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Salford is located in Greater Manchester
Area 8.1 sq mi (21 km2)
Population 103,886 (2011 Census)
• Density 8,981/sq mi (3,468/km2)
Demonym Salfordian
OS grid reference SJ805985
• London 164 mi (264 km) SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SALFORD
Postcode district M3, M5–M7, M50
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Salford and Eccles
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°28′59″N 2°17′35″W / 53.4830°N 2.2931°W / 53.4830; -2.2931

Salford is a city and the core settlement of the wider City of Salford metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. In 2011, Salford had a population of 103,886. It is also the second and only other city in the county after neighbouring Manchester. Salford is located in a meander of the River Irwell which forms part of its boundary with Manchester. The former County Borough of Salford, which also included Broughton, Pendleton and Kersal, was granted city status in 1926. In 1974 the wider Metropolitan Borough of the City of Salford was established with responsibility for a significantly larger region.

Historically in Lancashire, Salford was the judicial seat of the ancient hundred of Salfordshire. It was granted a charter by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, in about 1230, making Salford a free borough of greater cultural and commercial importance than its neighbour Manchester. The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries reversed that relationship.

Salford became a major cotton and silk spinning and weaving factory town in the 18th and 19th centuries and important inland port on the Manchester Ship Canal from 1894. Industries declined in the 20th century, causing economic depression, and Salford became a place of contrasts, with regenerated inner-city areas like Salford Quays next to some of the most socially deprived and violent areas in England.

Salford is home to the University of Salford, and has seen several firsts, including the world's first free public library, and the first street to be lit by gas. Salford's MediaCityUK became the headquarters of CBBC and BBC Sport in 2011, joined by ITV Granada in 2013.

Salford is directly across the River Irwell opposite Manchester to the northwest and to the north of Old Trafford, southeast of Bolton and south of Bury.

Other places named Salford

  • Salford, an area South West of the town centre in Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  • Salford, Bedfordshire, a village near Milton Keynes- South East England
  • Salford, Oxfordshire, a village in South East England
  • Salford, a hamlet adjacent to the village of Wavendon, in Buckinghamshire, South East England
  • Salford Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, a settlement in the United States
  • Salford, a locality within South-West Oxford, Ontario, a township in Canada
  • Salfords, a village in Surrey, South East England
  • Salford Priors, a village on the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border

See also


Salford compared
2001 UK Census Salford City of Salford England
Population of working age 52,992 216,103 35,532,091
Full-time employment 34.0% 39.3% 40.8%
Part-time employment 9.6% 10.6% 11.8%
Self-employed 4.6% 5.4% 8.3%
Unemployed 4.3% 3.8% 3.3%
Retired 12.0% 13.5% 13.5%

For decades Salford's economy was heavily dependent on manufacturing industry, especially textiles and engineering. However, since the Second World War, Salford has experienced decades of growing unemployment as these sectors diminished and new sectors located out of town in areas with better transport links. Between 1965 and 1991 the city lost over 49,000 jobs, or more than 32% of its employment base. Several factors contributed to this decline, not least changes in the national and international economies, the introduction of new technology and the concentration of investment in London and South East England. The biggest job losses were experienced in Salford's traditional industries and although the service sector expanded during this period, it was unable to compensate for the decline in manufacturing.

The inner city's main shopping area is Salford Shopping City, Pendleton – colloquially referred to as "Salford Precinct" – close to the University of Salford. It is unique in that the main shopping centre is actually in the suburb of Pendleton rather than Salford itself. Although there are certain shops and businesses along the main A6 road.

Pendleton Shopping Centre
Salford Precinct was opened in the 1970s

The Lowry Hotel, the first five-star hotel to be built in Greater Manchester, is on the Salford side of the River Irwell.

