Manchester, the city where legendary British bands like The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Chemical Brothers, and many more was born. Most of these bands have made their mark on Manchester and the world. While there are many historical musical heritages that connects with their stories around town, during my solo trip I wanted to get a closer look into two places; The Smiths’ Salford Lads Club and the hipster street known as Northern Quarter.
A Closer Look: The Smiths Salford Lads Club
One of the iconic spots for Manchester’s musical heritage is Salford Lads Club—the local landmark turned a world famous heritage site when The Smiths Band featured it in their 1986 artwork “The Queen is Dead” cover album.
From The Smiths 1986 “The Queen is Dead” album
Before being immortalized in The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead cover album, Salford Lads Club was built as a center to take off young boys off the streets. Today, it’s still fully operating not only for boys but also girls. It still have relationships with influential legends in the music scene, I was told that Liam Gallagher of Oasis just took a visit here a couple of weeks before to visit a friend. This place now treasures a lot of cultural story because of Smiths’ influence, making the youth club now a recreational site heritage for Smiths or Manchester music fans to visit.
Tour Inside the Club
Initially, I wanted to just take a picture in front of the sign, but it wasn’t till I met some guys who just walked out of the building and said I can join a free tour inside the club!
The people who took us for the tour – very kind people!
The tour guide are all volunteers. Mostly, they have been a member of this club their lifetime. Tours are open on Saturdays when the club is not busy with activities. But if you want to take a tour on weekdays, it’s fine since you just have to knock and said you wanted to take a tour but can’t be guaranteed that you can do the tour at any time. I got a personalized tour from someone who have been here for 50+ years.
So what’s it like inside?
The Smiths Room
The Smiths Room was a boring garage turned into an iconic room that tells a lot of stories around The Smiths’ influence. Inside you’ll find a room filled with full of Smiths’ newspapers, posters and photos. Moreover, it’s also filled with many fans’ marks from all over the world, like a series of pictures taken in front of the club photos, or sticky notes with personal messages.
In 2016, there’s even once a couple who got married in The Smiths Room, isn’t that cute?
Couple getting married inside The Smiths Room
The Smiths album covers
My post it for The Smiths room!!! <3
Wall of Names
The wall of names are laser cut from steel and bears the name of 22,500 members from 1903 to 2015. Fun fact: 215 members have the surname Smith and 15 members have the surname Morrissey (the band’s vocalist)!
Stage Room & Gym
Every member of the club has the access to many sports activities like boxing, tennis, basketball, and other kinds of sports.
Tea in Salford Lads Club & Souvenir Shop
My favorite moment? Having tea in Salford Lads Club, specifically in this room. This room also acts as a souvenir shop you can buy souvenirs like mugs, polo shirts, or key chains, and more of The Smiths or Salford Lads club. Remember the Wall of Names earlier? The design of the Wall of Names are documented into a Pink & White T-Shirt sold in souvenir shop for 12 Pounds. You can also bought them at the club’s online store
. As a token of appreciation for my visit, they also gave me a free Salford Lads Club pin as a souvenir. How nice!
Morrissey on screen
How to Get There
Salford Lads club is located on the corner of St. Ignatius Walk and Coronation Street.
A Walk Through Northern Quarter
Northern Quarter is a hipster place that has it’s own vibrant. In here you’ll find the best bars, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, shops, clubs, gigs, events, and not to mention street artworks that the residents are proud of. Your walk through this area will be accompanied by pieces of street art to appreciate.
Vinyl exchange: a store to buy and selling secondhand CDs and records
Afflecks: a store that sells street fashions from young designers and second-hand stalls. Perfect for those young souls!
Vinyl revival: a record shop specializing in the sounds of Manchester back to the 1950s, sometimes have rare collectables
How to Get There
Northern Quarter is centred on Oldham Street located around Piccadilly station, Victoria station and Ancoats.
Other Things You Can Do in Northern Quarter
Join Manchester Music Tours – Manchester Music Tours (here) organizes a bus tour that lets you experience once again how some bands made their mark on Manchester and the world. During my visit, I didn’t got the chance to join that tour. But I did got an email saying that they recently just relaunched in November 2017 and serves some Oasis Tour, The Smiths Tour, and more. This may be an option for British music fans or even just music lovers. The tour fee starts from £15 (children) and £25 for adults. Their meeting point is located right in Oldham Street of Northern Quarter.
Check out Northern Quarter’s Digital Magazine – The Northern Quarter community created a digital magazine (here) to find out more info about places to eat and drink, as well as updates about events, gigs, openings and night outs.
Dear Manchester, I hope I can be back to explore more of your music scene next time!