek revival style unique to the area, and taken from a design Smirke had done previously for St Mary’s Church in London. Inside the church you’ll find a Renn and Boston organ, a rare example of British 19th century organ making. Made in 1829, the organ has been restored twice, and now includes pipes taken from a dismantled organ from New Jerusalem Church on Peter Street, Manchester. It is regarded as the finest surviving example of Renn’s work. There’s also something waiting to surprise you beneath the church, for down below is a crypt. The crypt houses around 8 bodies though could hold many more. Three aisles run beneath the length of the church with the centre aisle opening up onto recessed vaults on either side; the two bordering aisles have only vaults on the outer walls. The coffins down here are lead- lined as it was thought that these reinforcements would help counter the spread of disease. Now, through ventilation gaps in the walls, you can see the silvery lead exposed beneath the rotten wood.
St Philips Place
Many of the vaults are anonymous, such as the first one you approach on the right. Not only is this not labelled but it’s totally bricked up; no bricks have been left out for ventilation as they have in the other vaults. The solid wall is further reinforced by a locked gate – someone wanted to be sure this body didn’t escape! St Philips was ‘the soldiers church”’ and along the same wall, neighbouring the high security burial, is the resting place of a General Sir Thomas Arbuthknot. Arbuthknot was a distinguished officer, selected by Wellington as commander of the forces in the Northern and Midland districts. He died in 1879, age 78. On the day of his funeral Chapel Street was closed, even the mayor was refused access through and the turnout was so large that people lined the roof of the church so that they might witness his burial.
The Scouts have even used the crypt for their meetings which is clear from the old painted graffiti images of wolves and black cats in the centre vaults. Used as storage over the years there’s a box of papers down here which include some wonderful 60s architectural sketches of St Philip’s Parish Club and Rectory, complete with two strolling figures in the foreground looking remarkably similar to those made famous by Lowry...
The crypt has other uses and during the war it was used as shelters; you can spot at the far end on both sides, two small sets of stairs and handrails that lead to nowhere. These were new entrances added during the war that have since been bricked up.
United Reform Church // Chapel Street
Chapel Street and Hope United Reformed Church was Grade II listed in 1980. Dating back to 1819 the building is unlike any other in the area, a simplistic style on one level with a basement beneath. Unlike many of the surrounding buildings, the church looks modern and remains in great condition. Chapel Street Community Arts base themselves here regularly running workshops and hosting exhibitions. The church is not to be confused with Salford Central United Reform Church which stood until 2011 on a tram route into MediaCity. The stunning old church was locally listed as being of historic interest and had a beautiful dome and rooftop playground, but one day the dome vanished! There had been proposals by a developer to demolish the site and an application was submitted in order to make the site immune from being protected by English Heritage. When the dome disappeared so too did the architectural integrity of the church, English Heritage granted the immunity stating that the dome had been the key feature of the original design and its loss significant. After immunity was granted it was possible to demolish the building, which was done in just two days time.
Minut Men // ` university of salford
Whilst on The Crescent, continue towards Salford Universityâ€™s Allerton building and there you will find the striking Minut Men by William Mitchell. The three figures are in a kind of Aztec style and inset with mosaics. Each figure, sometimes referred to as Faith, Hope and Charity, stands 15 feet in heigh and weighs around 5 tons. Each is positioned so that the morning and evening sun falls directly on their faces and the pavement beneath had matching carvings so that the complete set up resembled a chess board.
â€œWhat the hell is that?â€? Prince Philip Opening The Salford Technical College June 1967 images courtesy of William & Joy Mitchell
A specialist in post-war architectural sculpture and recipient of the silver medal, mitchell is a great believer in art and architecture merging as one and many of his works can be viewed in functional buildings around the country such as office blocks, educational facilities and hotels. In Manchester you can find his works including a giant mural made of old pianos and bottle tops found in the foyer of the Mecure Hotel at Piccadilly Gardens; a smaller mural in the reception area of CIS Tower; around the lift shaft at Gateway House; and carvings on the exterior of the Humanities Building off Oxford Road. Always experimenting with new techniques and materials, according to an interview with The Shrieking Violet, Mitchell realised after making his Minut Men statues that he would have to set fire to them on site in order to remove the plastic moulds. 21
mitchell has never quite been recognised; seen as too experimental by some and too closely linked with architecture by others. It seems that finally this viewpoint is altering, with one of his works in Islington being the first mural to be listed in its own right.
a Skyliner production www.theskyliner.org
Photography by Jennifer Brookes www.followyourarts.blogspot.co.uk @stripeyflowers thanks to
Sounds From the Other City andrew brooks photography Manchester Modernist Society Joy and William Mitchell
copyyright ÂŠ 2012 Hayley Flynn
Published on May 4, 2012