Salford is credited as the birthplace of the Bush Roller Chain. Hans Renold, a Swiss-born engineer, came to Salford in the late 19th century. In 1879 he purchased a small textile-chain making business in Ordsall from James Slater and founded the Hans Renold Company, what is now Renold, a firm which still produces chains. Renold invented the bush roller chain shortly after and began producing it. It is the type of chain most commonly used for transmission of mechanical power on bicycles, motorbikes, to industrial and agricultural machinery to uses as varied as rollercoasters and escalators.

According to the 2001 UK census, the industry of employment of Salford's residents aged 16–74 was 18.0% retail and wholesale, 14.4% property and business services, 12.3% manufacturing, 11.7% health and social work, 8.6% education, 7.3% transport and communications, 6.8% hotels and restaurants, 5.8% construction, 4.4% finance, 4.2% public administration, 0.6% energy and water supply, 0.3% agriculture, 0.1% mining, and 5.7% other. Compared with national figures, Salford had a relatively low percentage of residents working in agriculture. The census recorded the economic activity of residents aged 16–74, 4.4% students were with jobs, 9.1% students without jobs, 6.3% looking after home or family, 11.2% permanently sick or disabled, and 4.8% economically inactive for other reasons. The proportion of students economically active in Salford was higher than the City of Salford and England averages (3.0% and 2.6% respectively); the same is true for economically inactive students (5.1% in City of Salford and 4.7% in England). The rest of the figures were roughly inline with national trends.


Salford compared
2001 UK census Salford City of Salford England
Total population 72,750 210,145 49,138,831
White 93.9% 96.1% 91%
Asian 1.9% 1.4% 4.6%
Black 1.2% 1.2% 2.3%

As of the 2001 UK census, Salford had a population of 72,750. The 2001 population density was 9,151 per mi2 (3,533 per km2), with a 100 to 98.4 female-to-male ratio. Of those over 16 years age, 44.0% were single (never married) and 36.7% married. Salford's 32,576 households included 44.1% one-person, 22.0% married couples living together, 7.6% were co-habiting couples, and 13.3% single parents with their children. Of those aged 16–74, 37.3% had no academic qualifications, similar to that of 35.5% in all of the City of Salford but significantly higher than 28.9% in all of England. 15.9% of Salford's residents aged 16–74 had an educational qualification such as first degree, higher degree, qualified teacher status, qualified medical doctor, qualified dentist, qualified nurse, midwife, health visitor, etc. compared to 20% nationwide.

As a result of 19th-century industrialisation, Salford has had "a special place in the history of the British working class"; together with Manchester it had the world's "first fully formed industrial working class". Salford has not, in general, attracted the same minority ethnic and cosmopolitan communities as in other parts of Greater Manchester, although it did attract significant numbers of Irish in the mid-19th century. Many migrated to Salford because of the Great Hunger in Ireland combined with Salford's reputation as a hub for employment in its factories and docks. In 1848, Salford Roman Catholic Cathedral opened, reflecting the large Irish-born community in Salford at that time.

In the decades following the Second World War, Salford experienced significant population decline, as residents followed employment opportunities to other locations in Greater Manchester, taking advantage of a greater choice in the type and location of housing.

Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 162,452 172,998 234,045 223,438 166,386 178,194 155,090 131,006 98,343 79,755 72,750

County Borough 1901–1971 • Urban Subdivision 1981–2001

In 2011, Salford had a population of 103,886, which is about the same size as Rochdale. The population increased from 72,750 in the previous census, mainly due to boundary changes.

Salford compared 2011 Salford USD Salford Borough
White British 77.3% 84.4%
Asian 5.5% 4.1%
Black 4.6% 2.8%

In 2011, 22.7% of the population in the Salford USD (Urban Subdivision) were non-white British compared with 15.6% for the surrounding borough. The USD had a slightly larger percentage of Asian and black people. Salford has become a lot more ethnically diverse since the previous census mostly due to boundary changes but also due to the relocation of many BBC establishments from London between 2011 and 2012. This has created many jobs and encouraged migration to the area, which was previously very deprived since the loss of many traditional industries in the 20th century.


