On the morning of 10 August 2011 – when the sirens had switched off, the flames had fizzled out, and the roars had been silenced – hundreds of Mancunians quietly got to work on repairing their shattered city.
Families, students and businesspeople arrived en masse to strap on gloves, grasp brooms and pick up paintbrushes, working together to shovel broken glass out of streets and reattach the frames to shop doorways.
The day before, Manchester and Salford had been swept up in the violence consuming England following the death of Mark Duggan – a 29-year-old who had been shot dead by police earlier in the summer of 2011.
A protest in Tottenham Hale had led to clashes with law enforcement, and the next few days saw trouble spread from the capital into other cities across the country.
The first pockets of local violence erupted in Salford Shopping Centre on the afternoon of August 9. Supermarket Lidl was the first target, before looters proceeded to break into a Bargain Booze and The Money Shop.
Police were pelted with missiles and journalists covering the story were even caught up in the melee; a BBC radio car battered with bricks before being set alight.
Within hours, Manchester city centre’s shops were also under attack – with officers overwhelmed by “unprecedented levels of violence and criminality”.
Mobs broke into Manchester’s Arndale Centre and groups stormed shops like Footasylum, Bang & Olufsen and Swarovski in St Ann’s Square.
Miss Selfridge on Market Street was also engulfed in flames as the outnumbered police desperately battled the masked-up mobs rampaging through the city streets.
The Guardian said it turned into “a tale of two riots” – with Greater Manchester Police’s then-chief constable Peter Fahy suggesting the respective culprits in Salford and Manchester had responded in different ways.
“Certainly most of [the rioting] in Manchester was about getting goods, breaking into places and stealing things,” Fahy told The Guardian.
“Salford I think was slightly different. It was more about attacking us and the fire services.”
The trouble in Greater Manchester dissipated the next day – but the region remained severely shaken.
More than 370 people were arrested, 60 officers were injured, and the total police cost was reportedly more than £3 million.
After the rioting ended elsewhere in England on August 11, it was revealed that more than 200 people had been injured and over 3,000 arrested nationwide. Five people were also killed during the six days of violence.
But according to local Councillor Pat Karney, Greater Manchester’s role in the riots was not reflective of what the region was about. He says it was those next few days – where adults and children were seen flocking to fix the damage – that showed the real GM.
“The true Mancunian spirit has been shown in Manchester today,” the councillor stated, as locals swept away debris and stuffed rubbish into sacks.
“The community has come out to say enough is enough, and that they will not stand by and let thugs try to destroy our city.
“This was pure criminal behaviour from a minority of people who were intent on looting and rioting and these criminals are not fit to be called Mancunians.”
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Featured Image — Supplied/Rio Ferdinand (via Instagram)
Historic Salford boozer The Crescent where Karl Marx drank set to reopen
A boarded-up boozer in Salford that was once a favourite haunt of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is set to reopen after six years of closure.
The Grade-II listed building – a place where The Communist Manifesto co-authors regularly supped as they dreamt up the now-infamous 19th-century text – is now set for a new lease of life, with its faded green facade and boarded-up windows set to be restored once more.
Most recently known as The Crescent pub, the boozer closed in 2017 and has been left to decay in that time. Its exterior is covered in graffiti, and its roof is thought to be in a poor state.
Two years ago its Chinese owners revealed plans to bring the boozer back to life, and now appear to be making slow progress after new scaffolding was spotted going up outside the derelict public house last week.
As part of the refurb, owners plan to construct a new building at the pub’s rear and return it to its original name: The Red Dragon. Further plans for the site will also see it make the most of its fabled role in the creation of the legendary academic text.
A spokesman for the owners told the Manchester Evening News: “We have been in discussion with Salford council for a while. We are now getting close to submitting a formal planning application. We have a further meeting with them in two weeks time
“In the meantime we are to carry out essential repairs on the building, which do not need listed building consent, so it is watertight, including a new roof. The scaffolding will be up for 18 months. The intention is to return to pub to a traditional style – it had become a 1990s-style student pub.
“The pub will be filled with memorablia linked to Marx and Engels who are thought to have used it, and the history of Salford. There will be no new-build extensions to the pub – it will be a refurbishment of the existing building, and we aim to retain some existing features. We are pleased to be able to say that real progress is being made.”
“There is a possibility that the new building could be an apart hotel and we have held talks with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford. If a lecturer, for example required accommodation for a short period, they might use it. “