Salford is both a city and a metropolitan borough that is part of the Greater Manchester conurbation, created in 1974. It includes several smaller towns and has a total population of around 218,000. Salford’s history is rooted in textile manufacturing during the industrial revolution. The resulting population boom led to the construction of back-to-back terraced housing, much of which is still occupied today.
In the decades after World War II there was a significant economic and population decline in Salford. During the 70s its industrial docks on the Manchester Ship Canal fell into decline and were abandoned in 1982. Salford City Council purchased the disused docks in 1984 and started a major regeneration programme, rebranding it Salford Quays. Now it is a commercial, cultural and residential area. It houses The Lowry arts centre and the Imperial War Museum North. There is also a hub of creative industries, MediaCityUK, chiefly occupied by the BBC, which relocated several of its departments from London. This has helped to put the city back on the national map.
The city is diversifying its economy with leisure spaces, high quality housing and employment opportunities, including digital and creative industries. Salford’s unemployment rate is 10.6%. In addition, a significant 25% of the population is described as economically inactive. Youth unemployment is especially high in the region, as generations of unemployment have taken their toll on work ethics and skills. These figures have contributed to Salford’s status as one of the most economically deprived regions in the UK.