Our local university, University of Salford, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Although the history of the institution goes back to 1850 and the Royal Technical College formed in 1921, which in 1958 split in to The Royal College of advanced Technology and the Peel Park Technical College, it wasn’t until 1967 that the Royal College became the University of Salford. Today the University of Salford has 20,000 students, one of which was our son some years ago; and so our links with Salford began. The University served him well and its connections with industry and the sandwich degree course he completed with a year gaining useful work experience served him well.
The campus overlooks Peel Park and has an airy and relaxed feel. More recently the Peel Park main campus has changed beyond recognition and building work is currently a continuous feature. In 2011 the University also added a Media City campus. All this development came around the time of redundancies for some staff, as the university reviewed courses and schools and addressed areas that were under-performing.
The Old Police Station faces the main campus of Salford University. Built in 1957 in brick and Portland stone, the building fell in to disuse in the early 2000s. In 2011 the building was saved from demolition when the University of Salford had plans to develop the land. The hope today is to keep the elegant frontage of the building and various plans have been put forward to redevelop the site, although nothing certain yet. In the meantime the boarded up windows are decorated with images from university students. This both brightens up the building and is a great way to showcase the student’s work.
Salfordians can be a bit touchy about losing the recognition they feel their city deserves and there was a minor kerfuffle in 2011 when the uni re-branded to become The University of Salford, Manchester. I can’t get too hot under the collar about this myself as it didn’t make any geographical difference to the campus, it is still our local university. The addition to the name perhaps made it clear to students unfamiliar with Salford how close the two cities actually are and this might just help it appeal to students keen to be part of the vibrant Manchester student scene.