City of Salford
County Borough of Salford
Salford Old Town Hall.jpg

Salford Town Hall (until 31 March 1974)
 • 18615,170 acres (2,090 ha)
 • 19215,202 acres (2,105 ha)
 • 19615,205 acres (2,106 ha)
 • 1861102,449
 • 1901162,452
 • 1971131,006
 • Created1844; 179 years ago (1844)
 • Abolished1974; 49 years ago (1974)
 • Succeeded byCity of Salford
StatusMunicipal borough 1844–1889
County borough 1889–1974 & City 1926–1974
 • MottoIntegrity and Industry
Salford cbc arms.jpg

Salford was, from 1844 to 1974, a local government district in the county of Lancashire in the northwest of England, covering the city of Salford.[1] It was granted city status in 1926.


Free Borough and Police Commissioners

In about 1230, the vill of Salford, Lancashire, was created a free borough by charter granted by Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester. The borough's government was in the hands of a borough-reeve and portmote court. The reeve was elected by the burgesses at large, while the head of the Molyneux family of Sefton presided over the court as hereditary steward of the Hundred of Salford.[2]

In 1791 the first modern local government was established in the area, when the Manchester and Salford Police Act created commissioners to administer the two towns.[3] In 1843 the inhabitant householders petitioned the Privy Council for a charter of incorporation under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835[4] The charter was granted on 16 April 1844, and the Municipal Borough of Salford came into existence on 1 November.[2]

Municipal borough

The borough originally consisted of the township of Salford and the part of Broughton township south of the River Irwell. It was divided into four wards (Blackfriars, Crescent, St Stephen's and Trinity), with a town council consisting of a mayor, eight aldermen and twenty-four councillors.[5] In 1853 the borough was extended to include the rest of Broughton and Pendleton township. The wards of the borough were redrawn and increased in number to sixteen. Salford township was divided into seven wards, Broughton into three and Pendleton into six. Each ward was represented by three councillors and one alderman, and the size of the council consequently increased to forty-eight councillors and sixteen aldermen.[2] The names of the wards were as follows: Albert Park, Charlestown, Crescent, Grosvenor, Hope, Islington, Kersal, Ordsall, Regent, St Matthias's, St Paul's, St Thomas's, Seedley, Trafford, Trinity and Weaste.[6]

County borough and city

Under the Local Government Act 1888 all municipal boroughs with a population of 50,000 or more were designated as "county boroughs" with the powers of both a municipal borough and a county council. In 1889, therefore, the town became the County Borough of Salford.[7] Although independent of Lancashire County Council, Salford remained part of the county for certain purposes such as lieutenancy, shrievalty, custos rotulorum and administration of justice.

The size of the borough council did not change, although the wards were reorganised in 1921. The wards, which remained until the borough's abolition were as follows: No.1 or Charlestown, No.2 or Kersal, No.3 or Mandley Park, No.4 or Albert Park, No.5 or St Matthias's, No.6 or Trinity, No.7 or Crescent, No.8 or Regent, No.9 or Ordsall Park, No.10 or Docks, No.11 or St. Thomas's, No.12 or St Paul's, No.13 or Langworthy, No.14 or Seedley, No.15 or Weaste and No.16 or Claremont.[8]

Following a campaign supported by William Joynson-Hicks, Home Secretary and MP for a neighbouring constituency of Manchester, city status was granted to the county borough by letters patent dated 21 April 1926.[9] This was in spite of the opposition of civil servants in the Home Office who dismissed the borough as "merely a scratch collection of 240,000 people cut off from Manchester by the river".[10]

The City and County Borough of Salford was abolished in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 and its territory transferred to Greater Manchester to form part of the metropolitan borough and City of Salford. At abolition the county borough was surrounded by the City and county Borough of Manchester to the east, the Municipal Borough of Swinton and Pendlebury to the northwest, the Municipal Borough of Eccles to the southwest, and the Municipal Borough of Stretford to the south.

The corporation progressively accumulated increased powers and responsibilities through government legislation and by the promotion of private parliamentary bills. The range of activities in which it was involved can be ascertained by the large number of committees of the borough council in 1909: Buildings and Bridges; Cemeteries; Education; Electricity; Health; Highways and Paving; Improvement; Lighting and cleaning; Museums, Libraries and Parks; Parliamentary and Public Trusts; River Irwell Consevancy; Town Halls and Markets; Tramways; Watch (police) and Water.[11]

Political control

Elections to the borough council were held annually, with one third of councillors being elected each year. Aldermen had a six-year term of office, with one half of their number being elected by the council every three years. As was common in borough elections throughout England, early elections were often uncontested, with agreed candidates being elected unopposed.[12] As late as 1883 only two wards were contested.[13] Although party labels were not used, there were in fact two groupings on the council, aligned to the parliamentary Conservative and Liberal parties. Conservatives were in a majority until 1892 when the two groups reached parity, with an independent councillor holding the balance of power.[14] The Conservatives regained power in 1893, and by 1894 the Liberal grouping had divided into "Gladstonians" and "Radicals", with the Independent Labour Party contesting seats in their own right.[15]

Conservatives and other Unionist members maintained a large majority until 1919. In that year the Labour Party gained five seats, leaving the council evenly divided between Conservatives and Liberal-Labour.[16] There was thereafter no single party in power for a number of years, with Conservative, Labour, Liberal and Independent groups represented. In 1931 the Conservatives gained control for three years, before the council returned to no overall control.[17][18] Following the cancellation of elections for the duration of World War II, a Labour landslide saw the party gain a majority for the first time.[19] Labour held the council with a large majority for more than twenty years until the Conservatives returned to power in 1968.[20] Three years later the Conservatives lost power.[21] The final election prior to abolition was held in 1972, and saw Labour regain a majority.[22]

Coat of arms

The Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Salford was granted arms and crest on 5 November 1844, and on the following day received a further grant of heraldic supporters. The blazon was as follows:[23]

Azure semee of bees volant a shuttle between three garbs Or on a chief of the last a bale corded proper between two millrinds sable; and for a Crest: On a wreath of the colours a demi lion argent supporting a lance proper therefrom flowing to the sinister a flag azure charged with a shuttle Or.

