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IN THIS EDITION OF EWM FROM MANCHESTER'S NEIGHBOURING CITY OF SALFORD, it is my great privilege to have as my guest His Worship The Mayor of the City of Salford, Councillor Jim King. I met the Mayor on two occasions during his mayoral year, which has now ended, and I'm glad to say he accepted my offer to be my guest and share his experience and knowledge of the City of Salford. He looked at a selection of my photographs, some taken especially for this feature. I interviewed the Mayor at the Mayor's Parlour in Swinton Civic Centre .

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
THIS IS SALFORD CIVIC CENTRE in Swinton. It's the administrative headquarters of the new City of Salford. I say new City of Salford, because the current City of Salford consists of five authorities which were amalgamated in 1974. This site was chosen as the headquarters of the new local authority because it's fairly central geographically. Further, this is the former Swinton and Pendlebury town hall and it was decided that to use a town hall other than the old Salford town hall would be an additional unifying factor. It has a more modern feel to it than the old classically designed Town Hall in Bexley Square, off Chapel St. Swinton Civic Centre was built in 1934. It has a simplicity of design and is very functional. It has a uniformity that I like. The Mayor's parlour is located on the first floor to the left of the main entrance.

EWM says: The building is one of the last of the great town halls to be constructed before World War Two and the arrival of modernist civic architecture. It has a spartan quality with windows reminiscent of a French chateau, and a clock tower like a cenotaph. The open lawns at the front add to its grandeur

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
WE NOW HAVE AN ILLUMINATED COAT OF ARMS which was initially designed as a Christmas lights decoration, but because of the popularity and the positive feedback from the public who walk by, we decided to retain it as a permanent feature. That is probably the only addition to the facade since the original building was opened. The ship signifies the waterways, including Salford Docks, later Salford Quays. The five bees represent the growth of the five industrial communities which make up the City of Salford, the shuttle is symbolic of the textile industry which was one of our larger industries.

EWM says: The coat of arms is an attractive feature on the front of Swinton Civic Centre. The illumination has been meticulously crafted to include all the main details of the coat of arms. A very nice piece of work and proof you don't have to go to Blackpool in search of the bright lights!

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
Salford Museum & Art Gallery first opened in November 1850 as the Royal Museum & Public Library. It was built on the site of Lark Hill estate and Mansion, which was purchased by public subscription. The park was named Peel Park after Robert Peel who contributed to the subscription fund. The Library is of special significance as it was the first unconditionally free public library in the country. A recent study revealed that the building is of greater significance than was previously thought: It is an early example in Victorian England of a municipal museum, art gallery and public library.
I have used Salford Museum & Art Gallery on many occasions both for pleasure and business. I simply like the ambiance of the place. It is its 'thereness' as a firm reminder of the past, as the first home of the famous Lowry collection and its adaptability to embrace and display the ever changing face of Salford.
I attended many official ceremonies there, including an event called the 'Life of Riley'. This was an appreciation dinner for Harold Riley, Salford artist, and friend of Lowry. I had to deliver a speech on my contacts with Harold Riley and what I believed to be his place in the life of the City. I also attended the launch of the New Deal for Disabled People by Junior Minister, Maria Eagle. I was asked to speak at the launch and then as Mayor welcomed the Minister to Salford to launch the event.

EWM says: Salford Museum and Art Gallery are undoubtedly one of the city's treasures. Lark Hill Place, the reconstructed street, still provides a vivid and humorous reminder of the Salford of past times. The local history library has many fascinating old photos, maps and books. All in all well worth a visit!

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
SALFORD CATHEDRAL is the headquarters of the Catholic Bishopric of the Salford diocese. It's the leading architectural feature on the Chapel Street corridor. I think it's a very important building to the city because in the past, in order to become a city, one of the conditions was that there had to be a cathedral, and Salford has its own cathedral. The diocese of Salford covers most of the Greater Manchester area. It stretches up to Preston, Lancashire and borders with the bishopric of Liverpool.

EWM says: Catholic churches far beyond the boundaries of the City of Salford are part of the diocese of Salford. South of the Mersey, the diocese is Shrewsbury.

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
WARDLEY HALL is one of the few buildings in the north west that's mentioned in the Domesday Book. The present hall was built in the 16th century, and has had a succession of owners, including the Duke of Bridgewater. Wardley Hall is known as 'The House of the Skull' because a human skull, believed to be that of the martyr Saint Ambrose Barlow, is placed in a glass case in the stairs. The previous owner was Thomas Nuttall, who bought the Hall in 1924 but later decided to sell it when it became known that the East Lancs Road would cut the estate in two. In 1930, after negotiations, the Catholic Diocese of Salford bought the land for use as a catholic cemetery, and Captain Nuttall donated the hall and surrounding land, on condition it would be maintained in its ancient and venerable state. The Bishop of Salford, Bishop Terence Brain, now lives in Wardley Hall.

EWM says: Wardley Hall is a remarkable place, and I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to visit, thanks to Councillor King. It's fitting that a house with Roman Catholic connections going back to the Middle Ages should in the 20th century become the Catholic bishop's residence. That skull must be spooky in the middle of the night though, if you're on your way down the stairs for a cup of cocoa.

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
GOOD OLD ORDSALL HALL! We should thank the city fathers of the 1960's and 70's for protecting this building which at that time was under threat of demolition. Because of its age and its history, it's one of the gems of the region. It's our only grade 1 listed buildings, and it has a lot of anecdotal history. The family who lived there were a Catholic family. Because they were one of the few Catholic families left, the rumour is that Guy Fawkes planned his deeds in the hall. It's historically dubious, but it's a good story! Next to the hall there's a Guy Fawkes Street. Although the hall is very ancient - going back to the 14th century - it's now being incorporated into uses for the local community, which I think is very important. Locally, people feel it's part of them now. It's used by local schools and for costume events. It also stands out in that all round it is mostly modern buildings.

EWM says: It is almost unbelievable that this ancient building, once set in open countryside, should have been under threat of demolition. Ordsall Hall has a fascinating interior. The only thing I'm not keen on is the modern entrance porch, which I've cropped out.

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