Tram and train to Salford Crescent, then walking along the Crescent, the buildings here reflect how prosperous Salford once was and even what commerce and industry thrived here:
I have never been on this stretch of the Irwell, even though it is inner city (I suppose intra city is a better description as it does define the border between the twin cities), but there is sign of revival with cranes, the new build comes I guess for more appartments to feed the demand for Manchester’s job market. There was some controversy around branding the Chapel Street Salford renovations as Manchester, they still have not got over the racecourse I described last time.
They have greened the area around here, and although it doesn’t look it in the picture, the park to my left gives a pleasant air to the walk, and what once was Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town, looks spruced up and preparing for the future, I wish her well.
Another bridge , but this time not praising a local Alderman
But in the middle, I see I have spoken too soon:
Staying on the Salford side, it is strange to see familiar landmarks peeping out from unusual angles.
There are a few birds on the river, plenty of ducks, and even a solitary heron:
As I am approaching Manchester, the river becomes harder to follow, and I think how good an idea it would be if they could build a riverside walk through the canyon of the buildings, it would have to be suspended, but it could open up a interesting walk through the centre. After all the technology is there, as is some of the infrastructure.
The Irwell from the Cathedral once was used for pleasure trips to Pomona and beyond, and that was when it was an unpleasant sewer, so it is not so far fetched, river taxis did make the journey recently, but I think they died for lack of council support.
Crossing into town at Wellington Bridge, I have to make my way around Victoria, which straddles the Irk at this point, and blocks off access to the Manchester side.
Just after Victoria there is the Palatine building. This has now been demolished by Chethams who never liked it, but it was built as a Railway Hotel to serve the newly constructed Victoria Station, it was not the first of its kind, but certainly was one of the earliest, The top floor was accessible by a long ramp and was used to stable horses! Children at the school could see horses peeking out of the windows. A shame it has gone, I am not sure that demolishing it has improved the view of the school, just given them a better view of the river.
It’s then a zig zag across town as I try to keep as near to the river as possible, but as you can see, we will never get a riverside like other cities as people built right against it.
Little bits of history can be found in surprising statues. Joseph Brotherton (1783-1857) was Salford’s first MP, and helped establish Peel Park, campaigned against the death penalty, opened a fund to support victims of the Peterloo massacre, see even my walks coincide with my Heatons blogs, having met Hugh Hornby Birley recently. His wife Martha wrote the first Vegetarian Cookbook – Vegetabel Cookery.
Having done so much for Salford, the council gave him a statue in Peel Park, but then dismantled it in 1954 and sold it for scrap in 1969. Fortunately the scrap dealer was aware of his importance, and the rivalry between the cities, so he persuaded them to buy it, and now he looks balefully across to the city he once represented which thought so much of him that they scrapped his statue.
The Spinningfields part of the River has been opened up as that area becomes Manchester’s answer to Canary Wharf (and it is growing quickly, every time I visit there is more there to do and see. There are restaurants along the riverside here and even a river walkway.
A little further along though is the Mark Addy, once a thriving pub for city types, and one which sold mammoth cheese ploughmans (totally impossible to finish in one sitting , they gave you a doggy bag), but damaged by floods in 2015, so looking folorn and closed though.
There are plans to reopen it, but apparently it will be a while, even now three years after this picture it is still closed.
A little further down there are works in progress for the Ordsall Chord, to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations, thankfully this is now open.
The Bridgewater joins the river at this point, via the Hulme Locks branch canal.
Further down the river, having left the city, there is building work on Pomona Island, I know they are flats, and people wanted to leave it wild, but it was a tip, and life is once more breathed into Pomona, which once was a big leisure area for the good folk of Manchester
I am not sure where the Manchester Ship Canal starts, but the river is certainly becoming wider. I take a quick diversion to take a photograph of Ordsall Hall, which stands almost lost in inner city Salford, dating back to 1251. Legend has it that the gunpowder plot was hatched here.
The route back at the river has been renovated, but apparently not very well.
One last look at the cityscape of Manchester,
And then it is onward to Salford Quays, which is fortunately not so derelict.
It is a little more populated here, there is even someone doing Tai Chi on the river path
I award her a Blue Peter Badge for effort
I guess my question as to the start of the Irwell is answered ahead as I see locks ahead
but no, it is still river beyond this point, but there is Centenary Bridge, opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on 1 December 1994
After that it was a short walk into Eccles, a look at the church, and back to the tramstop next to Morrisons, aka Bettabuys in Coronation Street.
14 miles covered today, quite a good walk. A heck of a lot to see, and much I had never seen before, even though I have been visiting Manchester for all of my 60 years, and also how much has changed in the short time since I made this walk, the Palatine gone, the Ordsall chord up, Flats on Pomona Island, many more flats built, and cranes everywhere.
Copyright 2019 Allan Russell