As recently as the 1870s the whole area which is now Salford Quays was largely empty, occupied by little more than a medieval hall and a racecourse. But in 1887 the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal began, and the largest docks were built on the Salford bank of the canal. These docks were called `Manchester Docks' though they were often referred to as `Salford Docks' both by locals and on maps.
The docks reached their peak traffic in the 1950s, but in 1982 the docks were closed and a plan to redevelop the area as Salford Quays was published. Within thirty years the area became home to a mix of developments including houses, apartments, offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, trams, the Lowry Theatre and art gallery, and MediaCityUK. Nearby are the former inner-city slum terraced areas of Ordsall and Weaste, now also much redeveloped for housing and industry.
Paul is Chairman of the Manchester Bolton & Burry Canal Society; he wrote the Towpath Guide in 2009 and he edits the society's quarterly journal. He also edits North West Geography, which is an online journal. Paul has several previously published books, and now he is retired spends a lot of time researching Greater Manchester's history. With links to the local library in Salford, it is from this source that he will be taking the majority of his old photographs.