History

Chapel Street was the first street in the United Kingdom to be lit by gas way back in 1806 and was one of the main roads in the country, making up part of the A6 from London to Glasgow.

Today it is home to artists’ studios, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Salford, great pubs and an ever-increasing number of businesses and brand new residences, meaning this historic area has an equally bright future. The walk begins on Blackfriars Bridge, which crosses the River Irwell and connects Manchester with its neighbouring city, Salford.

This bridge was opened in 1820 and connects Salford with Manchester city centre. To your right is Victoria Bridge, which stands on the site of the original Salford Bridge. The bridge was the scene of one of the first battles of the English Civil War. During the war, Salford was strongly Royalist while Manchester was Parliamentarian. The siege of Manchester in September 1642, which started the Civil War, was launched from Salford, with between 3,000 and 4,000 Royalists attacking the town. The battle raged on Salford Bridge and on into Deansgate, where the first casualty of the war, Richard Percival, was shot dead. The attack eventually failed and the siege was lifted in October of the same year.

On the opposite side of Blackfriars Bridge, look left towards the newest link from Manchester to Salford, the Trinity Bridge. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the bridge, which opened in 1995, connects the Lowry Hotel with Manchester’s central business district.

To your left on the corner of Blackfriars Bridge and Chapel Street is the Black Lion Hotel, which was the birthplace of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, as it became known, was recognised as the trade association for the travelling funfair business.