The Changing Face of Manchester – Salford

We have looked through our archives again to see how sections of Great Britain have changed throughout the 20th century (see how the Isle of DogsGlasgow Docks and Greenland Docks have changed). In this blog, we will have a look at the extensive regeneration Salford Docks which were originally constructed by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and opened in 1894 by Queen Victoria. On a side note – have a look for Old Trafford!

The area was first mapped by Geographers’ A-Z Map Company during the 1950s in the A-Z Street Atlas of Manchester.

Salford Docks grew in importance during their commercial lifetime and were the third busiest port in Britain at the height of their popularity. However, with the general decline in the shipping industry after containerisation and the size of ships being limited by the size of the Manchester Ship Canal the docks began to decline and the map below dating from the 1960s is how the docks looked before the decline of the 1970s and complete closure in 1982.

Salford Quays in the A-Z Premier Map of Manchester

The Salford Docks closed in 1982. One year later Salford City Council acquired parts of the docks from the Manchester Ship Canal and renamed the area Salford Quays starting the process of redevelopment as laid out in the Salford Quays Development Plan. This plan involved the improvement of water quality throughout the canal and eventually the reintroduction of fish into the environment.

The infrastructure of the docks was modified to what we can see today (see the slides below and the final image from 2017). A system of internal waterways, roads, bridges to bring watersports and businesses to a newly developed area of the city.

See the changes in the area from 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.


Salford Quays now contains multiple businesses, The Lowry Museum, residential developments and transport links including the Eccles Line of the Manchester Metrolink.

A-Z Maps produce a range of publications, gifts and digital data for all of Great Britain and we have a host of archive and current map data that is available for purchase. Please get in touch with us for more information.

Salford Quays in the 2017 A-Z Street data.

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