Bygone Salford

An event celebrating Salford’s rich transport history is taking place in Manchester this weekend.

Bygone Salford, hosted by the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester, was due to happen last year to mark the centenary of Salford Corporation Transport’s first motorbuses.

However the Coronavirus pandemic meant the event will now be staged this month.

Paul Williams, a volunteer at the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester, said: “Long before Stagecoach and Arriva came along, most towns and cities of any size in the North West and in Greater Manchester had their own bus fleet that was owned by the council.

“Salford had its own bus fleet which started as a tram fleet in 1901, and in 1920, they bought their first motorbuses.

“When it came to the centenary, we wanted to celebrate 100 years of Salford’s green buses, but obviously Covid put that back a year so the celebration is going to be next week.”

Salford Corporation Transport’s very first motorbus was new in 1920 and was photographed on Great Cheetham Street

The Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester, which is located on Boyle Street in Cheetham, houses 80 ‘really big buses’ that are maintained by a team of over 50 volunteers.

With many in roadworthy condition, rides on a variety of Salford Corporation Transport motorbuses will be included in the £4/£5 admission charge this Saturday and Sunday.

Paul, who owns a bus in the museum, explained: “We’re going to get all of our Salford buses out, plus some that ran into and around Salford from places like Leigh and Bolton and Manchester, and we’re going to have some friends bring their buses that were associated with the city too.

“We’re going to have displays in the museum about Salford’s transport and we’re going to give free rides on those Salford buses between the museum and Shudehill Interchange in Manchester and from the museum into Salford itself.

“We’re expecting it to be really, really good fun!”

Whilst he has been involved in the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester since he was at school, Paul is aware that not everyone who attends this weekend’s event will be an enthusiast.

He said: “Salford has quite a strong association with transport heritage.

“But I think it’s a mistake to think of an event like this as being all about engine capacities and shades of green.

“Actually, our whole museum isn’t really about engineering and geeky, nerdy facts – it’s about memories and stories, and Salford has loads of memories and stories.”

After the coronavirus pandemic forced Paul and his fellow volunteers to ‘shut down’ operations at the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester in 2020, the Bygone Salford event is long-awaited for the local community.

He reflected: “We’ve got through it better than we might have anticipated 18 months ago, and the Bygone Salford event is all part of now building back up again.

“This is our first special event since Covid, so I wouldn’t say there’s a lot hanging on it, but I would say there’s a lot of anticipation both from us and from people that we know are planning to attend.

“I’m really hoping that there’ll be lots of people who remember travelling on older Salford buses or even worked on older Salford buses and that we’ll learn as much from them as they will from us.”

After the war, Salford Corporation Transport buses changed colour to green as part of a recovery programme, and within a few years, they were known as some of the smartest buses in the country

The Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester’s Bygone Salford event will welcome visitors from 10am-4.30pm on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th October.

More information can be found here.

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