Unlocking Salford Quays





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Nearest, M17 1HE

Unlocking Salford Quays is a major community engagement project supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.  Delivered by The Lowry in 2010 in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the project brought together local communities, artists, performers, writers and historians to explore the rich heritage of the former Salford Docks.

Working closely with five leading artists, groups from Salford helped to create a permanent sculpture trail around The Quays, animating the area’s rich industrial and social history for future generations.  The material gathered and stories shared informed ideas behind the trail artworks and a series of exciting public events.

Visitors can follow the trail to explore a multitude of memories and browse the project website for art, photos, performances, stories and a trail map www.thelowryusq.com

Artist, Broadbent

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SJ 8052896943

Latitude 53.468863
Longitude -2.294795

Made in 2010 with former Salford Dock workers and their families.

Each metal structure in this installation represents a dock workers union card. They are arranged in separate groups emphasising the divide between those in and out of work.

Dockers needed a union card to qualify for work. Labour was on a casual basis, and men gathered at the Dock gates every morning and afternoon to compete for jobs.  Those chosen on merit were selected like cattle for their strength, coordination and speed. The rest returned home disappointed, without a wage. A number of former dockers and their families gave interviews for this project. Some of their names and photographs feature on the cards.

Erie’s Rest
Artist, Ingrid Hu

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SJ 8088397394

Latitude 53.472929
Longitude -2.289472

Made in 2010 with local families from Weaste and Ordsall and Salford based ceramicist Beverley Gee.

The shape of this sculpture echoes the ebb and flow of the Canal. The artist was inspired by stories of an ancestor who claimed to have walked on both the Canal floor during its construction, and the Canal surface when it froze to ice.

The sculpture is decorated with ceramics showing drawings of dockers at work. Their job was to unload a ship’s cargo and load it onto rail wagons lined up along the Docks. The task was heavy and demanding and took place outdoors in all weathers.

Ingrid Hu worked with a number of local families to research the Docks’ history and discussions focused on the quantity and variety of cargo. Imports carried along this once busy waterway included rum from Jamaica, grain from Canada and Texas and timber from the Baltic states.

Factory Girls
Artist, David Appleyard

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SJ 8091096947

Latitude 53.468912
Longitude -2.289048

Made in 2010 with young people from Salford College, Salford Foundation, Eccles Youth Club and Ordsall Community Arts.

This sculpture celebrates the women workers of Metropolitan Vickers, once the largest factory in Western Europe. The forms are inspired by products made at the electrical engineering firm in Trafford Park. Each enamelled figure is named after a former employee.

During the Second World War thousands of women trained in skilled jobs traditionally reserved for men. While their brothers, husbands and fathers served in the armed forces they helped to maintain the production of vital defence equipment. This included instruments for use in radio and radar, as well component parts for over 1,000 Lancaster Bombers.

David Appleyard worked with local young people to explore the lives of teenagers over five decades. Some of the concepts they identified – including the rise and fall of heavy industry and equality in the workplace – helped to shape this artwork.

Nine Dock
Artist, Mor

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SJ 8043697312

Latitude 53.472171

Longitude -2.296212

Made in 2010 with current workers and residents of Salford Quays.

9 Dock was once the largest and most important on Salford Docks. It opened in 1905 and was home to the passenger and shipping company, Manchester Liners. At over half a mile in length 9 Dock was big enough to hold 10 large container ships, enabling the Port to remain internationally competitive.

Since then the area surrounding  9 Dock has dramatically transformed from industrial landscape to luxurious waterside development. Today it is home to residents and businesses including The Lowry and MediaCityUK. This sculpture documents and celebrates that story. The surface is engraved with quotes by local people, who also helped to make decisions about the final shape, materials and colour.

Where the Wild Things Were
Artist, Unusual

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SJ 8036597167

Latitude 53.470866

Longitude -2.297261

Made in 2010 with children from Primrose Hill Primary School, Langworthy Road Primary School and Seedley Primary School.

This sculpture celebrates the impact of the Manchester Ship Canal, a man-made waterway connecting Salford to the sea, and the rest of the world. The Canal was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1894.

The giant blades of elephant grass suggest places beyond the Canal, where ships sailed to and from. Each steel base is engraved with drawings by local children, who imagined the landscape and wildlife of far-off lands. Their sense of wonder mirrors that of Salfordians who witnessed bananas, citrus fruit, cotton and tea arrive here from distant shores for the first time.


Erie's Rest

Factory Girls

Nine Dock

Where the Wild Things Were

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