In the 1960s, acclaimed photographer Shirley Baker captured children playing on wastelands created by slum clearance in Salford. By the late 1980s parts of the city were littered with burnt-out cars, semi-derelict housing, and grim tower blocks. But now, with a population boom, a revival of the ship canal, and swish new places to live and work, Salford is undergoing a renaissance.
Things were so bad in the 90s that the Langworthy district saw a mass exodus of families. Homeowners became trapped by negative equity as once pristine back-to-back terraced homes were let by absentee landlords and became drug dens and places to stash stolen goods. It prompted a visit by the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw. Physically parts of the twin-city remained the Dirty Old Town - which local boy Ewan MacColl eulogized in the late forties - despite the impressive irrepressible spirit of its citizens. But a drive around the borough now reveals that in the last two decades there has been the colossal change in the fabric and prospects of the city. The aspirational tone of a report to the council’s Health and Well Being Board in November captured the mood.
“However, it’s important to make sure everyone benefits from this growth – that we get good, well-paid jobs, quality housing, including affordable homes. “It’s also crucial that the infrastructure such as schools and health facilities are there to support this growth; we’ve already created extra capacity in local schools and are working with our partners to get the best healthcare we can now and in the future.”