Tracing Some Local Historical Roots
The ‘Seedley and Langworthy’ area is roughly divided into two by a main road, which runs from North to South – Langworthy Road—which was named in honour of an adoptive son of Salford, who migrated here in the eighteen hundreds and became a most generous benefactor to the city of Salford.
Edward Riley Langworthy (1797 – 1874), was born in London, a son of a prosperous merchant from Somerset. In 1840, after spending 12 years in South America and Mexico, he came to Salford to join his brother George in the cotton industry. Their new firm, Langworthy brothers and Co. was based at Greengate Mills, Greengate.
Edward was to go on to become:
- the first alderman for Trinity Ward, Salford
- the fifth major of Salford, elected on two consecutive years
- the city’s second MP
Together with his friend Joseph Brotherton, he was responsible for the creation and setting up of the first free public museum (at Peel Park), and later in 1850, the first free public library in the country. He contributed financially and most generously to these institutions for many years. On his death, he left £10,000 to the museum and library. A wing in the museum was named after him and his portrait painted in 1853 by Philip Westcott, is kept in the art gallery.
Shortly after his death, the city council decided to name a ‘new’ road, which was being built from Eccles Old Road (north) to Eccles New Road (south), after him, and subsequently, the Langworthy Hotel, the Langworthy Cinema (now gone) and Langworthy Park, each situated on Langworthy Road.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Seedley was undergoing change as streets of terraced houses were being built both east and west of Langworthy Road. Seedley was envisaged as a place to escape from the rather ‘rougher’ areas of the city, where a public house could be found on almost every corner, in keeping with this notion, many of the streets to the east of Langworthy Road were given names reflecting a gentler and calmer lifestyle, giving rise to : Alder Street, Ash Street, Field Street, Laburnum Street, Fir Street, Keswick Grove and Spring Gardens.
These Streets lie adjacent to Langworthy Park, affectionately known as ‘Chimney Pot Park’, because of its elevated position and eye level view of the chimney pots, which adorned all of the terrace houses, thus further embracing the aspiration that Seedley offered an enhanced lifestyle. Naming of streets to the west of Langworthy Road, also reflected an optimistic theme for residents taking inspiration from the achievements of men and women from across the globe. It was a time of great explorers and political pioneers. One group of streets centres on the Artic and Scandinavian regions, giving us: Nansen Street, Greenland Street, Norway Street, Iceland Street, Fram Street, Alexander Street and Kara Street.
In 1893, Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), set sail to explore the Artic Ocean, hoping to eventually reach the North Pole, in his specially commissioned and unique ship – ‘The Fram’. Nansen was a Norwegian zoologist and explorer, who some years later (after World War One), would become the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the ‘Nansen Passport’ which is issued to stateless persons is named after him.
GREENLAND is the world’s largest island, lying between the North Atlantic and Artic Oceans. ICELAND lies between Greenland and Norway. THE KARA SEA forms part of the Artic Ocean. It is renowned for bad weather and known as the ice cellar. ALEXANDER III was King of Scotland from 1249 to 1285. He was succeeded by his grand daughter Margaret, known as the ‘Maid of Norway’. NORWAY is the link between all of these street names in one way or another. GOULDEN and LANGTON Streets take their names from two important social and political activist from the past:
STEPHEN LANGTON (1150 – 1228) was an English priest who became Archbishop of Canterbury and who was mainly responsible for drafting the charter of rights ‘the Magna Carta’ (1215).
He supported the barons against King John and worked for revisions to both church and state policies.
EMMELINE PANKHURST (nee Goulden) (1858 – 1923) was born locally and her marriage to lawyer Richard Marsden Pankhust in 1879 took place in the local St Luke’s Parish Church. She was a famous suffragette and was the founder of WSPU, which is the Women’s Social and Political Union in Manchester (1903).
She launched the militant suffragette campaign in 1905 and was jailed on more than one occasion for her actions. She spent the World War One years in USA, Canada and Bermuda encouraging the mobilisation of women. In 1926, she returned to England, and after suffering failing health, she died in 1928, a few weeks after ‘The Representation of the People’s Act‘, establishing voting equality for both men and women was passed.
"Now more than a century after the social and structural changes which took place in Seedley, the area is once again undergoing huge changes as a result of the regeneration programme which is still in progress. Hopefully, its colourful and diverse street names will remain, continuing to represent symbols of social conscience, pioneering spirit and a quiet harmony within the local community of Seedley and Langworthy."