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Online Exhibition

BBC Centenary

Salford history through 100 years

18 Oct 2022 - 31 Dec 2022
Media City
Clive Knowles

This year sees the 100th anniversary of the BBC. To celebrate this, we are partnering with BBC Archives and the ten local authority archives in Greater Manchester to select items from our collections that highlight how the City has changed over those 100 years.

Below is a selection of images from our digital image archives, showing just that. More images can be found online through our Digital Salford website.

There is also a selection of programmes from the BBC Radio Manchester collection, held at Archives+, discussing some of these changes. If you would like to hear more, there will be a selection accessible at Archives+.

And finally, we also have some videos selected from the BBC Archives related to the city that have been selected by the BBC.


Salford Images

Salford 1920s and 30s

Like many urban areas in the 1920s, Salford was coming to terms with being a city fit for heroes after the Great War. The Salford Medical Officer for Health was looking at ways of educating residents in how to look after themselves, with November 1925 seeing the first ‘Salford Health Week’. In 1926 the King conferred on Salford the status of City, and in 1929 Salford’s Police Chief, Major Godfrey, brought in the radical ‘play streets’ to provide a place for children to play and help reduce the number of road accidents.

In 1930 Salford celebrated 700 years since the granting of its original charter establishing it as a free borough. 1931 saw the Battle of Bexley Square when some 10,000 unemployed workers marched from Liverpool Street to Bexley Square to deliver their demands to the Council meeting within the Town Hall. Upon arriving they were ambushed by mounted police. The rising tensions of war meant that in 1939 Salford children were evacuated to the countryside.

Salford 1920s and 30s

Salford 1940s, 50s and 60s

The Second World War brought conflict to our Cities as the German Luftwaffe bombed strategic locations. Salford and Manchester’s main Blitz came on two consecutive nights the 22nd to 23rd and 23rd to 24th  December 1940 with German pilots hoping to hit locations at the Salford Docks. 1946 saw the largest flood the City had ever seen, with areas of Broughton under water. Post war, the City started to rebuild damaged areas and in 1949 the Medical Officer for Health, John Lancelot Burn, set in motion the procedure for first post war slum clearance. Some 500 houses in the Trinity area were bought by compulsory purchase order and cleared – the first of many areas in the city. 1954 saw Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the City. Lark Hill Place, a collection of original shop fronts made up of those being cleared, was opened within Salford Museum & Art Gallery in 1957. Salford’s College of Advanced Technology received its charter to become the University of Salford in 1967.

Salford 1940s, 50s and 60s

Salford 1970s & 80s

Ordsall Hall, a 14th Century building close to Salford’s busy docks area, was opened as a Museum in 1972. The Local Government Act of 1972 came into effect on 1st April 1974 and Salford Borough Council sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at the last meeting before being replaced by the Metropolitan District Authority. As a part of the 750 charter celebrations a maypole was restored to the green on Broughton Road/Ford Lane in Pendleton. In 1985, after a long decline, the Salford Docks area became a new Enterprise Zone encouraging new businesses to the area.

Salford 1970s and 80s

Salford 1990s and 2000s

Kersal flats were demolished in 1990 when eight of the blocks were brought down all in one go, the Salford Advertiser declaring it a ‘Record!’ The 1990s also saw the development of land at the end of dock 8 into the Lowry Arts centre, a new gallery and theatre complex that would house the City’s collection of Lowry paintings. In 2006, when the BBC started looking to move some of their jobs to Manchester, the land at Dock 9 was selected to be home for the new Media City. Building started in 2007 and it was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.

Salford 1990s and 2000s

BBC Radio Manchester Selection

Below is a small selection of audio files from the BBC Radio Manchester Archives held at Manchester Archives+.



Siobhan Hockton talks to Joyce Whitehead who is teaching a WEA Course on Old Salford. Duration 4:32



Nicola Hill visits Agecroft Fire station to report on the traditional fireman’s pole. Duration 3:07



Mike Leber tells David Oats about the exhibition of L.S. Lowry’s work at Salford City Art Gallery. Duration 2:00


Copyright BBC Copyright BBC Copyright BBC

Voice In The Crowd – Christmas Past

Eric Purnell interviews a man about Christmas 70 or so years go in one of the poorest parts of Salford. He recalls how they made their own entertainment, church going, presents, Christmas Clubs, stealing turkeys and happy family memories. Duration 14:43



Voice In The Crowd – Lamplighter

Interview with a man who used to work for Salford Corporation as a Lamplighter. He gives details of the job which began in 1919. Duration 14:45





Voice In The Crowd – Walter Young

Walter Young talks to Eric Purnell about his interests and life in Manchester during and since World War 2 including Salford, meeting Mr Dobson, his extra-mural activities to promote listening to music and his involvement in broadcasting. Duration 14:53


Copyright BBC Copyright BBC Copyright BBC

BBC Archive videos

The three videos below have been selected by the BBC Archives and are related to Salford: –

Monitor – Shelagh Delaney, 25/9/1960

Item in which Shelagh Delaney, 21 year old author of ‘A Taste of Honey’, looks at Salford, where she grew up and where the action of her plays takes place. Includes great archive of Salford markets.

Monitor – Shelagh Delaney, 1960. Copyright BBC

Tonight – Salford Hanky Pubs, 30/04/1963

Julian Pettifer reports on an area of Salford where housing has been demolished and only the pubs (which are still frequented) are left standing. However their days are also numbered.

Tonight – Salford Hanky Pubs, 1963. Copyright BBC

Nationwide, 23/01/1974

Report by Martin Young, from Salford, Lancashire, about the slum clearance and housing problems in the Lower Broughton area.

Nationwide,1974. Copyright BBC

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