Ordsall in Salford is sandwiched between the A57 and Salford Quays and close to the border with Manchester. An area of housing, Ordsall has had an important place in the recent history of Manchester and [in a way] a place in the heart of the nation. Walking around Ordsall you can still get glimpses of why the now demolished terraced streets of Ordsall were the inspiration for Tony Warren’s long running soap opera Coronation Street. You might also meet Smith’s fans who still come to Ordsall to stand outside Salford Lad’s Club [on the corner of Ordsall’s own Coronation Street] to recreate the photograph on the sleeve of The Smith’s The Queen is Dead album. Salford’s Lads’ Club opened in 1904 and is now a listed building, its tiled interior unchanged and a fantastic example of this type of community provision.
Known as the New Barracks Estate, the houses of Ordsall were built on the site of a former army barracks in the early 1900s. Before the barracks the area had been countryside and it was the development of the docks that led to the need for decent workers housing. The estate was designed by Manchester architect Henry Lord following a competition in 1899 and was Salford’s first public housing scheme. The scheme was ambitious and community buildings were an integral part of the plan for the estate along with the housing. During the 20th century many of the streets were cleared and by the 1980s the area had became derelict. Since then local residents have worked tirelessly to renovate the houses and the area.
St Ignatius’ Church, next to Salford Lads’ Club, had a different architect to the houses. Alfred Darbyshire, a local architect who also worked on various theatres in Greater Manchester, designed the romanesque style building in red brick and terracotta. The design of the church compliments Salford Lads’ Club and the houses of the New Barracks Estate and is a local landmark, although no longer in use and falling in to disrepair.
Ordsall today has a profusion of new housing built on the cleared areas of land but it is the older houses near to Salford Lads’ Club and around Regent Square that are the most attractive. These handsome Edwardian terraced houses with gardens face in to a small park and yet, in a clear example of how important location is, when occasionally offered for sale [they are mostly social housing] these houses fetch around £160,000, whereas a similar house in the south of Manchester would cost you two or three times that amount.