Salford Firsts Sculpture

Salford Firsts Horse
Salford Firsts Horse

Salford is a city that launched the Industrial Revolution amongst many other ‘firsts’ has celebrated them with a stunning new sculpture in Bexley Square off Chapel Street.

The sculpture by world renowned artist Emma Rodgers is a cast bronze horse and lamppost decorated with symbols of Salford’s pioneering history and famous sons and daughters.

Salford was the first city to have horse drawn trams running along Chapel Street and horses also worked underground in coal mines and along the canal system.

The horse’s veins mirror the Bridgewater Canal which was a pivotal part of the Industrial Revolution. Train tracks run along the bridle symbolising the first public railway through Eccles and across Chat Moss in 1830 and books run through the mane as England’s first free public library opened in Salford in 1850.

Each book represents a piece of Salford’s history and remembers famous sons and daughters such as Emmeline Pankhurst and scientist James Prescott Joules who lived locally. A poppy has been added to honour the Salford Pals who died in World War One and there is a tribute to Vimto as the first factory was in Chapel Street. 

“The name Salford derives from an Old English word meaning willows by the ford and this is symbolised by the entwined trees at the top of the lamp post, as well as signifying that Chapel Street was the first street in England to be lit by gas in 1805.”

There is also a dog cocking its leg against the lamp-post in tribute to Salford artist, Harold Riley and his famous sketches of dogs.

Messages and sayings from famous Salfordians also adorn the sculpture, including poet John Cooper Clark, musicians Graham Nash and Peter Hook (Hooky) and actor Albert Finney.


Sign up for our e-newsletter

Keep up to date with our latest news, details of our events and ideas for days out delivered straight to your inbox.