OK OK, I said the ‘S’ word. It’s alright, nothing to be afraid of, please don’t run for cover just yet.
The intrepid urban explorer, perhaps equipped with a bicycle, can find some real gems in Salford – honest.
Head north up Ordsall Lane, take a right turning just past Ordsall Hall, and you’ll find yourself on a little-used towpath alongside the Manchester Ship Canal. Unlike at Salford Quays, this is not sanitised, gentrified, bourgeois canalside, all ‘stunning waterfront views from your sophisticated city apartment’ but a place where history is tangible in all its shabby, neglected glory.
A place where the once-busy dock cranes are left in peace to enjoy their retirement, rather than be stripped out like those in rather swisher parts of town were recently.
A place where some really rather wonderful street art is allowed to flourish.
And a place where the spirit of real people, rather than development companies and wealthy landowners seems to shine through. I found it all rather moving.
I suspect that in some mandarin’s office somewhere sits a plan to ‘regenerate’ this part of town as soon as cashflow improves. Investment is no bad thing, but please don’t squeeze out the community and creativity here, it’s a rare and rather beautiful thing.