Salford has a notable history in sports, which includes hosting some of the events in the 2002 Commonwealth Games: rugby league, speedway, and horse racing. Salford had a venue for horse racing since the 17th century; the earliest record of racing at Kersal Moor dates from 1687.

Salford Red Devils is the city's rugby league club and has been based in Salford since 1873. They participate in the Super League. Salford now play all home games at the AJ Bell Stadium. Junior rugby league is also played within Salford's boundaries, with Langworthy Reds, Folly Lane and Salford City Roosters amongst other clubs providing playing personnel to the senior club.

The Premiership side Sale Sharks play their home games at the AJ Bell Stadium since the start of the 2012–13 season

Salford Quays has been used as a major international triathlon site, but a 2009 aquathlon was cancelled because of a lack of competitors.

During the early part of the 20th century speedway was staged at Albion Stadium.

Prior to Salford City's promotion to the Football League in 2019, Salford was one of the largest settlements in the UK without a league football team;. In the formative years of the sport the region's football heartland was in east Manchester, with few teams to the west. Salford City are Salford's only representatives in the Football League, playing in League Two, the fourth tier of English football, as of the 2019–20 season.


Peel building salford university
Established in 1967, the University of Salford is one of four universities in Greater Manchester. It has some 19,000 students.

Despite the rapid progress made during the Industrial Revolution, by 1851 education in Salford was judged "inadequate to the wants of the population", and for those children who did get schooling "order and cleanliness were little regarded ... [they] were for the most part crowded in close and dirty rooms".

Salford has thirty-two primary schools, and five secondary schools. Until recently there were three main 6th form and FE colleges: Pendleton College, Eccles College and Salford College. They merged to create Salford City College in January 2009.

The University of Salford, a plate glass university, is one of four in Greater Manchester. It has its origins in the former Royal Technical College, which was granted the status of a College of Advanced Technology (CAT), on 2 November 1956. In November 1963 the Robbins Report recommended that the CATs should become technological universities; and on 4 April 1967 a Charter was established creating the University of Salford. The university is undergoing £150M of redevelopment through investment in new facilities, including a £10M law school and a £22M building for health and social care, which were opened in 2006.

The University of Salford has over 19,000 students, and was ranked 81st in the UK by The Times newspaper. In 2007, the university received nearly 17,000 applications for 3,660 places, and the drop-out rate from the university was 25%. Of the students graduating, 50% gained first class or 2:1 degrees, below the national average of about 55%. The level of student satisfaction in the 2009 survey ranged from 62% to 94%, depending on subject.


Northern Rail 142 048 Salford Central
A British Rail Class 142 train departing from Salford Central railway station

One of the earliest transport schemes in Salford was constructed by the Salford to Wigan Turnpike trust, by an Act of Parliament of 1753. Turnpike roads had a huge impact on the nature of business transport around the region. Packhorses were superseded by wagons, and merchants would no longer accompany their caravans to markets and fairs, instead sending agents with samples, and dispatching the goods at a later date. However, road transport was not without its problems, and in 1808 the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal was connected to the River Irwell. In the main a coal-carrying canal, it provided a valuable boost to the economies of Salford and Manchester, with a large number of wharves at its terminus in Salford. Sixteen years later John Greenwood started the first bus operation from Pendleton to Market Street, Manchester.

The Liverpool & Manchester Railway – the world's first steam driven inter-city passenger railway – opened through Salford on 15 September 1830. The railway was primarily built to provide faster transport of materials and goods between the Port of Liverpool and mills in Manchester and surrounding towns, and stopped along the route at Ordsall Lane railway station. Almost eight years later the Manchester and Bolton Railway was opened, terminating at Salford Central railway station.

Tram lines salford
Tram services once criss-crossed Salford. Due to landslips further along the road, this section of line in Broughton is still visible.

