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Discover Salford - A Lively City

Visit Salford | Discover the history in the city

Your stories

Salford's heritage is best told by the people who were there - some local Salford lads and lasses told us their memories of life in Salford past.

James Bradish
James Bradish of Moss Bank Road, Wardley, told us his story of his time as a merchant seaman from 1948 to 1960. He travelled all over the world from Europe to America and Canada, but has a special place in his heart for Salford. "There was a distinct atmosphere to the docks, as unlike with many ports you only had to walk a short way to reach town. We shouldn't deny the past because it made us what we are today. If you think back it gives you a sense of what you have achieved. We didn't just arrive here from nowhere."

Ann Veronica Chesworth
I worked as a Scientific Technical Officer at a branch of the National Coal Board in Salford in 1959 and early 1960, transferring from the Stokenchurch branch, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, just before emigrating to Canada with my new husband, who was a post-graduate student at Manchester University.

I found Salford smokey inside and outside and I contracted chronic bronchitis, so that instead of experiments I was sidelined to re-finish laboratory benches (the cold, clean air of eastern Canada restored my health).

The great delight for me, a southener, was the cafeteria which served stuffed heart on Thursdays, a dish that I had previously never even heard of, yet enjoyed immensely. I don't suppose, in these days of fast food, it is served today.

Ray Traynor
Ray Traynor, 64, was born in Ordsall and left school in 1957 when he was 15. His first job was at Dickie Howarth's cotton mill, where his mother also worked.

"It was very noisy. And a lot of people out of there suffered with ear conditions, they went hard of hearing because of the noise. There was no such things as ear muffs then. I left that place, and I went in to the Dock Office, where it was a bit quieter."

Ray did a number of jobs around the docks, including messenger boy, maintenance, repairing the railway tracks, ship's rigger, before getting a job on the barges, Bridgewater Barges:

"They used to load the grain off the ships into the barges here, go down here, down to the river Irwell, through the docks, into the Bridgewater Canal, down to Kellogg's, and discharge the grain at Kellogg's."

At 20, Ray made the move back to the docks, where he was one of the youngest dockers for the National Dock Labour Board. Ray worked on lots of different ships of all shapes and sizes and carrying different cargoes.

"Cotton, grain, timber, sheets of glass, cars - any cargo that was wanted in Canada, they would carry. They was that tall that they used to cut the top off the funnel off them. They used to unbolt the funnel and they used to leave it down Eastham so that it wouldn't get stuck under the bridges coming up. So sometimes, when you came in the Canal, you'd see about six different funnels lying around, you could tell which companies they was off - Clan Line, Strick Line, United States Line Lykes Line."

When the docks began to decline, Ray made a career change like many of the dockers and went to sea, becoming an Able Seaman, working on a variety of ships. Ray was also in the Merchant Navy, serving for 33 years and in 4 war zones, including the Falklands.

Salford Quays has seen huge changes and redevelopment since Ray worked on the docks.

"I like the Quays, I like it the way it is, it's nice, very nice; it'll be nice when it's all finished. I thought they'd've left a row of sheds up, though, just to keep a little bit of character. It'd be nice if they could get a couple of old ships down there as well..."

Today, Ray is still working around the docks - now known as Salford Quays - for the Manchester Ship Canal Company. He is a security officer and patrols the site, checking water standards and generally making sure the area around the water is safe





Shipping cranes at Salford Quays

Manchester Ship Canal

Manchester Ship Canal

The Bridgewater Canal

Modern day Salford Quays

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