Salford Firsts Sculpture

Salford Firsts Horse
Salford Firsts Horse


Discover a new sculpture in the heart of Chapel Street.

Salford’s pioneering history is celebrated in a stunning new sculpture, that’s a must-see for any visit to the Chapel Street area. Located in Bexley Square, the sculpture of a horse references the unique firsts that the city can boast as well as some it’s most famous sons and daughters.

The sculpture recognises Salford as the home to England’s first public library, first public park, and first horse drawn bus service – amongst many other firsts. The cast bronze horse and lamppost were created by world-renowned artist Emma Rodgers and is the latest edition to the thriving Bexley Square, an area that has its own place in history as the venue of the massacre of Bexley Square of 1931.

What to look out for

See if you can find these references to Salford’s famous firsts:

  • Train tracks run along the horse’s bridle symbolise 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.
  • The horse itself represents the first city to have horse drawn buses which ran along Chapel Street
  • The Bridgewater Canal which began in Worsley in 1761, and was a pivotal part of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Books which each represent 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 that honours the Salford Pals who died in World War One
  • A tribute to Vimto as the first factory was in Chapel Street.
  • Entwined trees at the top of the lamp post symbolizing the name Salford which derives from an Old English word meaning willows by the ford
  • The lamp post itself signifies Chapel Street, the first street in England to be lit by gas in 1805
  • A dog cocking its leg against the lamp post is a 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.

Find out more about this unique piece of public art with a new film by local film maker Paul Kearton:

Salford Firsts video 

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