By 1801 the population of both Manchester and Salford was about 94,000. By 1861 this had risen to about 460,000, and so in the same year John Greenwood Jr. made an application to Salford Borough Council and to the Pendleton Turnpike Trust, to build a tramway from Pendleton to Albert Bridge in Salford. The system was innovative in that the rails were designed to be 'flush' with the road surface, with a third central rail to accommodate a perambulator wheel attached to the front axle of the omnibus. Approval was granted and work commenced immediately, with the horse-pulled tramway finished in September 1861. It remained in use for a further eleven years when the condition of the track had deteriorated such that the council ordered it removed. The Tramways Act 1870 allowed councils to construct their own tramways, and on 17 May 1877 the 'Manchester and Salford Tramways' opened for business. The network of lines was largely complete by September 1880, the company changed its name to the Manchester Carriage & Tramways Company, and the system reached its peak in the 1890s. A steam tramway was opened on 12 April 1883 from Bury to Higher Broughton. The vehicles provoked letters of complaints from residents about the associated noise, dirt, and grease, and by 1888 the route was eventually curtailed to Besses o' th' Barn.

Electric trams were a common sight in early 20th century Salford, and had from 1901 replaced the earlier horse-drawn vehicles. A network of lines crossed the region, with coordinated services running through Salford, Manchester and the surrounding areas. Many served the new suburban housing and industrial developments built at the time, but in 1947 they were withdrawn in favour of more practical services – buses. The city is served by a complex road infrastructure, with connections from the M602 motorway to several major motorways, and A-roads including the A57 Regent Road and the A6042 Trinity Way. Salford City Council has also created both advisory and mandatory cycle lanes across the city.

Public transport in Salford is now co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), a county-wide public body with direct operational responsibilities such as supporting (and in some cases running) local bus services, and managing integrated ticketing in Greater Manchester. Salford City Council is responsible for the administration and maintenance of public roads and footpaths throughout the city. The city is served by two railway stations, Salford Central and Salford Crescent. Most train services are provided by Northern Trains, although Salford Crescent is also served by TransPennine Express. Buses run to destinations throughout Salford, the City of Salford, across Greater Manchester and further afield: Pendleton is served by a route to Preston and Blackpool.

The Eccles line of the Manchester Metrolink runs through Salford, with stations at Exchange Quay, Salford Quays, Anchorage, Harbour City, Broadway, Langworthy, Weaste and more recently MediaCityUK. The line was opened in two stages, in 1999 and 2000, as Phase 2 of the system's development.

Since 2020, electric scooters have been available for public hire in central Salford, Salford Quays, Ordsall, Pendleton and at the University of Salford. The e-scooter hire service is operated by shared micromobility company Lime.

Notable people

People from Salford are called Salfordians, and the city has been the birthplace and home to notable people of national and international acclaim. Amongst the most notable persons of historic significance with a connection to Salford are Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the founders of the British suffragette movement, who lived in Salford, and the scientist James Prescott Joule, who was born and raised in Salford. The novelist Walter Greenwood (Love on the Dole) and the dramatist Shelagh Delaney (A Taste of Honey) were both born in, and wrote about, Salford. Musicians Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, who were members of Joy Division – which later reformed as New Order – are both from Salford. Notable Salfordian sportspeople include former England football international and Manchester United F.C. midfielder Paul Scholes, who with several celebrity team mates from his Manchester United playing days bought Salford F.C. Other sporting Salfordians include Olympic Javelin Thrower Shelley Holroyd, English former snooker player Mick Price, who was born in the area, and Great Britain and England rugby league international and current Warrington Wolves front-rower Adrian Morley. Salford is also the hometown of the band Happy Mondays and punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

Composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who was appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 2004, was born in Salford. Actors Albert Finney and Robert Powell were both born and raised in Salford. Another notable resident of Salford is Eddie Colman, the youngest of the Manchester United players to die in the Munich air disaster of 6 February 1958, when only 21. Born at Archie Street in November 1936, he lived in the area all his life and is buried at Weaste Cemetery. His former home was demolished in the early 1970s. Geoff Bent, another Manchester United player who died at Munich, was born in Salford. Journalist Alistair Cooke who wrote and broadcast "Letter from America" for decades on the BBC was born in Salford.

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