I am not sure if technically Gnome Island is in Salford or Trafford. It sits in the middle of the Ship Canal but it seems to me it is on the Salford side of the canal so I’ve claimed it and included it in my surprising Salford series. You can see Gnome Island from the canalside but I got a superb view of Gnome Island on one of my birthday treats, a Waxi [Water Taxi] trip from Salford Quays to Spinningfields. These cute yellow boats trundle the waterways from the city centre to Media City and to the Trafford Centre. The Christmas Market was in town at the time and Gnome Island had its own festive Santa Claus visiting for a month or so.
Riding by on the water you get an uninterrupted view of the jolly gnomes waving and smiling and these diminutive figurines must brighten up the day of those commuters who use the Waxi on our dark winter mornings to get to work. The gathering of gnomes appear to be both male and female and there are some child-gnomes on the island too, so who is to say their number won’t increase over time.
I see Gnome Island as a positive sign of the eccentric and fun side of life in the city. Long may it continue to be there to delight locals and surprise visitors and let’s hope no official decides it doesn’t have planning permission!
If you want to find Gnome Island yourself, it is now on Google Maps. It is just before the Trafford Road bridge on the Salford side of the quays.
May 2020 update: Follow Gnome Island on Facebook and you will see posts about the history of this wonderful Salford attraction. Read the story of Gnorman, the pioneer gnome, his partner Gnorma and their twins Gnoah and Gnatalie!
November 2020 update: On a visit to Salford Quays I noticed that it is much easier to get a good view of Gnome Island now, since they put in the new tram line to the Trafford Centre. What a big improvement on Salford Quays! If you cross the bridge by the Lowry and turn left, you’ll be able to get a great view.