Supporters: On the dexter side a wolf Or around the neck a chain and pendent therefrom an escocheon gules charged with a millrind also Or on the sinister side an heraldic antelope argent armed crined and unguled Or around the neck a chain and pendent therefrom an escocheon gules charged with a rose also argent.

The basis of the shield are the three gold wheatsheaves on a blue field of the Earldom of Chester. To this were added a bale for the cotton industry, millrinds for the production of iron, a shuttle for weaving and bees for industry in general. The crest was a half-lion supporting a banner bearing a shuttle. The supporters were a wolf, an emblem of the early Earls of Chester; and an heraldic antelope from the arms of the Beaufort family, representing the Duchy of Lancaster. The arms granted to Manchester two years earlier had a similar supporter for the same reason.

The motto was Integrity and Industry.[24]

On 15 September 1959 the corporation received the grant of an heraldic badge:

Within a collar argent fimbriated Or set thereon four roses gules barbed and seeded proper and as many letters S also gules alternately a hurt thereon issuant from a wreath of sallow a demi lion also argent.

The "collar of SS" was derived from the insignia of the Duchy of Lancaster, while the red rose of Lancaster was from Lancashire. The sallow leaves referred to the derivation of the name "Salford" from "Sallow Ford". The lion was taken from the crest.[25]

Police force

As required by the Municipal Corporations Act, one of the first actions of the newly created town council was to appoint a Watch Committee to establish a police force, Salford Borough Police, and appoint a chief constable.[26] In 1928 the force introduced police boxes to the streets of Salford.[27] Following inspection by the Metropolitan Police, similar boxes were erected in London. The Police Act 1964 allowed for the compulsory amalgamation of police forces, and on 1 June 1968 the Manchester and Salford city constabularies formed the Manchester and Salford Police.[28]

Salford Corporation Transport

In 1875, the corporations of Manchester and Salford gained powers under the Tramways Act 1870 to construct a horse tramway network. Services started on 17 May 1877, with a private company, the Manchester Carriage Company (later Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company) operating services on a 21-year lease. The lease was eventually extended until 1901, with Manchester taking over their portion of the network on 27 April and Salford on 2 May. The lines were quickly electrified, with work completed by 1903, and the system was extended to Worsley in 1906. Through services were operated over the lines of neighbouring municipalities, reaching Middleton and Swinton and Pendlebury[29]

In 1920 Salford commenced motorbus operation, and the first tram routes were withdrawn in 1932. The last tram went out of service on 31 March 1947. By this time the undertaking had been renamed Salford City Transport. On 1 November 1969 SCT was merged into the SELNEC Passenger Transport Executive.[29]


  1. ^ A vision of Salford CB/MB, URL accessed 1 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c William Barrer and J Brownbill (editors) (1911). "Townships – Salford". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. British History Online. Retrieved 21 July 2008. ((cite web)): |author= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ "Salford – Local History". Salford City Council. 2003. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  4. ^ "No. 20233". The London Gazette. 13 June 1843. pp. 1978–1979.
  5. ^ "Corporation of Salford". Slater's General and Classified Directory and Street Register of Manchester and Salford their vicinities. Historical Directories. 1850. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  6. ^ "No. 25316". The London Gazette. 12 August 1892. p. 4588.
  7. ^ Local Government Act 1888 C.41, S.31
  8. ^ "No. 32429". The London Gazette. 21 August 1921. pp. 6578–6582.
  9. ^ "No. 33154". The London Gazette. 23 April 1926. pp. 2776–2777.
  10. ^ Beckett, J V, City status in the British Isles, 1830–2002 Aldershot, 2005
  11. ^ "Salford County Borough". Slater's Manchester, Salford & Suburban Directory, 1909. Historical Directories. 1909. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  12. ^ Albert shaw, Municipal Government in Great Britain in Political Science Quarterly, Vol.4, No.2, June 1889, pp. 197–229
  13. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 2 November 1883, p.6
  14. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 2 November 1892, p.6
  15. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 2 November 1894, p.6
  16. ^ Borough Council Elections, The Times, 3 November 1892, p.7
  17. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 4 November 1931, p.6
  18. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 3 November 1934, p.7
  19. ^ The Municipal Elections, The Times, 2 November 1945, p.8
  20. ^ Tories reap reach harvest from Labour, The Times, 10 May 1968, p.8
  21. ^ Tories lose ground in face of Labour upsurge in local polls, The Times, 14 May 1971 p.5
  22. ^ Widespread Labour gains in borough elections, The Times, 5 May 1972
  23. ^ A C Fox-Davies, The Book of Public Arms, 2nd edition, London 1915
  24. ^ C Wilfrid Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, 1953
  25. ^ Geoffrey Briggs, Civic and Corporate Heraldry, London, 1972
  26. ^ Jenifer Hart, Reform of the Borough Police, 1835–1856 in The English Historical Review, Vol. 70, No. 276, (July 1955), pp. 411–427
  27. ^ Police Telephone Boxes, The Times, 24 April 1928, p.13
  28. ^ "A History of Policing in Manchester 1839–1974" (PDF). Greater Manchester Police. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  29. ^ a b Peter Gould. "Salford Corporation Transport". Local Transport History. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2008.

Coordinates: 53°29′N 2°17′W / 53.49°N 2.29°W / 53.49; -2.29