Around the corner from the original Coronation Street is Salford Lads Club, dating from 1903, and thought to be the best surviving example of such a centre in England, with purpose built areas for boxing, billiards, weight training, concerts and loads more. The idea was to give diversionary activities for working class lads to keep them away from gangs.
Open since 1996 to girls as well, the Club runs everything from drama sessions to footie and boxing teams, plus its famous annual camping trips. Fired by its room dedicated to The Smiths, it’s now also a magnet for local stars, from Peter Hook to Shaun Ryder and Mike Joyce, to hold book launches, exhibitions and chat events to raise funds to keep the place thriving.
Reputedly caught by a couple at a Smiths concert and donated to Salford Lads Club.
The Smiths released the seminal album, The Queen Is Dead in 1986, featuring, on the inner sleeve, a Stephen Wright photo of the band standing outside the Salford Lads Club which has since become iconic, drawing indie tourists from all over to have their pic taken in the same pose. Of course, for most members of The Smiths it was the only time they’d ever been down there but Morrissey chose the location as it was near Coronation Street and all that black and white Salford Shelagh Delaney malarkey that the singer loved.
As such, a Smiths room sprang up around twenty years ago and is constantly filled with messages of love, photos, gifts and the like, and has recently been the centre of homage for Andy Rouke, The Smiths’ bassist who died in 2023. As the room filled, the Club has installed a digital archive of all the artefacts, shown on two screens. The Club and the Smiths room is currently open to visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays 11am-2pm.