The University of Salford’s history is rooted firmly in the Industrial Revolution, which changed the course of history back in the 19th century. The area’s enviable textile industry was complemented by the Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, and provided direct trade access to the sea.
The Salford Docks crucially kept people in employment until old industries started to struggle. Pendleton Mechanics Institute was formed in 1850 in response to demand for new industrial skills, with Salford Working Men’s College arriving eight years later. In 1896 they merged to create the Royal Technical Institute, Salford, which was unveiled in a splash of publicity by the Duke and Duchess of York, who went on to become King George V and Queen Mary.
By 1921 it had been renamed the Royal Technical College, Salford, only to split into two organisations 37 years down the line – The Royal College of Advanced Technology, and the break-away Peel Park Technical College.
When a Royal Charter was granted in 1967, the Royal College of Advanced Technology was rebranded as the University of Salford. Precisely 100 years after the formation of the original Royal Technical Institute, the University of Salford merged with University College Salford in 1996.
Today, the university enjoys a global reputation. It has seven schools, more than 20,000 students and around 2,500 members of staff, with numbers growing on all fronts to meet industry, commerce and education needs.
The first Chancellor of the university was none other than Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the main library is named in honour of Clifford Whitworth, the first Vice-Chancellor.
The well-documented regeneration of the Salford area in recent years has created many opportunities, and provided a fantastic backdrop in which the university resides. It has joined the likes of BBC and ITV at the MediaCityUK complex at Salford Quays, and will pump more money into continued improvement of the campus over the next two decades.
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Since the BBC’s move from London to Salford, the eyes of the world have been on the region and MediaCityUK in particular has a modern, vibrant feel, with many high-profile faces from the world of news and entertainment often spotted in and around the area, which boasts a number of high-quality shops, eateries and cafes.
In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018, Salford claimed 85th position nationally and 601-800 globally. It also has a Bronze in the Teaching Excellence Framework.
The university must have a funny bone, because two of the North-West’s most celebrated comedians, Peter Kay and Jason Manford, are both members of the alumnus. While both men started out in their first love, stand-up comedy, they have since branched out to television and film acting roles, with Manford also pursuing a career on the stage.
They are joined by fellow alumni Allan Boardman, the physicist known for his work on surface plasmons, and Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland.