Equally, with the decline of heavy industry in the area, Salford struggled to prosper in the second half of the twentieth century – Paul Morley evocatively describes the city as he remembers it from the 1960s and 1970s as ‘the drizzly, degraded essence of “grim up north” … so encrusted in its besotted past, so slammed into deprivation, it would surely never break free of its soiled image’ (Morley 2013). Since the beginning of the century though, there has been a regeneration agenda in play, with much housing destroyed and replaced. The glitzy island of MediaCity, completed in 2011, sits to the west of the city in splendid isolation, though many parts of Salford have benefited little from the development. Morley also commented on this at the time, describing MediaCity as ‘inspired not by dignified working-class Salford or a sensitively recalibrated post-industrial world but by Bilbao and Canary Wharf, everywhere and nowhere’ (2013).
Since the establishment of ‘MCUK’, there has also been a growth in developers buying up land, especially in the areas of Salford close to Manchester and MediaCity. The new housing developments springing up in these areas of the city are shifting the nature of the lived environment considerably, though there are also, conversely, areas that still feel quite traditional in nature – all cobble stones, Victorian terraces, and old-fashioned street lamps – and others that simply feel abandoned. The Broughton area of Salford, where I live, and which has become the focus of this research, also has a rich cultural history, with the likes of Mike Leigh, Shelagh Delaney, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner (of Joy Division and New Order), John Cooper-Clarke, Mark E. Smith, and Ewan MacColl all growing up in the area.