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The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
THIS IS THE NEW DESIGNER OUTLET. Of great personal significance to me is that it was my pleasure to open the Designer Outlet in 2001. I think the building is very much a representation of the sort of changes that are taking place in Salford. Historically, I suppose people wouldn't expect a designer outlet to be well patronised and used in Salford, but the fact that has opened and that it's successful, is characteristic of the transformation that has taken place in the city over the past 20 years.

Architecturally it blends in with the design plan of the Quays, and its location on the waterfront is very striking. It's not what one would expect from an inner city industrial area. When I opened it, we went outside and looked at the exterior. It has the appearance of a building you might see in Sydney Australia, not something you would expect to see here, based on our history and heritage. It is now, I would argue, one of the key features of the new, confident Salford. And I like the idea of aquatic life coming back to the cleaned up waters of the grimy docks, such as the swan. Is that Salford? Well we're saying that it is - this is the new Salford!

EWM says: On the day I took this photo I found the visual impact of the new ensemble of buildings quite stunning in the bright sunshine. Inside, the Designer Outlet reminds me of the glitzy and glamorous shopping malls of the United Arab Emirates.

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
SALFORD ROYAL HOSPITAL is a significant feature on the Chapel St corridor. It used to be the principal infirmary in the old city of Salford, but it has now closed down as a hospital. Driving round and meeting local communities, I find there's still a mixture of sadness and regret at its closing down as a hospital. It was very highly regarded. A lot of local people were born there, their parents and grandparents were treated there. There's still a very warm feeling towards the actual building - I've picked this up at least half a dozen times from different groups. In World War II it was bombed and a number of nurses were killed. There was a memorial during my mayoral year to recognise those nurses who died, and I attended the memorial, which was attended by many nurses from around the north west. It's sad that it's closed down as a hospital but it's good that the key architectural features have been retained in the renovated building.

EWM says: I've received messages from EWM readers who remember the WW2 bombing raid which destroyed the right hand side of the building. As we can see in the picture, the two halves are not symmetrical. It's good that the facade has been retained and people are now living there.

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
THIS IS THE RIVER IRWELL IN INDUSTRIAL TIMES as it passes by the old racecourse area, the Cliff. I understand this photo was taken by one of your readers Berne Leng in the 1950's during Salford's industrial era. This photo illustrates how industry affects everything, not just the economy and employment prospects of the area, but also the wider environment. It shows quite starkly how during the early part of the last century we were driven by the need for economic growth, but we ignored the impact on the environment. We have a grimy, unattractive river and bank, and a smoky, unhealthy looking atmosphere. There's no sign of any aquatic life. That's how it was.

EWM says: The river Irwell was well known for the foam caused by industrial effluent. It was captured in the film 'Hobson's Choice'. This is how I remember the Irwell up till not so long ago. On Monday 12 August 2002, using his directions, I found the spot where Berne Leng took the photo and re-photographed it. There's a footbridge, and the river is cleaner, but otherwise not much appears to have changed.


The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
THIS IS THE RIVER IRWELL in contemporary times. The ward I represent, Broughton, is on the right hand bank in this photo. Today we have a cleaner atmosphere. The fish are back, birds are using it. Bankside and water-based flora are making an appearance.

EWM says: This could be the River Severn in Gloucestershire or maybe the Thames or Isis in Oxfordshire. Like the River Severn, the Irwell can rise very high, but thanks to strengthened river banks, flooding in Salford is a thing of the past.

The Mayor of the City of Salford says:
THE KEY ASPECT OF THE NEW LOWRY HOTEL is that it's the first five star hotel in the City of Salford and the Greater Manchester area, but I think it's also a representation of the changing face of Salford. It's located on the bank of the Irwell, only about a mile away from two other key architectural features of this area, the Cathedral and Salford Royal Hospital. We have a good juxtaposition in that we've retained the best of the past and we're now attracting the best of the present and the future, in terms of quality and design and in the provision of employment. The other key is that it's located on the river bank opposite the city centre of Manchester and is connected to it by the Calatrava Bridge, which has a very attractive and modern design, and has won awards. The Lowry Hotel is new, it's confident looking, modernist and minimalist.

EWM says: The new hotel is quite impressive on the exterior and very well appointed inside, in a restrained contemporary style. 10 years ago this was a piece of waste ground on a disused industrial site next to the Irwell. Today things are improving all the time.

COUNCILLOR JIM KING is originally from Clifden Co Galway, and moved to Salford in 1970 Since 1984 he has represented the ward of Broughton. Eligibility for the role of Mayor depends on length of service as a city councillor. When the opportunity arose in 2001 he was at first unsure, but decided to accept the post, as he reckoned this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

One of his main achievements is the Citizens Awards Scheme, which recognises the contributions of people from or with strong connections to the City of Salford. Many individuals unsung in the media have been rewarded for their work with local communities. The most famous recipient of Councillor King's award is singer Russell Watson, who said that being given official recognition in his home city meant more to him than international awards or chart successes.

During his mayoral year, Councillor King has a schedule of over 600 official engagements. In the Mayor's Parlour at Swinton Civic Centre, he has welcomed scores of visitors, including diplomats, industrialists, community leaders, representatives from twin towns and a group of newly arrived Filipino nurses.

During his mayoral year, Cllr King decided to reintroduce the Mayor's Ball, but on the basis of it being a self-funding charity ball. It was an acclaimed success and raised thousands of pounds for the Mayor's Charity.

EWM says: Councillor King combines the decorum required of the First Citizen of the City with a keen sense of humour and a fondness for conversation. It was an honour to meet him, and I should add, his staff also make very nice tea and sandwiches.

Finally I asked Councillor King what is it that makes Salford different and distinct from Manchester?
One of the key differences is that we are very rooted in history: Our charter goes back to the 1230's and granted Salford the right to hold a market. Prior to that, trading had to be done under the auspices of Royalty. The other is that we recognise the Salford hundred is important in terms of its original spread. There's a less 'driven' feeling about the city, it's more relaxed - when you cross the Irwell from Manchester, you don't come into another busy city centre. I would say the attitude of the people is different. They are very welcoming very friendly, very willing to accept people from different backgrounds.

You can find out more about the current Mayor of the City of Salford, and about the authority on the official website

THAT'S ALL FROM THIS UPDATE of Eyewitness in Manchester. More photos and articles will appear shortly. All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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