A photographer is aiming to use his images of the ‘new’ Salford to changing how people see the city.

Antony Mills, who wants to tackle negative perceptions through his art, has spent years researching Salford’s history, alongside documenting what modern Salford is really like.

He said: “Some people still think Salford is full of slum dwellings, grotty pubs, cotton mills and polluted rivers.

“I remember a few years ago I took a friend who lives down South now to Salford Quays / Media City for the first time and he couldn’t believe the transformation,” said Antony.

Salford Quays Duck Race 2019 – Antony Mills

With these modern photographs of Salford, Antony hopes the perception of Salford can change.

“I was unhappy with the way modern Salford was being portrayed and described compared to ‘the good old days Salford’,” says Antony.

“To me it looked grey, grim, grimy and grotty in all the black and white photographs so I embarked on a mission to take photographs of now.

Barton swing bridge – Antony Mills

“I have carried on taking the photographs – I have thousands of them now – and I’m hoping that in 50, 60, 70 years time these will be looked at fondly by the youngsters of today who will be in their old age.”

Whilst wanting to photograph modern Salford, however, Antony also has a keen interest in researching and documenting its history.

St. John the Evangelist, Pendlebury – Antony Mills

“I’ve learnt a lot about old and new Salford and it’s a fascinating place. In fact, I discovered my ancestors on my mother’s side lived in the area for quite a while back in the early 1900s,” said Antony.

“I’m still learning now about the place. Just when I think I’ve exhausted all avenues for new information, something else comes along.

“Search Samuel Hill Derby, for instance. He murdered more people in 1888 than Jack the Ripper but nobody’s ever heard of him! He’s buried in Weaste Cemetery along with all his victims.”

The grave of Samuel Hill Derby – Antony Mills

When asked about what made Salford special, Antony said; “I think what makes Salford’s history special, to me anyway , is that it’s always looked forward rather than backward – despite the reminiscing about the good old days from the old ‘uns .

“You can’t live in the past and you can’t stay still. Look to the future and beyond. Move forward and keep moving. Salford is a city of many firsts and I hope that it continues to be so.”

Double rainbow over Eccles – Antony Mills

 

3 Comments

  1. Joan Pearson (Connell)

    Hi I have good memories of Salford from school at St.Johns and attending St.Johns church. Which, if I’m not mistake Anthony was an alterboy, and his sister went to the same school. The church played a big part in my life, we called in everyday on the way to work my dad and I. I have loved the way the Dockland area has changed my son has a business on the Quays. However very disappointed the way the have left hundreds of new owners and tenants without any shopping facilities on lower Broughton Rd, which was always a hive of activity.

  2. JoAnn Casey

    My argument is with Antony Mills’ perception that reminiscing about the ‘old days’ and enjoyment of the black and white photos of Salford somehow indicates a reluctance to acknowledge that the city has progressed beyond its ‘slum’ identity. But what price progress? Salfordians, and particularly I think Lower Broughtonians, of my generation do share a nostalgia for their childhood because, and this is only my opinion, of the different values and sense of community that existed. We may have been heartbreakingly poor, but we felt loved, safe and enjoyed a sense of belonging. How many of the New Salford residents can claim that nowadays. Antony quite often sneers at ‘old ‘uns’ for their fond memories, but the replacement of the ‘slums’ and destruction of the communities has resulted in bland, concrete, soulless developments that just make those childhood memories all the more magical. Salford has an impressive and probably unsurpassed history of producing creative and talented sons and daughters who went on to international and world acclaim. – William Crabtree, Frances Hodgson-Burnett, Alistair Cooke, Christopher Eccleston, Shelagh Delaney, Albert Finney, Ben Kingsley, Ayub Khan Din, Don Whillans, Elkie Brooks, Emmeline Pankhurst, Sir Harold Evans, Mike Leigh, Russell Watson, Ryan Giggs, et al to name but a few (look them up), and all were nurtured in those ‘grey, grim, grimy and grotty’ back streets. Antony is welcome to visually celebrate the architectural modern gentrification of parts of Salford, and I enjoy his posts, but he should resist denigrating those of us who still enjoy being reminded of what made this bedrock of the Industrial Revolution so great a place in which to grow up and still makes us proud to say we were ‘Made in Salford’.

  3. Antony Mills

    It isn’t just you who and your generation who have a nostalgia for their childhood. Everyone does. Your generation, my generation, the generations to come and all the generations before you. You were poor but did you never wonder where all the fathers got their money to pay for their beer and cigs money? Have you actually asked any ‘New Salford residents’ if they feel loved, safe and have a sense of belonging? Why do you place slums in inverted commas? It’s a matter of historical fact that they were slums and were horrible living conditions. Salford wasn’t even the worst slum area which is a frightening thought Yes, Salford has famous sons and daughters and it will continue to do and the new ones will be nurtured in a different landscape. Far from denigrating the old slums of Salford I merely repeat what people say/write when they denigrate the ‘new Salford’ sometimes world for word but mostly paraphrasing. For example, the bland brick, soot-caked, monotonous,soulless, back-to-back terraced slums from the good old days…… You don’t miss them, really. Nobody misses them if truth be told. What they DO miss is the people that aren’t here anymore. What they DO miss is being young. No bills to pay, no mortgage or rent, loved by everyone and fussed over, all your clothes bought for you, breakfast, dinner and tea on the table, hundreds of friends all without a care in the world. No having to get up for work each morning etc UNTIL you grow up and start living in the real world and you see life through an adult’s eyes. Puddles no longer become a great place to jump in and dirty your new shoes. Suddenly, they’re pot-holes full of filthy water. Sticks transform from being swords, guns, periscopes etc into someone’s discarded rubbish in the middle of the street. Skipping down the road gets you funny looks rather than wistful glances. Take my advice and stay young for as long as you can. If you keep looking back you won’t see what’s in front of you.

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